how much harder is college?

<p>i am a senior at a pretty high ranking hs in illinois (glenbrook north) and ive been taking almost all honors classes throughout hs and im finishing ap bio nicely with a high b. Im planning on doing premed but i just dont know how taxing it is. some people say that i wont be leaving my room at all, some others say that those ppl just want to scare me. I certainly dont want to cut myself off from the outside! would anyone be able to tell me more about it?</p>

<p>Know how to manage your time! That is, in my opinion, the most important skill that a pre-med must develop, and very quickly. If you read before you go to lecture in every class and do the hw as its assigned you'll be fine, because there will be no need to cram before exams. But it is easier said than done. You will definitely need to dedicate a lot of time to study.</p>

<p>~El Sol</p>

<p>Great high school students generally make great college students. Occasionally, mediocre h.s. students "wake up" in college & succeed, but that is, I think, more the exception than the rule.</p>

<p>I would also add that sometimes great high school students turn into lousy college students. The college environment is a lot more free than the high-school environment, and you are quite free to do whatever you want. Furthermore for many students, it is the first time that they have ever not been under the watchful eye of their parents. So some students who were formerly great in high school come to college and realize that they can make the choice to lounge around all day doing nothing, and so they decide to do that. </p>

<p>I've seen it happen - former superstars in high school end up flunking out of college. I'm not just talking about choosing to drop out because you find something more interesting to do, I'm talking about being involuntarily expelled for poor academic performance - basically, for not doing the work. Unfortunately, it happens. Whether you will choose to be a serious and responsible student is a personal choice that everybody has to make, and some people choose not to do it.</p>

<p>Or going to high school and realize you're at a place with much smarter people and some can't handle that after being the top of their high school.</p>

<p>it reminds me of transitioning from middle to high school. a lot of the great middle school stars went down the tubes. meanwhile, the hardest of workers survive and succeed.
could you say it's kind the same for college but on a whole different level?</p>

<p>Imagine that but on a much more intense and larger scale. College has more of an intelligence factor. Some people work as hard as they can and can't cut it. In high school it was mainly people that found drugs and just didn't care and quit working. College has those too but that isn't the only reason anymore b/c people are paying for college and care more.</p>

<p>But yes you are sort of correct that it is a little like middle school except the ones going down the tubes didn't care as much in middle school and you didn't hear as much about them b/c they weren't always THAT smart. In college SMART kids will be dropping out and that is the crazy freaky difference. Those kids deserve to be there but they just can't seem to cut it socially, work-wise, or academically. I think that was the main difference I was thinking about and couldn't quite put it into words.</p>

<p>I hate to sound like Sakky, but many people who did very well in High School end up being slapped around by PreMed programs. It really does depend on several factors, but I believe it really comes down to two simple factors:</p>

<p>1) Are you smart? Many people in High School did well because they were organized and studied when they had to, not because they were smart. College goes well beyond this because making pretty flash cards and going through a few examples won't cut it. You have to be able to grasp the material from many angles and be able to apply it in a short period of time. It will take a lot more than repeating what the teacher/textbook said to make it through.</p>

<p>2) Can you manage your time? You can't wing PreMed, you <em>have</em> to study and you have to do it correctly. There are many people who study very hard and are lucky to get a C-, so if you don't study you are going to flat out fail. </p>

<p>It also depends a lot on the college. I know some colleges are easier than others, but even my little school (Austin College) has its horror stories.</p>

<p>My Cell Biology class had 45ish people when the semester started, now we are down to 24 and only eight of those passed the last exam. I'm doing very well, but 80% of the people that went into the class were top 25% in High School and they are not used to coming even close to failing... many of them don't handle it very well. They study all week, they have their notes all nice and everything, and then they get their quiz—15 minutes—Go!</p>

<p>Unable to apply, panic, out of time, blank answers, failing grade.</p>

<p>Be ready for these things. I for one was barely top 40% in my high school and got a mediocre SAT score. It wasn’t until my senior year of High School that I “woke up” and allowed my potential to kick in. I got accepted into a great college and decided to take full advantage of the opportunity. </p>

<p>A great high school student can flunk out of college, and a mediocre high school student can get on a college Dean’s list over people with 1500+ SATs. That is the reality at my school. I have little doubt that such things happen throughout the nation.</p>

<p>Be motivated, be smart.</p>

<p>I would also add that one of the biggest differences between high school and many college courses, especially premed courses, that cause a lot of transition problems is the use of the curve for grading purposes, which by definition means that only a certain small percentage of the class will get the 'A' that you need to look good to med-schools. Curves change the game completely. In high school, you could get an 'A' just by knowing the material - what other people did had no effect on you. In a curved college course, you can't just know the material to get an 'A', you have to know the material better than the other people in the class. </p>

<p>I remember premed courses where only the top 15% of the class would get an A- or better, and you would only get a solid A if you were in the top 5-10%. I remember one premed guy who scored an 89% on one of his exam and was deeply saddened. Why? Because the mean on the test was a 95%, so his 89% was equivalent to a 'D'. That is the nature of the curve - it's designed to give out lots and lots of bad grades. Even if you work extremely hard and know the material a lot, you can still end up with a terrible grade, because you are going to be graded on the curve and lots of other people are also working extremely hard and know the material well.</p>

<p>To digress, premeds know fully well that they are being graded against each other, and that sometimes leads to some really nasty behavior. Here is Michael Crichton's (yes, THAT Michael Crichton) recollection of his old days as a premed. He obviously did very well for himself, going to Harvard for undergrad, graduating summa cum laude (hence in the top 5% of his class at Harvard) and then Harvard Medical School, before deciding he's rather be a writer. But still, he doesn't exactly recollect his premed days fondly.</p>

<p>"In general, I found Harvard an exciting place, where people were genuinely focused on study and learning, and with no special emphasis on grades. But to take a premed course was to step into a different world -- nasty and competitive. The most critical course was organic chemistry, Chem 20, and it was widely known as a "screw your buddy" course. In lectures, if you didn't hear what the instructor had said and asked the person next to you, he'd give you the wrong information; thus you were better off leaning over to look at his notes, but in that case he was likely to cover his notes so you couldn't see. In the labs, if you asked the person at the next bench a question, he'd tell you the wrong answer in the hope that you would make a mistake or, even better, start a fire. We were marked down for starting fires. In my year, I had the dubious distinction of starting more lab fires than anyone else, including a spectacular ether fire that set the ceiling aflame and left large scorch marks, a stigmata of ineptitude hanging over my head for the rest of the year. I was uncomfortable with the hostile and paranoid attitude this course demanded for success. I thought that a humane profession like medicine ought to encourage other values in its candidates. But nobody was asking my opinion. I got through it as best I could."</p>

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<p>Hey,
ur not alone. I'm also a senior is HS and am somewhat worried about university to spend the next four years of my life at. I was thinking Boston U, UCLA, or UCB. After reading several of the comments that people haev made i realized that I better look a bit more closely in each school. Good Luck. If you really want to be a doctor and you can see it, then by all means pursue it. You know college is gonna be tough, but once you get the passed it, it's great!!! I'm still not sure where to go bu i know I'm gonna be a Pre-Med.</p>

<p>No doubt its going to be tough. But all this "you'll work extremely hard and still fail" talk is really discouraging. Besides, working reallly hard, what else can ya do. other than just be a natural genius...but most of us aren't.</p>

<p>Having been thru the process, I stand firmly by my earlier assertion: most great high school students make great college students. Exceptions? Sure, I knew more than a couple, but mostly they experienced social adjustment problems that explained their downturn; rarely did I see (at BU) anyone really try hard and not meet with success.</p>

<p>...On the other hand, one of my best friends went engineering at Cornell & absolutely met with disaster despite an heroic effort.</p>

<p>I think the cutthroatness of premed students gets blown out of perspective. I'm premed at Cornell and I simply don't see it. It is much easier to increase 1 grade (your own) than to depress 600 other people's grades. </p>

<p>Anyways, I currently have a 3.8 GPA with solid A's in all my classes so far this semester. There's only 1 stat that interests me: 99%-Cornell's acceptance rate into med school the last two years of its applicants with 3.8+ GPAs.</p>

<p>I think that to get a balanced perspective, we need to get the opinions of premeds out there who AREN'T doing well.</p>

<p>study, and u will be fine. remember this is not cutting edge research, u can handle it if u can put in hard work. u are payin to learn, so do your hws and spend time reading. this is your full time job.
about transition, i went to a regular public high school, the main difference i noticed between your typical high school and college for me at least was: the bottom is gone. in high school u can slack off, and probably cram everything and u'll probably be among the top scorers. The problem is that once u are in college, everybody is like you or better than you, there won't be people that never studied like in high school. in few simple words: don't count on getting lucky.</p>

<p>Sakky...sorry, but I think that group has more excuses than Massachusetts has Democrats. </p>

<p>Norcal: Very impressive! Your view of academic competition and your results are going to lead you to success.</p>

<p>I would love to hear stories of people stealing notes, sabatoging lab experiments, etc. I haven't seen anything close to that at Cornell.</p>

<p>I took Organic Chem Lab last semester and it was by far the most fun I've probably ever had in a class since everyone was joking around all the time, talking to each other, and trying to help each other through the lab without making something explode. </p>

<p>Admittedly, there is a group of students who are invisible from the statistics. They never make it to the application process. But from what I've seen, even at a school like Cornell, there is a fair number of slackers. Those are the people who are first weeded out (for example, the person who scored a 3% of the last orgo midterm; why he was still in the class with 3 weeks to go I have no idea). If you have some intelligence and a hard working attitude, you will have a great chance to be successful.</p>

<p>I see so many kids on this board trying to find out which school has the highest grade inflation. That was never a consideration for me going into college (my two main choices were Cal and Cornell) because I couldn't see myself failing if I worked hard. Call me naive or over-confident, but I don't believe you can succeed until you have the right mindset. Med school is going to be much harder than any grade-deflated undergrads like Cornell or MIT. If you're alreadying shying away from working hard, how are you going to stand med school? And I hear doctors have to work pretty hard too :p</p>

<p>There's the perspective of an idealist:)</p>

<p>I agree. People seem to want to have an easier workload. Med school will be hard too. By getting used to the work, it may come as less of a shock or something. There are pre-med students in my advanced chemistry course. Based on what people believe here, why in the world would they do that? Hopefully to learn (b/c some of them aren't doing so hot).</p>

<p>Well well well, what have we here? A murderer's row of posters saying that everybody who isn't doing well must be a lazy, slacking excuse-mongerer. Basically, what I'm hearing is that if you're not getting top grades, then it must be all your fault and so you deserve to get those bad grades. Wow. And people on CC say that I'm harsh? </p>

<p>I would also point out that there is a big difference between hard work and punitive work. A big difference. There are entire majors, most prominently at schools whose names end in the words "Institute of Technology", where you can put your nose to the grindstone all day, every day, and still barely get a 'C'. I'm sure those people would really appreciate hearing your preaching about how they must all be lazy. Perhaps one ought to try taking some hardcore science classes at, oh I don't know, Caltech, and see what kinds of grades you get before you start blasting people with the laziness tag. How many people here are absolutely 100% sure they could get an A in Ochem at Caltech? That's what I thought. </p>

<p>Y'all may remember that last year there was a person who had straight A's at MIT - and got rejected from every single med-school he applied to. This year, there was a person at MIT with a 3.61/4 who got rejected at every med-school he applied to. Are these people lazy? Maybe they didn't do well on their MCAT, maybe they didn't interview well, there could be a host of reasons why they didn't get in. But laziness? You sure about that? </p>

<p>I do agree that there is some laziness. There is some slacking. But to tag everybody who doesn't have top grades, and/or who can't get into med-school with laziness? You go too far. I think we can all agree that there are some extremely difficult schools out there with extremely difficult majors where merely passing is an accomplishment in and of itself. I think we should hear from those people who are doing premed and see what they have to say about the process. Let's ask some MIT engineering premeds about the process. Let's ask some Caltech physics premeds about the process. In particular, maybe we should ask them what they think about the insinuation that "if you're not getting top grades, you must be lazy", and see what they have to say about that.</p>

<p>Well, I'm going to disagree somewhat with most of the posts. When I started college I really thought is was much easier. Although, I was still working full-time I was able to create a schedule that worked for me. I wasn't attending classes from 9a-3p and then working from 4-10p as I was in high school. I could schedule my classes to be only M-W-F or only mornings or only evenings..you get the idea. There was something about not spending every day, all day, at school that really appealed to me and made college easier for me. There was so much extra free time and so much less busy work assignments. Geez, I remember my HS calc teacher assigning 20 nearly identical problems as homework. If you got the concept after 5 problems you still had to do the other 15. Ugh. This has only happened a few times in college. </p>

<p>Instead of 6 or more classes, there were only 4 or 5. Not only that, but the classes were finally INTERESTING! Of course there are always poor instructors or poor textbooks, but overall the coursework was worthwhile and directly related to my interests this makes it easier to want to study and do well.</p>

<p>I don't think you'll be cooped up inside studying all the time, but who knows....like Sakky says, some people can study constantly and just won't do well...it doesn't matter how much work they do outside of class they won't get As. I have certainly known a few people like that and I don't know why all their studying didn't help. </p>

<p>Anyway, my point is that some people find college to be easier than high school and I am one of them.</p>