Seriously, how HARD is college?

Hey guys this is a very important question. I know that college courses are obviously harder than high school, but seriously, how hard is it?

I am planning to study courses for pre-med which include stuffs like chem, biology, physics etc. Are college sciences courses like high school science courses but a bit harder and deeper? I am a current senior and I have a cummulative GPA of 3.84 or something like that bc i didnt stdy much in sophomore or junior year. But right now I am keeping my gpas above 4.0s. If I am at this “situation” do y’all think that i wont be good enough in college to keep up grades like that?


I’d be willing to bet it varies greatly by college, but I’ll share my experience as a pre-engineering major at Penn State. Just finished my first year.

Introductory Chem 1 and 2 were exactly like AP Chem. Some stuff I was fuzzy on (took AP Chem 2 years ago at this point) but pulled an A in both. Not too hard. Most people did pretty well.

Introductory Physics (Mechanics): I only took honors physics in high school, but I assume the class would have been easy had I taken AP. As it was, I studied hard and did very well. Ended up with a hugely high A thanks to the test curves – many people did badly. (Maybe people who took regular or no physics in HS?)

Calc 1 and 2 I took as honors at PSU so that’s probably different. The theory was hard, the actual problems not so much.

I’m waiting on one final grade right now, but it’s possible that I got a 4.0 for my first year. A’s in early science courses are definitely doable if you study, go to review sessions, and don’t let yourself fall behind. Chem and physics were, I felt, not much harder than the high school versions I took.

Good luck!! I can’t speak as to the higher-level courses, ofc – maybe it just gets harder from here.

This also depends on the level of your high school. Your GPA could mean a lot from school X but not so much from school Y. For some, college classes are easier than high school.

Getting a 4.0 in college is significantly harder than in high school.

Also, in pre-med courses, everyone will be competing for the highest grades, since high college grades are necessary (but not sufficient) for admission to medical school.

As per @bodangles, above, it depends on which college you’re going to. My rough estimate is that colleges vary by a factor of about 4X

Just to ruffle everyone’s feathers: college was easier than high school.

(my experience, while representative of my high school, is not representative generally ) >:)

For me, college is much easier than high school. Little/no busy work, ample time to get stuff done, professors are experts in their fields, etc.

It all depends. I don’t know anyone at my school who would say high school was harder. The quarter system is crazy and everyone here is overinvolved extracurricularly. Those kinds of campus culture things can make big differences. @iwannabe_Brown things he’s ruffling feathers, but most of us have heard people say the same thing. Someone going from a difficult, stressful high school to a college with a known atmosphere of being freer and looser with requirements and such is likely to think it’s easier.

I mean most of my Brown classmates thought high school was easier but college was more enjoyable. But yes, overall I agree with you @Crimsonstained7, that it’s going to depend on the high school and the college. Well more than 20% of the freshman class comes in to Brown with a 4.0 in high school though but 20% of the class does not come out with a 4.0 (based on who gets magna cum laude) I think high schools that were so rigorous as to make college seem easier are the minority. Maybe not on CC but in the country for sure.

College is definitely easier for me, but my high school was insane (STEM magnet school), so that’s definitely not the norm. The courses are easier, there’s more one-on-one, the professors are friendly, and I’m able to stand out more. In high school, I barely graduated with a 4.0 weighted (mostly Bs in my academic classes), which is low considering almost every course we take is honors or AP (exceptions include foreign language, PE, band, etc). I just finished my freshman year of college (taking sophomore/junior level math and sophomore level CS) and I didn’t receive any grade below an A-.

So I’d say it really depends on your high school background and what kind of college you’re attending.

As there are an unlimited number of variables as to whether college is hard or not, there is no one size fits all answer.

College is hard and some of my pre-med friends took organic chemistry and other difficult classes for their major and decided to switch majors because it was too difficult. Who knows, college may be easier for you or harder… depends on the university you attend, how hard you work, and how you motivate yourself.

In high school, it seemed as though I was always doing something; there was always a looming deadline. In college, I go weeks without doing anything meaningful (never spending more than maybe 20-30 minutes a day on homework) and then have periods of time where everything is due all at once (like the last week of the semester.) I’ve found it easier to stand out in college (even in larger courses of 150+ students, I’ve had professors recognize my work as exemplary whereas I’d have to brown nose a teacher in high school to get similar recognition.)

But, some important things to note is that I am attending a University where my GPA and SAT put me well into the top percentage of my cohort in SAT and GPA (a distinction that got me a full scholarship) – I’m sure I wouldn’t be coasting this easily if I attended a more rigorous school. Moreover, I am in a soft major (Political Science) - excelling isn’t as taxing as it would be if I were in engineering or computer science.

College is also a lot more rewarding than high school. I’ve found that I’m certainly working harder, but I enjoy working harder because, to me, the payoff is so much more. It can really suck to study super hard and get a bad grade, but it motivates you to change your study habits for the next time. In one class this semester, I got a 77 on the first exam, so I worked harder for the second and got a 92. I was so happy I’m pretty sure I actually cried and sent a snapchat of my grade to all my friends. Seeing your hard work pay off is so rewarding! So yes, it is harder, but it’s worth it.

Depends very much on the school, the program, the classes, etc… Big classes like chemistry and physics and even calculus that give multiple choice exams can be a grade killer because there is no partial credit. Grading is different in college too … mostly exams, with very little buffer built up via homework, so tank a test, and you’re in a hole. Tests are no longer just like the homework … you have to learn to expect the unexpected and apply what you’ve learned to something totally new on your feet during the test … think of the most evil exam questions that could be posed, and study/prepare for those. Guaranteed, you’ll see some of them. The semester moves fast; it might seem to start out slowly, but will pick up rapidly. Don’t fall behind, because there is not time to catch up … go get help as soon as you start to have trouble. Do it regularly, even if you think you’re understanding everything. You might not be as caught up as you think you are; by the time you realize you’re having trouble, suddenly you’re completely lost.

I’m a nursing major at UMass Amherst, and I’m going to say that college is a bit harder, but more manageable. In high school, I worked a ton and always had a thousand things to do; in college, there is little to no busywork. The downside to this is that everything is worth more.

So far, I have done significantly better in college than I did in high school

It not only depends on the school, but also the student.

UChicago. Send help.

((Okay it’s not that bad but it’s pretty intense. There aren’t really any slacker classes and midterms are constantly hitting you, you’re always trying to keep on top of the readings, you’re writing long papers like every week, all that jazz. It’s enjoyable, though, and there really isn’t any busywork and plenty of time to do other stuff, it’s just hard.))

The school year really depends on professor . Like this semester o struggled a lot despite having a 3.9 in high school and a 3.7 so far in college.

Finals is an entirely different story… As tumblr said “college is like riding a bike, except the street is on fire, the bike is on fire, and you’re on fire because you’re actually in hell.”

How hard it is really depends on a lot of things - your major, school, professors, amount of course work you’re taking, your own learning style and level of self-discipline, etc. Really the hardest part for most people is not learning the material itself, but handling the quantity of the material in a shorter amount of time than in high school.