Prep U for GU: The Truth About College Classes
These words, or ones very similar, have been spoken countless times by high school teachers. Whether intending to make a point or strike fear into the hearts of students, teachers like to make “the real world” sound like some scary battlefield.
Are they right? Is college that scary? Should you panic?
Sure, when it comes down to it, college requires a lot more independence and responsibility. Students decide when to bathe, when to do laundry, even when to wake up. But with regards to classes, college is just another field for the same game.
Classes vary by major and subject, but for the most part, they’re all pretty much the same. Depending on where you’re from depends on whether the classes are larger or smaller than high school. For freshman physician assistant major Sam McCarthy, the classes are a lot different. McCarthy said she doesn’t mind the difference.
Compared to my high school, the classes are much smaller,” McCarthy said. “I get to know my professors better, and that makes me feel more comfortable asking them for advice.”
Class size at Gannon varies, from courses with only four students to some with an upwards of 30. The average class size of 18 students allows ample time for students and professors to interact.
One major difference between high school and college is the amount and type of homework. Most homework in the university setting is nothing like the frequently tedious sets of problems given out by high school teachers. Instead, most classes will give very little homework and expect students to spend the extra time studying. This reliance on the student is part of the responsibility associated with university learning.
“Homework is all driven by self-motivation as opposed to deadlines and expectations of high school teachers,” McCarthy said. “I know that in college, doing my homework is my choice as opposed to my teachers’.”
Learning to manage time and the smaller homework load, with an extra dose of studying, can be difficult — but manageable — with the right set of organizational and motivational skills.
Before actually taking a college course, many students picture professors to be tyrannical despots who hate students and enjoy making them fail. This is not the case, especially at Gannon. Most professors are amiable and caring. In fact, McCarthy said she loves the difference between high school teachers and professors.
“Professors seem freer to have their own personality in their classes,” she said. “They’re a lot more lenient in terms of class discussion, deadlines and personal style.”
This personality allows professors to teach in their own manner and on their own terms, rather than conforming to an over-arching administration. As for the myth that college professors won’t care if you show up or not, McCarthy said she finds this to be untrue and most professors take attendance and will usually check in with you to make sure you’re alright if you do miss class or an assignment.
While college in general requires serious organizational, time management and motivational skills, classes are classes. There are bound to be differences in class size, workload and the professors’ temperaments, but all-in-all a college course is designed to let the students grow and learn. All factors combine to make what many students believe to be the perfect environment to learn as an individual.
Want to know what your professors might be like? Check out Dr. Jeff Bloodworth’s video to get an inside glimpse.