Every teen wants to know, “Just how hard is college really?” The answer depends on you and one four-syllable word: perseverance. As Dory said in Finding Nemo, you “just keep swimming” no matter what. But you’ll also have plenty of tools to help along the way:
Just like school, you’ll take the easiest first. Freshmen begin with many of the same basic classes. Most schools require “core,” introductory-level courses in literature, history, math, science, health, and fitness.
As you pick classes for your major, difficulty levels will rise, but the topics will be ones you really want to learn about.
On the first day of class, every professor hands out a syllabus. The syllabus is your map for the semester.
It usually lists each unit of study as well as assignments, quizzes, exams and their dates. It will also have your professor’s contact information and office hours.
Studying is important. Many colleges offer free campus-wide Wi-Fi as well as computer and printing centers. If you follow your syllabus and attend classes regularly, you’ll know exactly what you have to do and when to do it.
Freshmen usually live in a campus dorm their first year. Older students act as floor leaders and can help with problems. Living in a freshman dorm gives you plenty of opportunities to make friends.
Most college dining halls are crosses between food courts and cafeterias.
Schools are looking for good students. College honors programs, scholarships, grants and government loan programs all help. In some states, a high school GPA of 3.0 or better pays 80 percent or more of tuition.
How hard is college?
Some classes will be easy. Others will be tougher. You may have to read a lot for one class but write papers for another. The key is in following the plan that you and your college advisor will build together, step by step.
For incentive, a study from Georgetown University proves that all the work will be worth it. Over a lifetime, associate’s degree holders earn $1 million more than high school graduates do. So, start looking.