College is different from high school in many ways. Both students and parents expect there to be differences, but they may be unsure of exactly what those differences are.
One of the major academic differences between students’ high school lives and their college lives has to do with the student’s schedule of classes. Students will spend less time in class. Typically, high school students spend approximately six or seven hours a day in class – that’s approximately 30 – 35 hours per week. College students may spend between twelve and fifteen hours per week in class. Because college students spend so much less time in class, they are expected to do the bulk of their academic work outside of class. College students who are clear about the difference have a much better chance of academic success in college.
A second major change regarding a college student’s schedule is that the student has much more control over, and therefore responsibility for, their own schedule. One very important task that each college student faces each semester is choosing their classes for the following semester. It is exciting for students to consider the wide array of classes from which they may choose, but also intimidating to consider the implications of making the appropriate – or inappropriate choices.
Students usually plan their schedule in consultation with their Academic Advisor, but students then may make last minute changes. Unfortunately, some students may make changes that are not in their best interest in the long run.
As parents of college students, we may feel that we should have some input. Discussing your college student’s class choices is always a good thing. Having a conversation with your college student about their schedule may be enlightening for both of you. It will help you to understand your student’s interests and goals, and it may help your student clarify their thinking as you talk about decisions.
Read moreUnderstanding Your College Student’s Class Schedule