The transition from high school to college can fluster many college freshmen. Specifically, the change from high school courses to college courses can be difficult. While many high school classes were preparatory for a future university and have similarities to these courses, there are obvious differences that make adjusting for a first year student somewhat difficult. AP, honors, and dual enrollment courses are high school courses aimed at preparing students for a four-year college. They are similar to college courses in how they organize time, the weighing of grades and the emphasis on writing.
They have strict time schedules, like college courses. You are given short, specific times when things are due. These courses also depend mostly on the final AP examination, like some college classes depend heavily on certain exams. These high school courses usually have a solid writing base, to prepare students for the extensive amount of papers required for college courses. These high school courses loosely resemble college ones in order to prepare students. Yes, there are similarities between high school courses and college ones, the differences, however, seem to outweigh them.
College courses are different in their initial scheduling, the fast paced learning of the material, the size of the sections, and the availability of the professors. When a student walks into a college class, the first day the professor always hands out a syllabus. In this syllabus, they outline every assignment and its due date for the whole entire semester. This is so much different from the daily assignments given by high school teachers since it is now the student’s responsibility to remember what is due when, without any required warnings from a professor.
Another difference is the faced paced learning environment. In college the student is required to learn the same amount of material in half the time, since classes last for a semester and not a full year. This is made more difficult by the fact that most freshmen introductory courses are huge sections of hundreds of students. This makes it difficult to ask questions and get more one-on-one time with the professor about the material taught in class. While the professors do have office hours, they are often only once or twice a week during a short amount of time during the day.
This can be difficult if a student has a class during those times. Though college classes are somewhat flustering at first because of these differences from high school classes, there are ways to work around and get used to the difficulties. For example, it is extremely beneficial to sit down with every syllabus and put every important date in a planner or calendar. Color-coding is an especially big help with this. The fast paced learning environment is even more challenging if a student does not read before class. If saved for the last minute, the readings pile up and add to the work load.
If it is read by the suggested dates, the material taught in class is easier to understand and it is therefore easier to keep up with the fast pace. The easiest way to fix the problem of huge class sections is to sit close to the front and do not be afraid to ask questions. This also makes a person well known by the professor and will help them out when attempting to schedule appointments. If all of these tips are done, hopefully a student who cannot make office hours will not be hurt since they will not need as much extra help.