Besides having to choose a major, how will academics be different in college?
For most students, the academic experience in college will be much different from the academic experience in high school. In college, you will spend less time in classes and more time studying. Expectations will be higher, and it will be up to you to make the effort to attend class. The level of independence and free time can be challenging.
Key Differences in College
Less time in class: College students spend an average of 3 to 4 hours in classes each day, rather than the 6 straight hours of daily classes most students attend in high school.
More time studying & completing work outside of class: It's not uncommon for college students to spend an average of 20-40 hours a week studying or completing assignments.
Self-directed learning: Neither your parents nor your professors will make you attend class or monitor how you spend your time outside of the classroom. It will be up to you to get yourself to class each day, and you will need to manage your daily schedule, allowing enough time to study and complete assignments.
Different attendance policies: Some college courses have attendance policies, while others do not. Some professors might make attendance a percentage of your final grade. In any case, attending class regularly will be necessary to do well, and it will be totally up to you to get there each day.
Some schools will require that you take placement tests before the start of the first semester for courses in math, English language arts, and writing. The ACCUPLACER is an online test that many colleges use to determine your placement in college courses. The Accuplacer assesses reading, writing, math, and computer skills. In certain cases, if you get a low score in a subject, the college will require that you take remedial or developmental courses as a prerequisite. Although developmental courses might be required, they are often non-credit bearing courses. In other words, you will have to take and pass the course, but the course will not count toward the credits that you need to earn your degree.
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Choosing a Major
Once you begin college, one of the most common things you will be asked about is your major, the academic area that you will specialize in. You might already have a specific major in mind before starting school or you could be undecided. Although deciding on a college major is very important, you don't have to declare a major right away. In fact, most schools don't require students to declare a major until their sophomore year. During your first year of college, you will likely take more general courses, along with introductory classes in academic areas of particular interest to you.
After taking some courses, you might discover that the major you thought you would select isn't really what you want to do. You might also find that there is more than one field you would like to focus on in your studies. In these cases, you can consider doing a double-major or a major and a minor, allowing you to pursue studies in two different fields.