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Top 6 Myths About College For New Students

Have you heard the one about the escaped killer with the hook for a hand? How about the one where the frightened babysitter discovers that the threatening phone calls she’s been receiving are coming from inside the house? Or the one about the college where every class was hard, every professor was unapproachable and all the roommates were best friends?

It seems that as much as urban legends and myths are a part of our popular culture, they’re also a part of our college conversations. Whether they hear these tales of the college experience from peers, parents, teachers or guidance counselors, college-bound students get an earful of misinformation about what to expect on campus. In addition, that misinformation can sometimes lead to a far less successful college experience for the child and a pricier one for the parents.

In the interest of helping you and your son or daughter know what he or she should really expect at college, Reduce My College Costs asked a few recent college graduates about the tall tales they heard as they made the high school to college transition. Here are six of those myths, busted:

Myth #1: All college classes are hard. High school students hear horror stories, mainly from their teachers, about how hard college courses are. While students should be prepared for course material that is more challenging than what they faced in high school, that doesn’t mean that they should face undue anxiety and be afraid of struggling to pass every class and fearful of mountains of reading assignments that require all-nighters just to complete. The fact of the matter is, just like in high school, some classes are hard and some classes are easy.

Myth #2: College is a non-stop party. Movies like Animal House, PCU and countless others show college as a non-stop party (sometimes with togas and sometimes without). And it is a fact that whether your child attends a state university or a member of the Ivy League, there will be parties – and lots of them! – on-campus, near campus and off campus. So, where does the myth come in? Well, there’s a big difference between knowing parties are constantly being thrown and constantly attending them. Moreover, it is a sad fact that the student who has a hard time making that distinction probably won’t be in college for very long.

Myth #3: In college, you can skip class whenever you want. When it comes to class scheduling, college offers a freedom that students could only dream of in high school. If you don’t like getting up early – no problem! – Just schedule your classes later in the day. But whether a class is at 8 am or 8 pm, there’s little truth to the tale that students can skip whenever they want in college. While many classes don’t have an attendance policy, a student that skips runs the risk of getting behind on class notes and lectures. And since many college professors test not only on textbook knowledge but also in-class lectures and discussions, that’s a risk a wise college student shouldn’t take.

Myth #4: Once tuition and books are paid for, money is no problem. A high school student who has this belief is in for a very rude awakening when it comes time for college, and so are his or her parents. Tuition and books do make up the bulk of college costs, but a student shouldn’t expect to be rolling in money after these fees are paid. That’s because college is expensive all the way around. From meal plans and transportation fees to Scantron test forms and personal products, everything has a price at college. Budgeting every cent is a way of life for most college students, and the sooner they learn how to do so, the better off they (and their parents) will be.

Myth #5: All college professors are unapproachable. Sure, they’ve had a lot of schooling and they have a lot of knowledge about a given subject, but that doesn’t mean that college professors want to be put up on a pedestal. While there are some professors who avoid student contact like the plague, most professors welcome the opportunity to talk to their students and get to know them better. In a large lecture class (typically 100 plus students), it may be difficult to talk to the professor after class, but students should always take note of a professor’s office hours and take advantage of them.

Myth #6: Your roommate will be your best friend. Unless two students asked to be paired together as college roommates, it’s unlikely that they’re going to be the best of friends. That’s because many colleges only take a surface-level approach to matching roommates. Housing questionnaires often ask about general habits (such as smoking, drinking or staying up late), but don’t drill deep enough into personalities. Just because two non-smoking night owls are paired together, doesn’t mean that they’ll be the best of friends or even get along. Students often believe that they’re stuck with the roommate that they’re assigned for at least a year. Nevertheless, if they’re really having difficulties making things work, Resident Advisors (RAs) usually have a knack for finding living arrangements that work for all parties involved.

Just like urban legends and other folklore, as long as there are people to tell the tales, college myths will continue to endure. But by using these myth-busting tips from recent college grads to have a pre-college fact versus fiction conversation with your son or daughter, you help ensure a more successful college experience for your child and a less expensive endeavor for you. And that’s no lie!

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