facebook twitter twitter

Animal House?

Written by Maggie Brockmann '07

10 Common Misconceptions About College Life

10 Common Misconceptions About College Life

Do students really wear pajamas to class? Is college all work and no play, or is it the other way around? Sure, admissions brochures and websites have lots of good information to help you choose which college to attend. But what’s true and what’s not about college life? Read on and find out! 

1. It’s easier to hang out with friends from high school who attend the same college; then I won’t have to stress about making new friends.

Although this may seem easier at first, you’ll be missing out on a lot of new experiences. College brings together people from all walks of life and all different perspectives. You’re sure to learn more about yourself once you’re there, so don’t limit who you’ll talk to or hang out with -- after all, expanding your horizons is what college is all about. 

2. There will be 300 people in each of my classes, and I won’t know any of them.

The largest classes you’ll find at Ithaca are intro-level classes. They may have as many as 200 students, but they’re pretty rare and typically limited to your first year. After that it’s much more common to be in class with 15 to 20 other students. (The student-faculty ratio at Ithaca is 12:1.) 

3. Professors are too busy to talk with students outside of class.

Professors at IC are always happy to lend a hand; it’s their job to make sure you learn the material. It’s also common for students to form strong bonds with their professors in and out of the classroom. College is a place of mutual respect, so when professors tell you that their doors are open for questions or problems, they mean it. They really do want you to come to their office hours for help or just to say hello. 

4. I can still get an A if I just show up for the exams.

Reading the textbook and showing up for tests is never enough -- you’ll miss a ton of important material that will be taught during classroom discussions and projects. Missing classes may also result in an automatic lower grade. Participating in class is really the best way to cement what you’re learning and boost your GPA. 

5. I won’t fit in if I’m not hip to the latest fashions.

When your bed is a five-minute walk from the classroom you’d be surprised at how easy it is to just throw on some sweats and go -- and how many people do just that. If you’re a morning person, take the time to shower and eat breakfast. If you’re not, it’s almost a sure thing that you’ll be one of many in class who look like they just rolled out of bed. 

6. There will be major cliques in college, just like there were in high school.

There are always a few students who seem to know more people than everyone else. It’s not necessarily because they are “popular”; it’s usually because they are active in various organizations and clubs on campus. If you want to hang out with fun people who share your interests, join a club and get involved! 

7. The syllabus is just an outline; the professor will tell me what’s due.

On the first day of classes, college professors hand out a course syllabus. Don’t lose it! Every due date for the rest of the semester is on that piece of paper. Read it, know it, and love it. Most professors won’t give any warning the class before and will just tell you to turn in your homework. You don’t want to be the only one sitting there without something to turn in.

8. I have to join a fraternity or sorority to make friends.

Maybe it’s just us, but we weren’t in either of those in high school and we still had friends. It’s easy to make friends by talking to neighbors and through various clubs and organizations. Ithaca’s Greek life is based more on academics than on partying. If you’re worried about making friends, get involved in campus activities right from the start. It’s the only surefire way.

9. The first few weeks of school are going to be really awkward.

Starting college is a stressful time in anyone’s life. You’re embarking on something completely new, different, exciting, and nerve-racking -- but you’re not alone. The entire freshman class is going through the same thing you are, and there are programs and support systems in place to help. At Ithaca, one of these is our social networking community, IC Peers. Once you’ve been accepted, you can create a personal profile and begin connecting with other incoming students right away. 

10. College is a party 24/7/365.

Oh sure, Animal House and Old School may suggest that all you need in college is a long list of friends and a keg, but the key for everyone is balance. If you want to have fun, you can have fun, but make sure you have your work finished, or your grades will suffer. There are no parents to bug you about that -- it’s up to you to find the right mix of work and play.


1 Comment

I know I found this somewhat reassuring. I know for the past 3 years of my education, I've been without my two best friends since we decided to pursue different programs. Part of me has been worrying about still being ostracized for wanting to be myself. Thanks for the input!


Are you a prospective student with college planning questions? Then myIthaca has got you covered.

Sign-Up Learn More
Copyright © Ithaca College. All rights reserved.

Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.