As you've been preparing to start college, you've likely been thinking of the ways -- both good and bad -- that it is going to be different than high school. Though the size of your college classes will vary greatly depending on what school you attend and what courses you elect to take, chances are you will have a few classes filled with more students than you used to see in a full day at high school. Don't be alarmed if you see not one familiar face when you walk into the room on the first day. As the semester progresses and you get to know your lovely peers, you can mimic the tight-knit community of a high school class by studying in groups. If by the end of your first semester you realize that big classes are really not for you, talk to your advisor about finding smaller courses, such as seminars or discussions, that better cater to your needs. In the land of high school, laptops are usually not the norm (or allowed) and you are instead forced to rely on the good old-fashioned pencil and notebook system. You don't want to risk scratching or damaging that precious piece of merchandise by letting it fly solo in your bag. Before you get too excited about toting that sleek computer to class, understand that this privilege has its drawbacks. Gone are the glory days when your school gave or lent you the textbooks you needed each year. If there is more than one bookstore on campus, make sure to compare prices and rental options. Once you've compared bookstore prices, check online to see if sites like Chegg, Amazon, or eBay have any better offers. Whenever you're talking to a professor, whether in person or via email, always present yourself as politely and professionally as possible -- there's lots of alliteration in that sentence, so you know it's good advice. All professors will have office hours, or scheduled slots of time when you can come see them outside of class to ask questions or talk. You will have TAs (teaching assistants) or another form of instructor who will lead the smaller discussion sections of your big lectures. To read one final way college classes differ from high school classes, be sure to check out the full article here.
These can be used as end of class discussions that are not lengthy, or they can be infused into an entire class period where students work together in pairs or groups to develop their thoughts and then turn to a whole group discussion for the rest of the class.
You're going to be living in a new place with a roommate who you've stalked so hard on Facebook that you know where she spent Christmas vacation in 2002. At bigger schools, intro-level lectures often seat hundreds of students (assuming they all actually make it to class). Not only will this opportunity to discuss the material with others feel like a small class, but it will likely boost your grade too.


Unfortunately, intro-level courses are almost always big, so you may just have to stick it out until you get to more advanced courses as an upperclassman. Whether you dig Roman numerals or bullet points, Times New Roman or Arial, your life will be a lot easier if you find a system that works best for you and make a template so that you don't have to fuss with that formatting palette during class. These veteran sources will know of the best locations on campus as well as online resources to buy or rent books. Used books will always be cheaper than new ones, so unless it's in utterly unusable condition, opt for the sloppy seconds.
For the first meeting, think of a question you had on the material from a recent lecture, or pinpoint a topic you are especially curious about or have a strong opinion on, and go introduce yourself. They may be lower on the totem pole, but they are important too, especially if they are the ones reading and grading your assignments. Sometimes it can be tough to cover content and work in time for kids to talk about their learning.
You're going to be around all new people and have to make an entirely new group of friends.
Bigger classes, especially lectures, are all about listening and taking notes, so there will be minimal time to talk to your neighbors anyway. Strategies for Success, a resource compiled by the University of Michigan advising center, explains that studying with others is helpful for sharing the workload, solving complex problems, increasing motivation, and preparing for the real world. If you're too busy Facebooking, Tweeting, and Pinning, there is no way you are going to absorb all that the professor says. Many schools have online forums or Facebook groups for students selling their old textbooks to post on, and these offers will often be cheaper than a bookstore. If you are not bent on highlighting, renting is a cheap alternative to buying, and you won't have to worry about selling your books at the end of the course.
In high school, your teachers knew--at the very least -- your name, what you looked like, how you learned, and how you performed academically within the first few weeks of the year. Aim for one or two follow-up meetings throughout the semester about other topics or assignments. Seek help from them on papers or practice tests to show that you care and are working hard.
Your parents aren't going to be watching over your shoulder and nagging you to clean your room, but they also won't be there to cook for you or do you laundry. Also, determine a specific way to label and file all your notes so that you're computer desktop is just as organized as you'll be.
You may think you can just rely on the textbook or notes and lecture slides posted online, but often tests will include material taught only in class.


Most of your classes will require several textbooks and books for the semester (your professor will post this information online or in the syllabus), and you will be responsible for hunting down these pricy publications. Find older students who have taken the class in question -- they might still have their books lying around and even if they don't, they'll be able to give you great insight into your future workload. Your professors, who teach hundreds of students per day and sometimes aren't the ones who grade your work, might not even be aware of your existence on Earth by the end of the semester (or ever). This is not meant to scare you; it is just necessary to understand that professors a bit higher up on the totem pole, and it can be nerve-racking to approach them. You'll finally get to go to parties that aren't constantly busted by your neighborhood cops (but beware of RAs).
If you don't think you keep yourself from surfing the World Wide Web, try installing a program like Self Control that will block you out of sites for a certain period of time. That way, when cultivating a strong relationship with a professor becomes crucial (for recommendations), it'll be no sweat," Alexandra says. Asking or answering questions in class is the easiest way to boost your participation grade and show interest. With all of these major changes ahead, you may have completely forgotten that college is school and you'll actually have to go to class while adjusting to your new lifestyle. Ideally, cap the group at five or six people so it doesn't get too rowdy, and choose students that actually go to class.
Forming a relationship with a professor (note: not the kind that Aria and Ezra have on PLL) can be incredibly helpful in your future, whether for research opportunities or recommendations. During her freshman year, she found that professors genuinely appreciate when students make the effort to come to office hours. Whether you're coming from a small, private prep school or a huge, public high school, your college courses will differ from your high school ones.
If you don't know really know anyone in your lecture, you can email your class's list-serv asking if anyone is interested -- it'll be a great way to meet new people.
Some students stick to notebooks from the beginning or deter to them after their laptops fail them, so you won't be the odd one out. They are not only teaching you, as in high school, but they're much more interested in your take on the material, your thoughts, what you want to do after college, and such." she explains.
We've compiled five ways that your college classes will differ from your high school ones and how you can successfully adapt from the get-go.



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