How is homework in college different than in high school?
Managing homework in college can be hard and it’s definitely different than in high school. In high school I always had time to scribble down some answers in homeroom or lunch, and besides, the teacher probably only checked it for completion so who even cared? I studied for big tests (most of the time) and occasionally for a quiz or two. But, everything changed in college!
I quickly learned that the way I studied/did homework in high school would not work in college. In college your final grade is usually only comprised of exams, a term paper, and some quizzes. Most college classes don’t offer a lot of opportunities to bring up your grade beyond these exams.
I tried to get away with not reading in a Political Science course, but the consequences caught up to me the next day when there was a pop quiz. I did not do well on it, and it brought my grade for the class down. So, after that, I learned that every reading counts.
Each night I complete all of the assigned reading for my next day of classes. Not only does keeping up with the readings help me stay prepared for pop quizzes, but it also helps me participate more in class discussions. In some classes, participating in class helps boost my grade. Class participation also helps me get on the professor’s good side, which is always the right side to be on!
How did you manage homework in college?
The best way to manage homework in college is to manage your time efficiently. I always find it difficult to sit down and take a few hours of my day to complete my assigned readings, but I know it’s important to do it. I keep a calendar that lists when everything in my classes is due. That way I can keep track of my assignments and even start preparing for future readings, quizzes, and exams.
Some other study tips include:
- Reading and outlining the chapter before each lecture so that it’s easier to pay attention and not miss anything.
- Reviewing my notes everyday gives me a chance to work through things that I missed or didn’t understand during class. This makes it easier to remember things for exams instead of cramming during finals week.
What does your typical study schedule look like?
On a typical day I get out of class around 3:00 or 4:00pm. I then do homework until about 6:00pm. Around that time I take a homework break and get out of my dorm – usually by going to eat with friends, working out, or going to a club meeting. I then start studying again around 10:00 at night. How long I study for after that depends on how much work I have to do.
I enjoy the silence that falls over campus when I work into the early hours of the morning. I find the early morning the easiest time to focus and get work done. During the day, I have time in-between classes to catch up on things, or review notes before class.
How else do you make studying easier in college?
I do little things everyday that make studying easier. For example, listening to music whenever I am studying helps me stay motivated and focused. I also make a study schedule to give myself a break after every hour or so. For me, starting homework can be the hardest part, so telling myself I can take a break in an hour makes it easier to get started. I also enjoy studying with my friends, even though it is distracting at times. My friends are useful for editing papers, quizzing me on French vocab words, and/or helping with a class they already took.
Having a routine and doing homework every single day is important and will make your college career much easier.
About the author: Caroline Kinnen is a 19-year-old full-time undergrad student at Ohio State University. She is double majoring in Communications Analysis and Practice and Political Science.
One of the biggest academic differences between high school and college is the homework. In college, professors assign homework in a different way and they have different expectations. Therefore, your whole routine of doing homework will be very unlike your routine in high school.
You will not have homework due every day
In high school, most of us had the same schedule every day. So we usually did homework for each class every night. But in college, you’ll probably have different classes every day. You will likely have more than one night to do your homework for any given class.
You have a lot of free time
In high school, students have a pretty full day. They’re in school from 8 to 3, doing extracurricular activities in the afternoon, and homework at night. In college, you have a lot of blocks of free time to spend however you chose. You’ll often face the choice between doing homework and doing something fun. You have to learn to have willpower and not get so easily distracted.
Bigger, more important assignments than in high school
Although college students don’t have work due every day, they have a lot more important essays and tests than in high school. It’s a lot more pressure, but if you study every night, you’ll be able to stay on top of it.
Most homework isn’t graded
College professors won’t usually grade the busy work they assign you. It’s mostly provided as a way to practice the material. So don’t stress too much about getting college homework exactly right, but definitely make sure you do it so you don’t fall behind.
About Nadira Berman
As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.
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