My very first month at PLU is officially done, and I am starting to see the differences between a community college in the US and a university. If you're, just like me, a transfer student, knowing about these differences can really help you to get prepared for the life after community college.
Expectation from professors
One of the first things I noticed in my very first university class, communication 101, was the difference in expectations at university compared to community college. Teachers expect you to go to club meetings, and expect you to go to performances on campus. Besides those expectations, they expect you to do a lot more readings, and to actually have prepared them before class started. I was amazed by the amount of input that was given from my classmates during class discussions.
Type of assignments
A lot of readings is required, which is not much different from community college, but besides readings from a textbook, I've been assigned to read a book. YES, A REAL BOOK! We're challenged to read at least one book that is written by someone working in the vocation we would like to pursue a degree in about the work they are doing. This is mainly to make you think of what you're doing and to show future employers that you're enriching yourself to think different. I also got a research assignment with a real life situation. I need to observe a local pizza company and write a paper about what they can do to increase their sales. All these assignments help you prepare for the real life world.
It's no longer about what school you could transfer to, but about how to prepare for your career
The most significant point I've noticed is the difference in focus of education. Every class reminds you that what you're learning is for a future career. What internship are you going to do? What is your final research about? What can you do now to make employers see you're interested in their company? I like this shift of focus a lot because it makes me really aware of what lies in front of me and it really helps me shape an idea of my future career. My teachers keep telling us to aim high, and have high standards to increase the chances to reach the level you want to be at.
It's hard to be an outstanding student
Whatever you've done at Community College doesn't matter anymore. During my time at my Community College, I was in charge of a club, worked two on campus jobs and was very well known over campus. I started here from nothing again, which is really different from what I'm used to. It will take a while again to be back at a well known level again, especially because juggling classes, the new environment and making friends can be hard. But, don't give up on trying.
Even though it is hard to start as a transfer student, a good old "transfer shock" will happen anywhere you go. The only thing you can do about it is to get out there and try to meet new people.