Myths About Your College Professors Your High School Teachers Told You

“Your Professor will assign WAY more work than we do” 

You may think college means endless all-nighters and unreasonable expectations. This is hardly true. With the ability to make your own schedule, breaks in between classes, and an academic atmosphere, you may actually find yourself with more free time than you ever had in high school! Especially if you were balancing multiple AP classes along with extracurricular activities;  readings, papers, research projects and presentations will be no-sweat. Okay, only a little sweat, but you can handle it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you can do it after class if you’re nervous to do it in front of other people.


“No one in college will take late work” 

While this one depends on the professor, most are more than willing to work with students if you are struggling on an assignment. All professors are required to hold office hours, and many will allow you to show them a first draft for feedback. Some even build into their syllabus one extension a semester. Don’t make a habit of turning in work late, but professors know you’re human. One late paper won’t make you fail a class.


“Your professor doesn’t care if you fail, it’s all on you” 

While it’s true that classwork and assignments are your responsibilities in college, that doesn’t mean your professors are out to get you. Most are available if you ask, even outside of scheduled office hours. At Mary Wash, professors are invested in you as a student and as a person. Many will try their best to help you with internship or job prospects if they can!


“Your professor expects you to know MLA perfectly for your papers” 

Memorized the most recent MLA formatting guide in prep for freshman year? That’s great if you’re an English major. Otherwise, the type of format for your paper will depend on your course and the professor’s preference. APA and Chicago style are just as common. Don’t worry too much about it, there’s a generator for that, and eager librarians who would be happy to help.


“Attendance isn’t mandatory, it’s up to you to show up” 

Most classes at Mary Washington professors do take attendance, and if you don’t show up, you may get a text or email from your professor checking in. Even if they don’t take attendance every day, since our courses are often discussion based, multiple days of missing class can seriously hurt your participation grade. You can’t talk in class if you’re still in bed!

“Your professor will be your best friend”

This is on the other end of the spectrum. You may have heard from your cool English teacher about how cool your English professor will be. While we do have a number of friendly professors that mentor students, that doesn’t mean you should act like they’re one of your pals. Make sure to listen closely to your professor’s wishes on the first day of classes for how they would like to be addressed, and what their boundaries are in and outside of class. Some will be okay with 2am texts that say “Colin please, this paper is killing me. HELP”. Others will want 48 hours notice and an email addressed “Hi Dr”. Listen and follow their rules as best you can. Remember, they are there to teach you, so show them a little respect. Maybe wait until you graduate to follow them on twitter…


Don’t be scared high school seniors, most of the changes from high school to college are for the best.

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