group of people walking into college
group of people walking into college

The Most Important Thing To Know Before College

So you’re heading off to college—but before you start classes, there’s one thing you need to know.

There’s plenty of unwritten rules and unspoken secrets about going to college that get passed along by seniors, older siblings, and friends who have graduated. But there’s a critical part of college that you probably haven’t heard of and not many people are talking about. Thanks to my 11th grade English Literature teacher telling all of his students about this, I was able to survive my freshman year of college.

Drop Classes.

So, what exactly are drop classes? It’s exactly what it sounds like: classes you take in college that are specifically designed to get you to drop out.

In all likelihood, you’re not taking any classes your freshman year, and potentially part of your sophomore year, that actually count towards your major (maybe one or two if you’re lucky). Most of you will be in general education classes that are required of every student who enters the university.

Generally, these include English Composition; a lab science, likely Chemistry or Biology; a math course like College Algebra or Pre-Calculus; and a foreign language. I’m sure your advisors told you to get all of these credits done as quickly as possible since they’re the prerequisites for tons of other classes you’ll need later—and they aren’t wrong.

The problem is that no one tells you that these courses are all designed to be some of the most difficult classes you’ll take while you’re in college. 90% of the students in these classes are going to be freshman in their first semester of college. So why are these classes so much more difficult, and why is the university actively trying to get you to drop out?

When you enroll and accept admission to your prospective future college, the university lets in x number of students for their incoming freshman class. Another chunk of students get put on a waitlist. If any of the already enrolled students decide to attend another university, the waitlist students get pulled up into the freshman class first. Or if any students decide to drop out.

Now let’s be completely transparent here: colleges want the students who are going to give them money. They know that a certain chunk of the students who they admitted and accepted enrollment will inevitably drop out, and that’s tuition money they’ll never see. Instead of having that spot empty, they want to fill it with another student ready to pay tuition. The faster they get students who aren’t serious to drop, they faster they get another tuition check. And thus, the drop class was born.

So what can you do to make sure you’re not one of the victims of a drop class?

Stay on top of the work!

Remember, these classes are designed to cause you stress and make you feel like you won’t be able to survive college, and it’s totally normal to feel like that! Time management is a huge part of college, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get the work assigned outside of class done. And don’t be afraid to ask your professor/TA/friend for help if you need it. The worst thing to do is fall behind—it’s tough to get back on top of things once you start slipping.

Panicking that college is going to be very different to high school? Here’s the biggest differences between high school and college.

We know it can be super overwhelming going to college, but it’s important to be real and know some of the trade secrets. We believe in you, so come August, get ready to crush your schedule and prove to the university that you’re here to stay!

Want more advice on starting college? Get all the info you need right here on starting school.