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College 101

Biggest Myths
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

The Legend of Living Large…The Freshman 15

You’ve heard about it. You think it’s probably true, with visions of late-night pizza and dining hall carb fests swimming awkwardly around your head. The legend that the average freshman gains fifteen pounds is one of those cautionary tales parents tell their children to scare them into behaving – like telling your kid your face will get stuck that way. It’s cruel, but meant to protect you.

The reality is that some people probably pack on even more weight than 15 pounds, but most don’t. In fact, the average weight gain for college freshman runs at about four pounds, which is considerably slimmer. Because your parents aren’t there to tell you to sleep by 11:30 PM or make sure you eat your veggies, and dining hall food can be pretty heavy in calories, Be prepared knowing that a lifestyle change doesn’t mean you have to buy a bunch of sweatpants. Be sensible, and fit an exercise routine into your college life.

The Myth That Nobody Notices…Attendance Doesn’t Matter

In high school, not showing up to class probably earned you a detention or a call home. There is a dangerous myth going around that, in college, showing up to class doesn’t matter. This vicious half-truth probably started because, in larger classes especially, nobody is going to say anything if you don’t show up. Students dangerously assume that this means nobody noticed. End of the semester rolls around and your grade is hovering just above failing. Somebody noticed.

The Legend of the Disappearing Professor

You will hear it again and again from college advisors, guidance counselors, teachers, and parents: in college, you may never even meet your professors, much less have a conversation with them. Wrong. College professors are a busy lot, but they all hold office hours which you can (and should) take advantage of. And don’t wait until you are in academic strife to visit. Just dropping in during these hours (or in the few minutes before or after class) can help them put a human face to your name, and will show them that you care about the course. Nudge nudge, if you want to get a good recommendation letter from a certain professor, going to office hours will definitely help as well. All good things.

The Myth of the Four-Year Plan

They are called four-year colleges for a good reason: if you play your cards right and never change your mind, take time off, or have a family emergency, you can graduate in four years. Know what? Most folks don’t. In fact, almost 60% of college students take five or six years to graduate.

If graduating in four years is important to you (and it certainly makes financial sense) be sure one of your deciding factors for choosing a school is their graduation and retention rate.

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