I’m sure you’ve heard this a bunch of times, but the transition to college from high school isn’t an easy one. The thing that stuck out the most in this transition was how different the classes work in Rutgers. I underestimated the increase in difficulty college classes can be, and as a result, I’m having a rough start in my classes. So to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap as I did, here is my insight to what makes classes in college different from in high school and how to work around these differences.
Chances are, you didn’t experience a lecture-like class in high school. Classes were small enough so that way the teachers can give you special attention. Because of the huge spike in class size, professors can’t accommodate all these kids. So, you’re not going to get classwork to help you understand the material or have the professor clarify what to expect in his or her class. That is your responsibility now. The most you’re going to get in the lectures alone is the iClicker system. If the course supports it, the professor can ask students multiple choice questions in which each student can respond. Then the professor sees the results and uses it determine if the information taught was clear enough. It’s ok, but it doesn’t accommodate for everyone. Homework is usually optional, but is highly recommended if you’re going to understand the material. Information is going to be taught quickly, so you’ll have no idea how much of the information you’ll absorb. Studying becomes more crucial than ever. That’s why we have a day called Reading Day solely dedicated to studying for our finals. Make sure you’re aware of your priorities!
There are advantages and disadvantages to this system. On one hand, this is how college teaches you to become more independent. It may seem daunting at first as a freshman, but you’ll eventually get used to it after a few weeks. All professors provide office hours so you can get the personal assistance you desire. This may be the only time you’ll get to hear feedback from them. They are also a great way for the professor to get to know you better, which can help you in getting involved in research or a possible letter of recommendation for later on. These kinds of classes challenge you so you get to see what your strengths are. Getting into the workforce does require you to brag about your skills and accomplishments, à la a resumé. A’s aren’t going to be as easy as they used to be. You really have to work hard to earn it. These grades are more reminiscent of a bell curve than in high school, so the average student would earn a C or C+. Admittedly, lecture-style courses aren’t the best, so you’ll be glad once these courses start to become specific to your major and the scope of people you see in Rutgers starts to narrow down. The rigor will still be present, so this is truly the best form of education you’ll get at Rutgers. If you still don’t like to be challenged in college, then you’re simply not prepared for the real world. Sorry, but that’s just how life works.