How Hard Are College Classes Really?

Your first year of college can be overwhelming. The transition from classes of 20 students, to lecture halls packed with 500 people might make it hard to focus; the responsibility of keeping up with homework on your own by checking the course syllabus every day, teaching yourself from the textbook outside of lecture, and many other things certainly may feel like a lot more work than doing your day-to-day worksheets at night for high school. On the other hand; in college you have more freedom to take classes that you are interested in, and that you find worth putting effort into, which makes some of the assignments feel less like busy-work, and more like genuinely interesting assignments that will help you learn more about your field of choice. 

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Some people say college is much harder than high school, and will warn you to brace yourself for bad grades and late nights of studying; but there is no need for you to stress about how difficult you will find these classes. Everyone has a different opinion. In fact, I have talked to many people who think that high school was harder than their freshman year of college. How difficult you end up finding your classes will obviously depend on what classes you have taken in high school (i.e. if you take AP credit to place out of certain intro classes) and what classes you choose to take in college.  

Some students also never shake their tendency to procrastinate. These people still keep up with all of their favorite series on Netflix, never forget their afternoon nap, and never crack open the textbook until the week before a test. While it is totally okay (and even definitely recommended) that you take a break every now and then for something fun, you should keep a sharper focus in college to keep up with your classes. 

Sometimes it can be hard to focus in a lecture if your professor is boring and hard to understand, so you might be tempted to go on Facebook, or play a game on your phone. Unfortunately, some classes or professors will probably not be as interesting as others for you. If your textbook is written well, or if you are good at finding supplementary material online, it is not that difficult to teach yourself the concepts from intro-level college courses. Just make sure to keep up with class readings and homework, and don’t feel afraid to collaborate with friends or ask for help.

Also, at the end of the day, the difficulty of your class is largely dependent on the professor teaching it. If your professor writes tests that are impossible to do well on, there is nothing you can do to prepare for them. The key here is to accept that fact. It is better to know your information as best you can and not stress if you don’t know something on the test, because chances are most other people also don’t know. Classes also frequently get curves, so as long as you are doing respectably well compared to your peers, you should get good grades.

In summary, college classes are definitely harder than high school classes: the topics are more complicated, the learning is more fast-paced, and the expectations for self-teaching are much higher. HOWEVER, college classes are not necessarily harder to do well in. If you can force yourself to study effectively and manage your time well, there is no need to be sleep-deprived the nights leading up to a test, or to feel completely unprepared once the day of the test arrives. 

Just keep a positive attitude, make use of the resources your school offers, and try your best; you will have to put more effort in than you are used to, but once you become accustomed to your new study schedule school can feel even less stressful than high school!