How College Had Changed Since Your Parents Went

Should You Listen to Your Parents College Advice?

For the most part, yes. When it comes to picking a degree or figuring out the finances then your parents can be a huge help.

But there are other things about they don't know a whole lot about, and that's because college has changed so much since they went. 

The basics are the same—find a subject you like and excel at it, enjoy your social life but don’t get carried away, try to get a degree in four years—but some of what they tell you will only get your hopes up or stress you out. Here's what's changed. 

More people, less freedom

This results in basically all of the following changes. Colleges have more of a responsibility to protect their students, and they have much more students to protect. For this reason, things like drinking, what you get to do on campus, and tailgating will be more strongly regulated at most colleges.

You can’t skip class

I remember my dad saying, “remember to go to class. and if you don’t go, always get the notes.” Thanks dad. Unfortunately, you can’t really skip class anymore. Practically every professor at every university has an attendance grade that can be 5% or more. Skipping’s not really a thing anymore. 

It's not as social

School’s cracking down on the college social experience means some schools might not have the continuous social spontaneity that many parents speak fondly of. Also, to be honest, our generation watches a lot more TV and plays more video games. Don't expect a flurry of parties, cookouts and sports games at every school. 

More amenities (stuff to take advantage of)

Most schools have much more money than they used to, and are constantly competing with other schools by building better gyms, newer buildings, sponsoring more school events and getting better equipment. You need to be aware of all that your school has to offer and take advantage where you can.

Admissions is harder

Many parents will put a lot of pressure on you to get into a “good school.” This isn’t all bad, because some schools certainly have better academics, amenities and reputations, but it’s silly old-person thinking to say any one student is “too good” for a school. If you’re going to study biological engineer, you’re going to have rigorous classes wherever you go.

Many parents have failed to realize how much harder admissions is getting—there are more foreign students, out of state students, and students in generalgoing to college period. Getting accepted is harder than it used to be, which means the “average” school aren’t really average anymore.

College Advice College Life What to Expect

You don't want to take the wrong classes. You don't want to pick the wrong major. You want to graduate. You want to get a good job. You want peace.

It’s OK. Breathe.

Don't try to be someone you’re not—college interviewers are turned off by insincerity.

The college admissions process can look pretty daunting. The thought of having some stranger in a university office poring over your academic past, then making a decision that could impact the next two to four (or more) years of your life is enough to make anyone nervous.

8 Surprising Things You Can Do While Attending College That’ll Help You Get a Job When You Get Out (but have nothing to do with academics).

Here are 17 Sites to help you get the inside scoop on colleges and the towns those colleges are in.

Freshmen make mistakes. Lots of them. But other people's experiences can help you avoid a few. 

Ask an upperclassman or college graduate what words they associate with “freshman” and we guarantee you that “clueless” shows up near the top of the list. It’s not the freshman’s fault. For the most part, going to college is a totally new experience. And having new experiences means making a whole bunch of new mistakes.

You're set to go on your college visit... here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of it.

Getting your college degree online sounds like every student’s dream. You can go to class whenever you want, wherever you want. No worries about parking, dorms, or schlepping a backpack full of books around campus. Instead of adapting to college, college adapts to you…on your own terms.

But we have to warn you: online learning isn’t for everyone.

Maybe you’ve heard about this whole “online college” thing. Maybe you’re thinking it might be a good option for you. It could be. Research has shown that you’ll learn just as well (and as much) taking classes online versus taking them in-person on campus. But there’s a big “if.” The same research shows that online learning might not be the right way to go for everyone. Is an online education right for you? Ask yourself a few questions... 

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