7 Scary Lies Your High School Teachers Tell You About College

By the time college application season rolls around, most students would be willing to trade an arm and a leg to get out of high school and start college right then and there… or I felt that way, at least. At 17-years-old,  I thought that I was invincible; that my parents were dumb and, most of all, that all my teachers’ warnings about the perils of higher education were exaggerating. As it turns out, I was right about one thing: high school teachers tell students some pretty scary things about college, and most of those things aren’t true.

Not everyone was as gung-ho as I was, however – some kids took the vague warnings our teachers gave us about college to heart, worrying themselves sick in the bathroom every day during free period about what was going to happen when they were shipped off from home in a few months. I get it: going away to college is terrifying, even if you’re super excited to get out of your hometown, so if you hear scary things, it’s going to make your anxiety worse. But you know what? Most of those warnings turned out to be either exaggerated or straight-up lies. Here are a few of the worst lies your teachers will tell you about college – know the truth so that you can actually feel prepared.

You Can't Turn In Work Late Once You Get To College!

LOL, yes you can. Will some teachers say no? Of course – but truth be told, I didn’t have a single teacher in college who wouldn’t accept work late, especially if it was worth a good chunk of your grade. Most teachers don’t want to fail their students unless they act like complete shitbags the entire semester, so as long as you either behave or have a good relationship with your professor, you’re probably okay to turn in your work a day or two late. You’ll be docked a few points most likely, but that’s always a preferable alternative over taking a zero, right? Just make sure to talk to your professor. And if they won't accept late work, they'll say it at the beginning of the semester.

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You Have To Pay Close Attention In Class Since Your Professors Won't Repeat Themselves!

You should obviously always pay attention in class, but if you end up slacking off and daydreaming... don't worry. Most teachers send the powerpoint they used in class via email to students. As in, if you think you can learn everything from a combination of reading the textbook and studying the powerpoint slides, you can probably get away with not going to class at all. I’ve seen people pass with A+’s using this method, but I’ve also seen people crash and burn miserably – in the end, it’s up to your learning style as well as whether or not your teachers give out attendance grades.

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Speaking Of Attendance, You Can't Miss A Single Class!

It depends, honestly. If your class assigns a participation/attendance grade then you should probably go. If your class is a giant lecture where no one knows what your name is, it’s most likely not going to matter at all. My senior year I took a music history class where I showed up exactly four times: the first day, our midterm, the day we turned in our research papers and the final. I got a 95 percent in the class, and I’ll never forget my professor’s face when I asked if I could finally get my graded paper back during the final; it was May. We submitted those papers back in March.

The standard rule for college is that a professor will tell you that you can have a certain amount of missed classes for the semester - sometimes it's three, four, or five - and still pass with a great grade. If they're super strict about their attendance policy, they'll tell you, so just listen to them!

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You Have To Be An Adult, No One Is Going To Remind You To Do Your Homework

I can’t think of a single class where we weren’t reminded repeatedly when things were due. Yes we all received syllabi with all the due dates for the semester on the first day of class, but unless you’re super organized you’re probably going to lose it, which also won’t matter since there’s a 99 percent chance your teacher keeps a downloadable copy for students to access online. The point of college is to learn, not get tricked by omission into missing deadlines. Of course, as with anything, there are exceptions - you're better off keeping up with the deadlines yourself, since some professors won't remind you, but for the most part, they'll keep you all in the loop.

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Again, it depends on the teacher, but if you’ve showed up to every class and really shown that you’ve been busting your ass and doing your best, your teacher might give you a chance for extra credit. However, extra credit is unlikely in giant lectures (it wouldn’t be fair to the other 300 students) – your best bet is in the smaller classes where the professor knows everyone’s name. Personally, I never asked for extra credit, but I bombed an Italian Language test so hard that the teacher let me take it again. I bombed it even worse the second time, so she gave me a flat 80 percent on the exam because otherwise it would’ve dragged my grade down to a 65 percent. Don’t assume every teacher will do that for you though, so please – study for your exams.

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MLA Format Or Bust, Y'all

If you’re an English major then yes -- MLA format is going to be the main thing you use. But for everyone else? Pfffft, no. APA style is where it’s at, which I only know because all my non-English major friends I made freshman year would bitch about having to figure out APA. So those countless hours you spent checking every paper in high school to make sure it was cited correctly? Yup – a giant waste of time come college.

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College Is SO Much Harder Than High School

Truth be told, I felt that high school was harder than college. In high school I had to wake up at 5:30 AM every day to catch the bus, had at least three hours of homework every night, and had to adhere to my parents’ rules. College couldn’t be further from that: teachers don’t really assign homework, you’re just expected to study or do the reading. The earliest class you’ll ever have is at 8:00 AM, which means you can get up at 7-7:30 and still make it on time. And, of course, your parents aren’t there with you, which means you don’t have to listen to anyone’s rules but your own (and laws, of course, so don’t go robbing banks the minute you get dropped off at your dorm).

Take it from someone who’s been there – college is so, so SO much easier than high school, and the “real world” that comes afterwards is even easier. Ignore the scare tactics, and start looking forward to how much better life is going to be once you get older.

Source: iStock

What scary lies have you heard about college? Let us know in the comments!


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