How Hard is College?

Although many high schoolers want to know “how hard” college is, many factors can influence the difficulty.  Some college students are surprised by how much free time they have, whereas others forget what free time is.  Here are a few things I can tell you, though.

* Prestigious schools with degrees that people drool over are often prestigious because they’re challenging.  The students learn more and therefore perform better in the real world.  So don’t expect to earn a revered degree for doing nothing.

* Not all majors are created equal.  Some are based on learning techniques or overall concepts while others are based on memorizing tons of facts.  Hence, some majors require more studying than others.  Some majors, such as English, may require more reading than others. 

* Some professors are much more challenging than others, even if they teach the same class.  How they use each class period, how they grade papers, what textbooks they assign, and more can vary.  This is why I recommend using to find a good match for you.

* Every college has some classes everyone has to take to graduate.  How good you are at these subjects and how effective the professors are can definitely influence your experience.  Some colleges have huge core curriculums, which require taking a wide variety of classes.  If you think your skills are more “specialized,” then you will have an easier time at colleges that focus almost solely on your major.

* Needless to say, how much effort you put into college will affect its difficulty.  If you slack off and just get by on the minimum GPA necessary to graduate, college won’t be very tough.  However, it won’t be very beneficial either since you won’t learn much or have an impressive résumé.  Since you’re spending so much time and money there anyway, you might as well get something out of it, even if it requires effort on your part.

* If you’re already used to studying and working alone without anyone prodding you along, that puts you in a better position as you enter college.

* Your reading, writing, and typing speeds can influence how much time you need to complete assignments, which in turn helps determine how busy you are.  Most speed-reading courses are scams, and even the legit ones don’t help much.  But if you still cannot type properly without looking at the keyboard, I’d highly, highly recommend finding a program designed to teach teens and/or adults how to type.  If you’re a slow typist, these might benefit you as well.

* Some semesters just plain go more smoothly than others.  I had some oddly easy ones and some stressfully difficult ones.  That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

* Life events outside of school, such as family tensions or a part-time job, can also influence how tough college is for you.

* If you’re having a difficult semester, remember that you need to take breaks.  I’d recommend scheduling a good-sized break once a day for doing something you really enjoy.  That’s much more fulfilling than procrastinating by doing boring stuff just for the sake of avoiding work (e.g. browsing random websites or organizing nothing).

Last Updated May 7th, 2015

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