After graduating high school, many students go off to college without having any idea what college courses are really like. Listed below are a few common misconceptions held by prospective college students.
There is No Homework Assigned in College
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions held by incoming college freshmen is that colleges do not assign homework. When I attended high school, most of my teachers implied that college grades came entirely from test scores and some even directly told me that colleges didn’t assign homework. This is certainly not the true. Though test grades do make up a larger percentage of your grade in a most college classes vs. most high school classes, homework is still assigned in college courses. Of course, some professors may choose not to assign homework but that is at their discretion and there certainly won’t be any college-wide policy against it.
All College Courses are Taught by Experienced, Articulate Teachers
Many future college students expect that all of their courses will be taught by professors who have several years of teaching experience, know the subject matter well, and speak good English. Unfortunately this is not always the case. A lot of college courses (especially 100 and 200 level courses) aren’t even taught by professors at all. Some classes are taught by TAs (teacher assistants). TAs range from graduate students who know the subject they teach like the back of their hand to undergraduate students who lack a firm enough grasp on the material to teach it to others and have no experience teaching a college level course.
Students may also be surprised to find that some classes are taught by professors or TAs who are very difficult to understand. Some professors teaching college courses, though very intelligent and qualified to teach the material, have not been speaking English for very long and are still learning the language. As a result of this, most students at some point in their college career end up in a class where the professor is very difficult to understand due to improper English or a heavy foreign accent.
College Courses Consist Only of Writing Notes and Taking Tests
Another misconception about college courses is that all they consist of is taking tests and taking notes as a professor lectures. While this will be a big part of most classes, it’s usually not all there is to them. As mentioned before, homework may be assigned. Besides that, the class itself will often be more involved than just lecturing and note taking. Many classes will have group activities, question and answer sessions, demonstrations, and other forms of interactive learning to supplement the lectures. Not all classrooms will be held in a auditorium with a professor talking for an hour or so.