Six Myths About College
Think you know all about college? Think again. There are plenty of preconceptions out there about college, some fairly serious, others less so. Here’s a look at some of the more common.
College will make you liberal
Recently, Presidential candidate Rick Santorum made comments effectively bashing colleges and universities, claiming that they are “indoctrination mills” designed to make people less conservative and eliminate religious belief.
As Chris Mooney comments in the Huffington Post, it may be more accurate to say that colleges tend to be created and attended more by people of liberal than conservative persuasions—rather than that colleges actively work to remove conservative beliefs and feelings in students.
However, there are colleges with distinctively conservative and even religious cultures as well—where a student who supports Rick Santorum may feel more at home. Just a handful include
Christendom College, a strongly Catholic university;
Patrick Henry College, which describes itself as a
classical Christian college; Liberty University, which was founded
by the Rev. Jerry Falwell; and College of the Ozarks, which
encourages financial self-reliance by involving students in a
demanding work-study program in place of tuition.
College may be harder than high school—or maybe not, depending on your prior experience, how prepared you are, and how demanding your individual program and professors are.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Prestigious Ivy-League colleges can look great on your resume—but you may also land a job based on the fact that the hiring manager went to Pennsylvania University like you did. You never know. One of the values of going to a prestigious university is meeting and networking with fellow students who may become important in your industry later—but what if you don’t share interests with the most high-powered students? You should choose a college that fits your personality and goals—not necessarily one that’s ranked high in the US News and World Report.
You’ll gain weight
The “Freshman 15” is practically an urban legend. And some people do gain weight—mainly because for the first time, many freshmen in college don’t have parents paying attention to what they eat and cooking healthy meals for them. Students can eat much less healthily when left to their own devices, and that can take a toll. However, this isn’t true for everyone. You may be too busy between classes and extracurriculars to eat as much as you once did; you may walk more as a college student than you did at high school; or you may get more involved in sports. All of these factors could make you lose weight instead. And, of course, many students keep the same weight all four years.
College is really, really hard compared to high school
Not necessarily. It depends on the type of program you’re in, your professors’ expectations, the number of work and extracurricular demands you have on your time in addition to studies, and a host of other factors.
One thing you can count on, however, is that college professors have different expectations than teachers in high school. College will be less nurturing and more hands-off; professors will often expect you to turn in assignments on time despite personal issues and other problems that teachers in high school might have been more sympathetic to. In addition, you will generally be left alone to manage your own time more. For some students, this isn’t a problem—but it can make college harder for others.
You need to have a roommate
Your first college roommate could be a friend for life—or turn your freshman year into a nightmare. Some colleges mandate that freshmen have roommates; others don’t. There are plenty of colleges that allow singles, even for freshmen. If you’re reluctant to share your room with someone else or you’ve heard too many horror stories, be sure to ask about single dorms.
College is the best four years of your life
First off, it may not be four years. You may graduate in five years or maybe (if you have a lot of AP credits) in three. Second, expecting college to be the best years of your life is putting such a high expectation on your time there that it probably won’t be. College can be fun. It can also be challenging, exhausting, and to be honest, disappointing.
College may be harder than online high school—or maybe not, depending on your prior experience, how prepared you are, and how demanding your individual program and professors are. Roommate situations are often flexible, depending on your school’s policies. And there’s no guarantee that going to college will change your religious or political beliefs—it’s possible college could make you more conservative instead of more liberal. College is different for everyone—and it’s hard to make generalizations that will be true for everyone. It’s best to go with an open mind, expect to enjoy yourself, and let go of expectations when you need to.
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