As we grow up, we’re taught that life should follow a familiar sequence — after elementary school, we move onto middle school and then high school. There, we work hard and get good grades so we can go to college. And, after four years of studying, we receive our diplomas and enter the real world, primed for success by all of our educational training.
But society’s picture-perfect outlook on the academic experience isn’t always correct. In fact, we get a lot wrong about college — here are five of the most common examples.
1. Everyone Graduates in Four Years
A lot can get in the way of a four-year degree. Some students switch majors, which means they have to take more classes and stick around longer. Others have to take semesters off to work up and save cash for the next term.
No matter the reason, one thing stands — not everyone finishes their degree in four years. Recent studies have shown that most students take six years to complete their bachelor’s degrees.
2. People Go to Community College Because They Can’t Afford Anything Else
Yes, community college is typically cheaper than traditional university — you might consider attending for many reasons, but it does cost thousands of dollars less in tuition. However, there’s more to love about a local college than just the low fees.
Community colleges provide students with the flexibility to attend class while working, much more than what’s possible at four-year institutions. Plus, community college offers a great stepping stone to going onto another university, and it shows — the majority of community college students want to go on to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
There are more myths regarding community college. Some people believe that community college students only attend for vocational training, or they say that foundational classes taken here won’t set a person up for professional success. These rumors have been proven incorrect time and time again — so don’t be scared to consider starting your education here.
3. Your Major Defines Your Future Career
You can start trying to figure out your career path in high school. You can sign up for a major that’ll bring you closer to that possibility. But no one knows what will happen when you graduate — you might find that you like something else more, or you could fall into something completely unexpected.
Many college graduates end up doing something different than what they studied, so don’t worry about it too much if you’re unsure of what you want to do now.
4. A U.S. Degree Is the Best to Have
The United States has plenty of great schools — it has almost 200 entries on the US News & World Report’s list of the 750 best global universities. But countries like China, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Australia also have multiple well-regarded colleges that would provide you with a respectable degree.
And, if you’re interested in studying abroad, you’ll be surprised that a degree overseas often costs much less than it does here. In other words, a degree from an esteemed institution overseas could cost less but provide you the same prestige when applying for jobs later.
5. College Students Are Lazy Partiers
There are plenty of assumptions about college students’ character. If they’re not seen as procrastinating, lazy teens, then outsiders think they party around the clock. Of course, none of these stereotypes define every college student.
When you go to college, you get to choose what kind of student and person you’ll be — don’t let expectations sway you.
Follow Your Instinct
It’s a great lesson to learn, and one you’re sure to pick up as you grow up — you should always listen to your gut. You’ll know where you should go to school, how much to spend, what to study and how to act. The only assumptions to live up to, then, are your own.