The Undergrad Answers: #1

Well look at that! I actually got a question!

writes:

Thank you so much for this post! I guess, in order to answer my questions, I should tell you just a little about me. That ok?
I’m 17 years old, I live in British Columbia, Canada and I’m home schooled with a private curriculum that will get me an American High School Certificate. (In other words, I’m not the one making up a random curriculum to later try for a GED). Although I love talking, and once you get to know me I’m as far away from shy as the earth is from the sun, I’m usually quite shy when in a crowd of strangers. Usually. But not always. Depends if it’s a good day. My parents were not born in North America and therefore cannot help me much with my questions. So, I’ve had to figure it out on my own. I’m an A average student, and last year I was on the honor roll.

Anywho, my questions are these:
1.What do I do if all I know is I want to major in Communications, but I don’t know where I want to apply that degree into yet? (Journalism, Professional Writing, Public Speaking etc.) What if I don’t figure it out by the time I get into college?
2. Is there a limit on how many times you can take the SAT?
3. Are classes really that hard? Or are people just scaring us high schoolers?

For now that’s it. Thank you so so so very much for the help! (:

Answers:

1. Not to worry! Many people come into college completely unaware of what field they want to study in (these are your Undecided majors). You at least have an idea of the general area you want to focus on, which is a great start, as it narrows down your options significantly.

My school (and just about every other school in the nation) doesn’t require you to actually declare a major until your sophomore year. So, if you’re not sure what exact branch of communications you want to focus on, I would apply into a general Communication Studies program so you’re at least getting a feel for the topic. You’ll probably start out in general Introduction to Comm classes your first year and won’t branch into specialized courses until later in your career.

Remember that you’ll be provided with an academic adviser. If you’re not sure what field you want to go into, consult your adviser. These people are getting paid specifically to help you and will provide you with tips and resources that will help you decide what to do once the time comes.

In summary: Don’t worry about coming to college unsure of what you’re doing. You’ll still have ample time to discover what you like, and tons of resources to help you find your way!

2. Unfortunately, I took the ACT, not the SAT, so I can’t speak from personal experience on this one. However, this is the answer I got from universitysat.com :

“There is no real limit to the number of times you can take the SAT, but every time you take the test, your score goes on your permanent record. While some highly selective colleges prefer that students to take the SAT a maximum of two or three times, most schools do not care. So, you can take the SAT early and often, working hard to improve your score every time.”

My personal tip is that you aim to take the SAT as few times as possible. Work as hard as you can to get a solid score within your first three attempts. Yes, a college will be happy to see that you improved your score time after time, but I’m sure they’ll be happier to see you do it in two or three attempts rather than, say, ten.

3. College will require more effort from you than high school does. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s hard, per se, but it does mean that you can’t just breeze through without ever studying and by putting forth the minimal amount of work. If you want to do college right, you’ll have to actually sit down and dedicate good amounts of time to reading, taking notes, working out problems, et cetera. But this isn’t entirely indicative of how hard something is, I would say; I spend a good two hours a night doing history homework because I go through and take very thorough notes, but I currently have an A in the class and I find the material to be very easy.

Some classes will, by nature, be harder than others. Two of my friends are studying in the health sciences field and are currently taking Chemistry. The class average there doesn’t exceed a 70%, and it is very common for students to get 50% or lower on their exams just because of the sheer complexity of the class. But on the other hand, one of them is also in a Philosophy class that only meets approximately once a week and barely assigns homework, and my friend’s got an A there.

So, some classes will be hard, and some will not. College is challengingbut not necessarily hard, and certainly not impossible.

And if you really feel like you can’t keep your head above water, don’t worry! It takes some time getting used to the change between high school and college. Also, your school will provide you with study help and tutors if you need (and no, it isn’t a bad thing to have a tutor; even the best students need some guidance here and there!). Finally, your professors will have office hours and will gladly go over any material you don’t understand.

In summary: It’ll certainly take work. The best things do! Don’t be scared into thinking it’ll be too hard for you to handle.

***

I hope I was able to help! If you still have questions or want me to clarify on a point, let me know! 🙂

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2 thoughts on “The Undergrad Answers: #1

    • No problem! I’m glad I could help!

      So you know, you left out a letter in your blog address and I got sent to this reeeeeally weird website about armageddon and the end times. Made me crack up laughing. Just thought I’d tell you. (I did eventually find your real blog though!)

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