Things you should know before starting college

Been to college? Ever wish someone had told you beforehand of all the little things about it that would annoy you? Well, why not help prospective students by adding to our list.

The List

  • It can be terribly awkward at the beginning. Be prepared to deliver some good conversation starters!
  • Teachers aren’t going to do everything for you now, it’s time to take responsibility.
  • No-one is going to push you to work harder, if you fail, you’re out, that’s it.
  • Don’t get in the teacher’s bad books at the start, this isn’t school and you don’t have 5 years to re-write their opinion of you. This is very important if you're expecting them to write references.
  • Administration and start times are likely to be lax, but this doesn’t mean you can slack off.
  • Teaching won’t end rigidly when the timetabled time is up, so don’t expect to leave straight away.
  • The absence of bells/buzzers will mean you have to be more organised than ever before.
  • Make sure you get a planner and PLAN YOUR TIME – organisation goes a long way.
  • You should think about writing up your notes as soon as you get them, a couple of months down the line and those notes won’t make much sense...
  • Assessment deadlines can be changed at very short notice and things will be reorganised via emails – you’re not at school and tutors aren't going to run around to make things easy for you.
  • You’ll find your free periods lose their charm pretty quickly...
  • You’re going to have to introduce yourself to your new classmates over and over again.
  • If you don’t remember people’s names then it looks like you don’t care, and if people think you don’t care then what incentive is there for them to get to know you? Be friendly, and say hi.
  • You might have adults in your class and they won’t appreciate being asked for help – they’re students too.
  • No-one will care how you’re dressed, your GCSE grades or if you’ve done your homework, so don’t make a big deal out of it.
  • Food queues will be large OR you’re going to be spending a lot of money offsite at lunch times.
  • Working hard in the AS year will have huge rewards in the A2 year.
  • AS Levels do matter, as they influence your predicted grades.
  • Things will build up very quickly, get tasks and essays done as soon as you can, particularly in A2 - trying to fill in UCAS, write a personal statement and write several essays all within a few weeks/days is not fun.
  • Plan your bus routes! Find out before you start your courses, what buses you need get to your campus on time, staff will get sick of you being late if you took the wrong bus or missed it, and if they get sick of you - you are out! Also leave a bit earlier if it's raining or snowing, traffic is bad and your buses are likely to be late.
  • In classes you ain't there to have a good social life, work is more important than what you did last night for example.
  • Choose the right college for you, it's very hard to start again somewhere else.
  • You can't give the excuse 'I wasn't in when the homework was set' - the teachers don't care and it's your responsibility to catch up.
  • Be serious about the course, if not you'll get dropped and someone who is serious and have been waiting to do it will replace you.
  • You are expected to do work at home in your own time too.
  • Use your time inbetween lessons as your homework/coursework time as well as lunch and break.
  • College must come first, no matter how much money you are getting from your part time job.
  • Don't plan Driving Lessons during class time, teachers wont take that as a good reason for missing class!
  • Real life isn't Skins. If there is a bit of a drug culture going on where you're studying, remember that ultimately, get sucked in and you fail no matter how clever you are. Repeating the year is not fun.

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