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Homework in college

sirenk5sirenk5 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited March 2010 in College Life
I'm a high school senior and going to college in the fall. I plan on picking a major in the liberal arts, although I'm conflicted between history and political science. Anyway I've heard that college professors don't really assign homework, except for math and english courses. A friend of mine told me that you really only have two opportunities for a good grade, the mid-semester exam and the semester final. If you get a bad grade on those then that's it. The homework is only just reading. The professors don't really check if you're doing it. Its your responsibility and if you don't and fail the class then too bad.

By the way this is only about the two majors I listed above.
Post edited by sirenk5 on

Replies to: Homework in college

  • themagicalsporkthemagicalspork Registered User Posts: 302 Member
    It depends on the class. Some classes are midterm and final, but some classes might be based off of several exams, or some might have both exams and papers. Since you're going to major in history or poli sci I'm guessing most of your classes are going to involve writing papers.
  • CrytoCryto Registered User Posts: 437 Member
    Most of my homework consists of reading as you mentioned. I like this system a lot because I despise busy-work even if it does inflate your grade nicely. Most classes, especially humanity types, consist of a mix of papers and midterms/finals for your grade. Also, if your class is fairly small they may take participation into account.
  • maxellismaxellis Registered User Posts: 1,172 Senior Member
    Depends on the class. I have had classes where it is a midterm and a final, and I have had a class where it was 120 hours of online busywork that a computer grades (the material was easy, but the time it took was rediculous).
  • HisGraceFillsMeHisGraceFillsMe Registered User Posts: 4,782 Senior Member
    Most of my homework is reading or writing papers. But it does depend on the teacher.

    My geography teacher has us bring in a relevant news article every week and we discuss them with others in the lecture.

    My Music teacher has us do "listening logs" about whatever we're listening to in class that week.

    My Astronomy teacher has us subscribe to a web site which publishes problem sets related to the text.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    It will depend on the prof, but it's true that in college you often do not have assignments to turn in every day of class like you do in high school. In history or poli-sci, it's true that the bulk of your daily work will be reading, but unlike in high school, reading is an actual assignment. You get a lot of it. Try not to fall behind because you will regret it later. You usually won't have quizzes to check up and make sure you've done your reading either, profs assume you will do what is assigned and that you will come to class ready to discuss it. You can get away without doing your reading sometimes, but it makes classes a lot less interesting if you can't participate, and if there's a participation grade it could hurt your final grade. Also, when it comes to writing papers or studying for your exams, you'll need to know the material assigned to you in reading so you know what to review or so you can construct your argument for your paper. If you don't do your reading over the semester, you'll have to catch up on it all right before you write your paper or take your exam. Not a fun process.

    In econ or math classes you might have problem sets for each class, and in some classes there are special projects but mostly it's reading. Lots and lots of reading.

    Every school is different, but in mine we would usually have two-three papers due over the course of a semester, maybe 10-12 pages each, and then a final exam or a final paper/project. Also maybe a mid-term sprinkled in there. It is important to do well on your papers because they can be 40% of your grade each, with 20% for a final, or some other large portion. There aren't a lot of chances to make up bad grades, so it is key to write the best paper you can and take advantage of office hours and offers to review or edit your paper.
  • clarinette52clarinette52 Registered User Posts: 709 Member
    Well, for my logic class, I had homework that was due pretty much every Friday. Same with honors seminar and papers; I always had a paper due on Saturday morning. Other classes sometimes assign homework, but don't take it up for a grade.

    Like others have said, every school is different, and the approaches by professors may vary greatly.
  • SadHippoSadHippo Registered User Posts: 486 Member
    Can someone point out how much time on average they or most college students study/do homework? As in hours/minutes per day.
  • clarinette52clarinette52 Registered User Posts: 709 Member
    I spend anywhere from 1-3 hours a day on my homework, more if I have a paper due.
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,608 Senior Member
    I'd say in undergrad I usually spent 4-6 hours a day on work outside of class (in addition to actually attending all of my classes). I'd generally also have to work both days on weekends or do a week of catch up if I took a day or two off.
  • MushaboomBlueMushaboomBlue Registered User Posts: 1,715 Senior Member
    I spend 4 hours every other day on homework. My homework is mostly a lot of reading since I'm an English major and psychology minor. And I write a lot of papers too. I don't mind it. It's the reason I pursued such a major =\

    And yes, in most cases, you have no one to watch over you if you are missing an assignment. It is up to you. Some classes, you get no homework! Just two or three major in-class exams and that's your grade!
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,657 Senior Member
    The general rule is one hour of homework/reading/studying for each hour spent in class. YMMV.
  • rattler917rattler917 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    I have a friend who was a Bio major and only had 4 grades (tests) all semester. My other friend was a Civil Eng major and had homework nightly. Im doing dual enrollment poli sci at my high school with a CC and my prof gives 4 tests and 5 other assignments all semester.
  • cowman809cowman809 Registered User Posts: 681 Member
    According to my friends in UCR UC Davis and Humboldt State, they get HS-esque hw pretty frequently.
  • futurenyustudentfuturenyustudent Registered User Posts: 5,366 Senior Member
    I almost never do the reading. Usually I skim the readings a weekend before the exam and bs the answers to the exam questions, unless it was something I was really interested in. I found that a lot of social science profs (polisci is the worst for this) assign you a huge pile of reading, but you only have to do like 1% of it. I skim half the reading and look up the other half on Wikipedia. I'm always trying to think of ways to make my studying more efficient-how to get the highest grade for the least amount of work. And any takehome papers I derive about a quarter of the content from wikipedia, another quarter from the actual reading (which I skim) and bs the rest. I also found that if you know about half the material, you can logically infer the other half come exam time.

    For polisci, I guarantee you you won't have to do 99% of the reading assigned to you. I found polisci profs to be the worst on this count. History I heard is just a lot of memorization. The bigger the school gets, the truer this becomes. And besides, why bother doing the reading when the prof will just explain it in lecture anyway? (This doesn't work if your prof is an arrogant prick) Just take really good notes in class. Seems inefficient to me. At the end of the day, you only need to remember the material long enough to regurgitate it on the exam. Yes, it's a jaded view of college but it's true, college is a 4 year course on how to minimize your workload and maximize your grades. That's all employers and law schools and med schools and grad schools give a fig about.

    Of course this kind of thing will only work in social sciences and humanities.

    Don't try this at home, unless your bs'ing abilities are sufficiently advanced.

    For the record: Econ major, law and society minor, prelaw track.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    ^^ Well that's one way to get the grade without learning anything, but that's not really how I would choose to go through my college education. The point after all isn't just to make the best grades, it is to actually learn something worthwhile. Otherwise, why waste all the money on an expensive private college education (assuming you ended up becoming an NYU student here)?

    Re my earlier post, I should clarify that the structure I was outlining was for an entry-level or lower-mid lecture class. A seminar or an upper level class would require more homework. Seminars are a LOT more reading, plus usually a paper or some kind of written assignment every week, plus whatever else the prof wants to throw on. As someone above me in the thread said, it varies by school, class level, and prof.

    And at my college it was more like 2 hours of homework for every hour in class. Though that could vary based on the course.
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