Do College Freshmen Feel Academically Prepared for Classes?


To continue with the theme of preparation for the rest of ones life, this infographic shows how college students feel about being ready for college. I went to Western Carolina University, a great school, but not as popular as UNC or NC State (the two main schools my classmates attended), and not as large. Because of this, my class sizes were small, professors were able to take attendance, which was mandatory, and it wasn’t nearly as competitive. I have never gaged what I got out of the class by my grade, and so as long as I was passing, grades didn’t matter much to me. I also do better when I am held accountable, and for these reasons, WCU was a good fit for me. My college experience was great, much more freedom in classes, but I had to keep up with myself. Since WCU wasn’t as competitive as many other schools, grading wasn’t as harsh (it’s horrible but it’s true, a teacher is considered bad if all their students get F’s or A’s, and so the better the students do the harsher teachers grade). I had the freedom to learn in a relaxed setting, rather than worrying about making the professors happy. I definitely grew in college in many ways, but I never felt behind.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for many college students. The year after I graduated, students at my high school planning to attend college were required to sign up for at least one AP course. I only took two honors courses in my entire high school career. When I was in college, I heard horror stories from professors about the worst papers they have received, filled with grammatical errors and making no sense. I believe the later caused the former. Colleges were complaining that their students were not performing to the standards they held them to, and the only thing that could be at fault were the high schools.
This should be something discussed with all high school students, beginning freshmen year. By senior year it will be to late and there won’t be much time to teach them more. Teach the students how to hold themselves accountable and how to manage their own time. Many times teachers will set a specific schedule and expect everyone to keep up with it. Consider teaching the students how you create that schedule, and have them create one. The schedule is definitely very important, but so is the ability to make one based on one’s own abilities. Help students realize the importance of attending classes and paying attention. To question everything. If a professor tells the students something, it is what needs to be known, but question how it works. For instance, don’t just take for granted that a chemistry formula works in a certain way, make sure you understand why it works in this way and how it benefits other things. Invite 100 level professors in to explain what will be expected, as well as college students. Also, ask the professors at the most popular universities your students attend what advice they would suggest and share this. One of the most memorable pieces of advice I received involved a job. Many students have to pay their way through college, or come up with extra money, but if at all possible, don’t work your first semester and live on campus. Not only will you be able to experience more things, but with less things on your plate you can learn how you can handle college, create your routine, and then fit work in.

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