5 Myths about Going to College

With the rise of distance learning, the traditional college experience is no longer a students only choice. Going to school part time, at a community college, or on line entirely have all become viable options for a person seeking an education.

What can you expect when going away to college? Photo by SJU Undergraduate Admissions

What can you expect when going away to college? Photo by SJU Undergraduate Admissions

But for young people and high school students looking ahead to enrolling in a four year university, there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about the college experience. Allow me to address a few of them.

The Standardized Test Scores Are More Important than Anything Else – This is widely believed but false. Tests of standardized tests like the PSAT, the SAT, and the ACT are important, yes, but they are simply one important part of the package. Poor grades, weak class selection, and a lack of extracurricular activities will not be outweighed by a strong SAT score. So don’t believe that all your college-bound eggs are riding in one basket.

You Have to Have it All Figured Out – Teens are angsty enough, and sometimes the pressure of making huge life decisions can be overwhelming. But please be aware, young people, that no matter how much pressure is being put on you by teachers, recruiters, or parents, you do NOT have to have everything figured out right now. It’s good if you have an idea what you want to do, but an incoming freshman doesn’t have to pick a major, or know what they want to do with their life. All they need to do is know where they want to start.

Extracurricular Activities will Make Up for Bad Grades – Don’t get me wrong, these kind of out of school activities are important, and they do matter in the application process. Depending on the school and the program, things like athletics, music, student government, debate, and drama can help attract the interest of an admissions counselor. But bad grades can trump these activities, so don’t count on them to carry you into school, make sure you have the grades to back it up.

College is the Same for Everyone – A thousand times false. When leaving home for the first time and going away to college, it’s easy to be filled with visions of what it is supposed to be like. Wild parties, frats and sororities, wildly animated professors, hellish finals weeks, are all sort of generally accepted as part of the college experience, but the truth is the college experience is different for everyone. 40% of students change their major at least once, as they adapt to this experience. So no matter what you have seen or heard, don’t go into the university system thinking it will be for you what it is for someone else.

The Freshman Fifteen – It is said that incoming students pack on fifteen pounds during their freshman year. Not true. While many students do experience weight gain, it is hardly the norm. Just as many students begin exercise regimens at college and lose weight their first year.

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