College vs. High School | MVCC | Mohawk Valley Community College
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What to Expect at College

Each class, professor, and student are unique here is some general information about some of the signature of academics at college to give you an idea of what you might experience.

Personal Freedom

  • Students will be faced with a large number of unfamiliar moral and ethical decisions
  • Students must balance responsibilities and set priorities on their own
  • Students are old enough to take responsibility for what they do and don’t do
  • Students take responsibility for the consequences of decisions they make
  • Students must regularly check their email to be informed about college happenings and deadlines


  • Class times vary throughout the day and evening, and students spend 12 to 16 hours each week in class
  • The academic year is divided into two separate 15-week semesters
  • Students develop their own schedules with suggestions from their academic advisors
  • Professors will always take attendance even if it doesn’t count in your final grade
  • Students need to budget substantial funds for textbooks (approximately $600 each semester)
  • Students are expected to know graduation requirements which are complex and vary from major to major


  • May not always check completed homework but assume students do the work
  • Expect students to initiate contact if they need assistance
  • Expect and want students to attend their scheduled office hours
  • Expect students to get notes from classmates if they are absent
  • Expect students to read, save and consult the course SYLLABUS
  • Have their own unique policies for classes and grading


  • Study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour in class
  • Review class notes and text material regularly
  • Understand that substantial amounts of reading and writing may not be directly addressed in class
  • Free tutoring is available to help you succeed.


  • Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material
  • Students, not the professor, need to organize the material to prepare for the test
  • A particular course may have only 2 or 3 tests a semester
  • Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, students need to request them
  • Professors usually schedule tests without regard to the demands of other courses or outside activities


  • Grades may not be provided for all assigned work
  • Grades on tests and major papers usually provide most of the course grade
  • Extra-credit projects cannot, generally speaking, be used to raise a grade in a college course
  • The first test lets students know what is expected and also may account for a substantial part of the course grade
  • Students are encouraged to visit the Learning Center if they receive low grades early in the semester
  • Students may graduate only if their average meets the college standard - typically a 2.0 or C