Whether you’re a senior or a soon-to-be freshman, it seems like there are always questions to be answered about college life. In need of some housing and studying FAQs?
Here are some frequently asked questions by college students on a variety of topics: studying tips, on-campus vs. off-campus student housing, outside reading, and the difference between colleges and universities.
1. On-campus housing vs. off-campus?
Advantages of on-campus housing: “I met lots of interesting people, and I felt very much entrenched in my campus community. I felt like I was in the center of everything. So much was always going on just a few steps from my room,” said P. Snyder in “The Debate Between On Campus/Off Campus Housing & How It Affects You,” on College Matchmaker, October 10, 2013. Disadvantages: too much partying, not enough studying; cramped living space; less privacy than your own apartment; less security.
Advantages of off-campus living: “Living off campus provides students freedom and independence that some students really like. There are fewer rules, you may have more space, and a big plus to many is having a real kitchen so you can really cook,” said Snyder. Disadvantages are paying rent, paying for meals, commuting to classes, and no on-campus social life.
2. How much time should I spend studying?
For every one hour of lecture per week, plan to study for about two hours per week. If you have five courses per week, at three hours per week of lecture for each class, that’s 30 hours per week of studying. In “Top 10 Secrets of College Success” in U.S. News August 17, 2010, Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman add that studying means really studying: “Above all, don’t count study-related activities as actual studying: copying over your notes, getting the e-readings, listening to the lecture again, and ‘getting acquainted’ with your study group are all fine activities, but they don’t count as studying.”
3. Should I do outside reading?
There will be plenty to keep you busy during school: classes, part-time work, sports, etc. But reading books, magazines, reports and blogs outside the assigned reading can be a benefit. Extra reading improves your vocabulary and communication skills, makes you a better writer, aids in exploring your passions, and helps you hone in on your specialties. In “The Truth About Outside Reading: Why It’s Important and What to Read,” posted December 17, 2014, in Huffington Post, Kat Cohen explained: “For example, a student interested in economics or finance can read books, blogs and niche publications to better understand the field and its core concepts. This knowledge can then be used in extracurricular activities, such as functioning as the treasurer for the entrepreneur club or organizing a fundraiser for another student organization.”
4. What is the difference between a college and university?
Many people use the terms interchangeably, but there are official definitions of each. And various countries define the terms differently. In the U.S., a college consists of different academic departments (math, social science, liberal arts, business, etc.) that offer four-year bachelor’s degrees. Community colleges offer two-year degrees. Colleges tend to be smaller than universities, but not always. A university is a collection of colleges: for example, a university would have separate buildings for “College of Education,” or a “Business College,” etc.
There are benefits to each. “Colleges tend to be smaller, with smaller class sizes, and students receive more personal attention from faculty,” noted Becker College. Larger universities offer post-graduate master’s and Ph.D. degrees, research institutions on campus and distinct colleges (College of Architecture, College of Engineering, etc.) with classes, labs and lectures concentrated in those areas. Universities offer a bigger variety of courses.