20111205 Tough teacher
(Source: Tribune News Service)

Let me tell you something. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my first year of college, it’s that high school teachers hyped up college — in ways both good and bad.

Maybe they just wanted us to work harder, or maybe they wanted us to make it here, but whatever their intentions, high school teachers are guilty of painting an inaccurate picture of college.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: neither college nor high school are going to be the best four years of your life. Both are filled with studying, stress and tears, but, I’m told, it’s worth it in the end.

With that out of the way, the first lie that your teachers may have told you is that college is going to be significantly harder than high school.

This one is not entirely false, just like when your junior high teachers told you high school would be significantly harder than junior high. College will be harder than high school, just not all at once.

In fact, chances are, if you took AP classes in high school and manage to find yourself in a few 1010 courses as a freshman, it will actually get easier for a little while.

You see, because high school teachers want so desperately for their students to succeed, most AP classes are much harder than most freshman-level courses.

Just ask anyone who took AP U.S. History in high school and then had to take American Institutions as a freshman, and you’ll understand.

Your classes will get harder, eventually, but as long as you don’t go trying to take upper division courses as a freshman, you’ll be prepared for when they do become more intense.

Next up, we have the ever-popular spiel of late work not being accepted and attendance being critical in a college setting.

Here’s the scoop: All of your professors are going to be different. Unlike high school, the whole department doesn’t have to teach the same way, much less the whole university.

Some professors don’t take attendance. Some do. Some don’t dock you on late work. Some don’t accept it at all. Some professors will offer extra credit. Some won’t.

The point is that in order to know what’s acceptable from professor to professor, you’ll have to read their syllabi.

Finally, a lot of high school teachers will tell you that in college, your professors won’t care about you or your success and that you alone will be responsible for your time in college.

Maybe that’s true if you’re sitting in a lecture hall with 150 other students, but as far as I’ve seen in my time at Weber State University, the staff cares deeply about students and their success.

Professors won’t be heartless, but make sure you’re doing the work and showing them that you care too.

Most are willing to extend deadlines and help you understand difficult material, but unlike high school, where they keep tabs on you, you will have to ask and take charge of your own success.

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