How Hard is College?

For any current college students (or former students who remember their college years), how many hours during the week do you dedicate to studying/doing homework for each class?

Also, as a side question, do you feel as though college has gotten easier or harder over the last, say, 10 years, with all the advancements and all?

Comments (74)

Aug 28, 2018

not hard, very few hours, state school U, finance major

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Aug 28, 2018

What year are you?

Aug 28, 2018

2nd year at school, junior based on credit hours

Aug 28, 2018

Can I ask what classes you're taking?

Funniest
Aug 28, 2018

no you can't ask

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Aug 28, 2018

If you aren't yet in college, major in anything you can think of that isn't accounting.

Perhaps not basket-weaving either, but you get the picture. Engineering, math, econ, natural sciences. Pick something you care about.

Aug 28, 2018

Why not accounting?

Aug 28, 2018

Accounting is a corporate record-keeping cookbook. Memorize a fuck ton of rules that you play around with using algebra. It requires less critical thinking and doesn't teach you a very lucrative skill. You won't have trouble finding a job, but you will have trouble finding your way to high-earning roles unless you go into Big 4 and keep moving up, or unless you're very self-motivated and can keep yourself productive beyond your occupation.

This is summarizing a lot - there are opportunities everywhere and accounting skills are key in business, but I just think that the development opportunities in other majors are too much to pass up. You could major in math or stats with a CS double major or minor and pursue data science, you could be a finance major and party through school while still getting a job that pays as much as your miserable accounting buddies and that likely has better earning potential, you could major in electrical engineering or physics and actually do something interesting. Accounting is just an unnecessary hedge.

I knew a lot of accounting kids when I was in college, and it is the single most boring group of people I ever met. Small-minded, low-risk, rigid, lacking in vision - these are all the words I'd use to describe them. If you're rich enough to attend school in America, there's a high probability you don't need to study accounting to make college worthwhile. This is assuming you're going for a 4-year program; if you come from different circumstances or if you're attending community college or if you live in a small town / city and intend to stay there, accounting can be fine as other fields might leave you unemployed. But if you intend to do the "college thing" by going out of town, traveling, moving after college, yada yada, please don't major in accounting.

Follow this advice and you'll also get laid more. I guarantee that much.

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Aug 28, 2018

A further point I'd like to make is that you will keep learning after you finish school (at least you should). Learning doesn't end, and the best professionals in any field will corroborate that opinion. I've done a data science boot camp, taken the CFA exams, I've taught myself programming languages and computer science concepts that I use at work every day, stochastic calculus, a range of statistical concepts used in data science and that I need to apply when developing deep learning models, etc. etc. The list goes on. Accounting doesn't prepare you very well to do this - again, it's a cookbook of business rules. Do something that gets you that critical thinking edge. You will never regret it.

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Aug 28, 2018

Why Econ?

Aug 30, 2018

A lot of people have no idea what economics is, and a lot of economists are too busy preaching about the topic and extolling its virtues to be candid about what it is, so you may not hear what I'm about to say too often. Economics turns you into a statistician; you learn to look at data, interpret what's going on, and apply statistical methods to figure out what the data implies about other variables.

You learn to perform a variety of time series forecasting methods, you pick up some great knowledge of mathematics while you do as you'll need calculus for advanced forecasting models, you will learn at least 1 statistical programming language (usually Matlab but increasingly R and Python), and you will be a great candidate for a variety of jobs in the business world, as well as making yourself a great candidate for research if that's your leaning.

In my opinion, economics is the best topic to study for someone in undergrad who is interested in business. It requires you to be motivated about your career and to have a level head on your shoulders, but the rewards are immense. You can learn about securities elsewhere (company training, CFA, self study), and unless you're an accountant you don't need ultra-deep knowledge of the topic, but economics is something that is applicable everywhere and taught almost nowhere. If I could go back and do it again, I'd have done an econ PhD right after undergrad and gone into quant finance that way.

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Aug 28, 2018

Not as hard as you think, but still busy. Unlike high school, you will have tons of free time. It's all about budgeting your time correctly i.e. time management skills. Having fun, but also getting your school work done.

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Aug 28, 2018

Exactly. Time management.

Don't drink bud lights and play NBA2k until 4am the night before an important exam.

You'll be fine.

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  • ij29824DE
  •  Aug 28, 2018

In high school, the only question I asked about college was: "How can I get into a good college?"

If I couldn't get into a college I was satisfied with, I wouldn't be happy. Not with anything. There would be a constant unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and overall sense of failure looming over me for the rest of my life. The first 18 years of my life, wasted and down the drain.

Worrying about classes, extracurriculars, idealistic "college life," college laptops, "finding the right match" - all bullshit if the rank/name of your college is subpar.

It may not bother you third-tier state school graduates, but it sure would bother me. Especially seeing firsthand the type of shit that comes out of lower quality institutions: liberals of all types, drug addicts, idiots with no decision-making capabilities (including my mom), etc.

I just couldn't live with it. To all high school students, hopefully you feel this urgency.

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Most Helpful
Aug 28, 2018

This is a stupid comment and no one should take to heart what this guy says. If you determine your self worth by the "prestige" of your college, you're fucking pathetic. After you get a job, most people don't give a flying fuck where you went to undergrad, and the only people who do are the same types of insecure fucks as whoever made this comment. Plenty of people can do just fine coming out of "lower quality institutions" if they play their cards right. Not saying you shouldn't aim high, but there's so much more to who succeeds in life than just the name of your college.

Prestige whores like this guy make this site unbearable sometimes.

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  • ij29824DE
  •  Aug 28, 2018

"After you get a job, most people don't give a flying fuck where you went to undergrad, and the only people who do are the same types of insecure fucks as whoever made this comment."

Must all state school grads make this remark? Yes, we understand that work experience is important, but education is just as crucial. One should take pride in the efforts sacrificed during those four years, not simply shove their diploma in the bin.

Call me insecure, but people like you who continue to push the "school/GPA doesn't matter, personality and experience does" are just as insecure. Having to always fall back on calling anyone a "prestige whore" simply because they decided to actually give a shit in high school and not screw around - sounds like insecurity to me.

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Aug 29, 2018

"liberals of all types" OH THE HORROR

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Aug 29, 2018
michigan10483:

Especially seeing firsthand the type of shit that comes out of lower quality institutions: liberals of all types, drug addicts, idiots with no decision-making capabilities (including my mom), etc

Correct there are absolutely no liberals or drug users at Harvard and Stanford LMAO

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  • ij29824DE
  •  Aug 30, 2018

Drug addicts*, not drug users, and if you read some of my previous posts you'll know that I have no problem with liberals, only the SJW/socialist minority who are only voting for Bernie because they make less than 60k a year.

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Aug 30, 2018

Aren't the Harvard/Stanford types the ones the deep right wing harp on about being "the coastal elites?" I'm so confused.

Aug 30, 2018

Your dislike of public colleges, liberals, and drug users is pretty ironic coming from someone who attends a public college where more students identify as liberals than identify as any other political leaning with a pretty big party scene and an increasing amount of drug users.

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Aug 31, 2018

These are the types of posts I come here for.

Aug 31, 2018

The path to hell is paved with Ivy League degrees.

Aug 29, 2018

Highly dependent on what you choose to take on in college.

"one for the money two for the better green 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine" - M.F. Doom

Aug 29, 2018

College can be easy from my experience interacting with humanities majors, but I can only talk about finance in depth. Your first two years should be a breeze, but junior and senior years could be tougher depending on how rigorous your high school experience was.

I wouldn't say finance is necessarily easy. Like most things in life, the answer is that it depends, especially on the following variables in no particular order, imo.

1) Course level
2) Academic Professor vs. One with Real World Experience (academic/pure research ones are going to be harder)
3) Concentration (e.g., quant finance vs. corporate finance)
4) Grading scale
5) School

Edit: For the question about hours, about 20 hours a week on average should be enough for you to do well, meaning 3.5 GPA or above. Double that around normal exam times and finals.

Aug 29, 2018

Currently in my last semester at a big SEC school, so maybe this will help...

Freshmen Year - Fraternity study hall made me study a lot, I'd say 20-30 a week.

Sophomore Year - Went out to the bars a lot, had fun. 15-20 a week.

Junior Year - Got super serious about my studying, in the library till midnight at least every night, probably 30+ a week

Senior Year - Figured out how to study, classes got easier...10-15

On the whole, college is easy in the business school. Join a fraternity, join some finance clubs, talk to your professors and become their friends. Best of luck.

Aug 29, 2018

What major are you?

Aug 29, 2018

Finance/Econ double major 3.9+ GPA

Sep 1, 2018

Hey I am currently a sophomore. I have not really learned how to study properly. If you can PM some resources you used or some general advice I would be very thankful.

Aug 29, 2018

Depends on workload, level of rigor, and how motivated you are. It's such a wide and complex topic, with too many variables...but I can use my own experience.

I picked a relatively hard major, Electrical Engineering, mostly because I enjoyed the subject. Our class average was under 3.0, and we did not have a single 4.0 student...and neither did the classes above or under us. Our best student (know him personally) had around 3.7-3.8, and is now a Ph.D at a leading research University.

For me, the hard part was the workload. There's always something due the next few days, and you're always stuck with some problem, bug, or time-consuming thing. That's at least how I remember Engineering.

Business School was a breeze, IMO. The types of problems are very different, and it's more case-oriented.

Now, if you're goal is to maximize GPA in order to land a finance job, you can strategically pick the "easiest" classes. At the end of the day, the GPA is nothing more than a filter to reduce the amount of applications.

Also: If you can, travel abroad one semester. Join some clubs, be social.

Aug 29, 2018

For the prestige thing...it's not as important as it used to be. Banks, Consulting Businesses, Tech, Law firms, etc. are all hiring more people from "less" prestigious schools these days.

Yes, you will still find lots of firms that put a great value on the correct pedigree, but we're not in the 50's anymore. And as long as you kick ass at undergrad, you land a good job, and from there go to some prestigious B-School.

The real value in going to some top N school is the on-campus recruitment, alumni network, and your fellow classmates. I went to a non-target school for undergrad, and then top B-School.. What you notice immediately is the industry presence on campus, from all the leading / big firms.

During undergrad, we'd be lucky if any of the Big 4 would bother to show up, or the middle-office guys from some banks. Maybe Microsoft or some similar tech firm would show up, too. But it would mostly be a sea of state employers, regional companies, and such.

At B-school most leading firms would be lined up, multiple times a year. They'd have events, throw dinners, and what not. And most (everyone) have worked at various places, so there's always someone that knows someone. You basically pay for the networking and opportunities.

But, in the past years tech and startups have become more hot, so many banks and consulting firms have started broadening their horizon. They've realize that their old "gold standard" in prestige is not worth what it used to be, and many bright kids do not give two shits about such constructed systems.

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Aug 30, 2018
tackytech:

so many banks and consulting firms have started broadening their horizon. They've realize that their old "gold standard" in prestige is not worth what it used to be, and many bright kids do not give two shits about such constructed systems.

This sounds nice, and all but have you actually taken a look at the recruiting schedules for a lot of these high-finance roles?

+1 though.

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Aug 30, 2018

Not in college anymore. Graduated undergrad 2014, grad 2016.

I took 15-18 hours a semester and worked 40 hours / week. I got paid to be a Study Hall Monitor and a IT Lab Manager... both let me finish my homework while getting paid and making $. Got to watch Netflix afterward too... College has gotten easier with the internet for sure.

BE STRATEGIC WITH YOUR TIME.

Aug 30, 2018

C's get degrees!!

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Aug 30, 2018

Golden rule is 1-1.5hrs/class outside of lectures. I usually spend 7-10hrs a week reading, 5-7hrs on hw/case studies/models/etc., and 1-3hrs meeting with groups. Honestly if you attend lectures you can cut down your study time by at least 50%. That being said, I also work part-time, mentor a couple guys/girls, volunteer, etc. -- you get the picture.

A safe bet is to start off with 2hrs/course outside of lecture and adjust as you see fit.

Aug 31, 2018

College, to me and I suspect many others feel the same, was the opportunity of a lifetime to go balls to the wall and let all the crazy out before becoming a productive member of society. But, I also recognized that academics are very important when it comes to getting a job so I went in with a plan to make sure neither suffered.

Here are some of the key points of my plan:
1. I chose a major in which the material came naturally to me (and no, it wasn't art history). This means if you suck at chemistry you have no business being pre-med or if you suck at math you should not pursue an engineering major.
2. I planned my class schedule as early as possible for each semester/year. My general approach was to have classes Monday - Wednesday only with at least 60 minutes between each class, preferably 90 minutes. Sometimes I had to schedule one single class on Thursdays but when I did that it was prob a 10am class and done with the work by noon max. This schedule is not easy to get because you need to be proactive. I was one of the first people online at midnight each semester when the class registration system opened up and I got my preferred class schedule 99.9% of the time.
3. The 90 minute gap between classes was because after each class I would take myself to a quiet place (like the movie but less death) and review the material from the class I just attended and made my notes while the material was still fresh. While people were cramming till 4am for their mid-terms and finals I went to bed early and got a full 8 hours of sleep on test day.
4. Monday - Wednesday (sometime Thursday till noon) I focused primarily on academics and making sure my work and studying was being done. Thursday afternoon through Sunday night was party central where books and studying were persona non-grata.
5. A very healthy social life was non-negotiable for me so this process allowed me the time to hang with the degenerates who only cared about partying (but had a 2.0 or worse GPA) and still graduate with a 4.0 and get a good job afterward.

So to answer you question, college can be very easy or very hard. It all depends on the approach you take. Good luck.

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Aug 31, 2018

Damn you graduated with a 4.0?

Aug 31, 2018

Yep. It came as a shock to all my friends, especially my suite mate who never went out and was always in studying to get his 4.0 so imagine his surprise when I, a party boy, was right there besides him with high honors. The only crazy traditional college experience I didn't get was greek life and still managed to pull it off.

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Aug 31, 2018

College is the hardest thing in the world. Ask Bill Gates, he dropped out.

fedora

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Aug 31, 2018

Really hard. But I was an engineering major at a top 10 engineering program. It felt like there was always more work I could be doing or some looming 60 hour project. Additionally my school had preliminary exams instead of midterms so that meant as an engineering major taking 5 classes a semester with 3 exams per class I usually had 15 exams randomly sprinkled throughout the semester.

Aug 31, 2018

I go to Princeton and it's been really hard as a liberal arts major. All juniors in every department have a 35-45 paper due in the fall, then another 35-45 page paper due in the Spring, called our Junior Papers. And we all have to complete a thesis (normally 60-100 pages long and factors into your GPA. Sophomore year, I would go out every Thursday and Saturday and have some fun too, but I would pull at least one all-nighter and a few 4AMers a month. Freshman year, there's a required writing seminar for all majors of like 12-15 people and only 3-4 people were allowed to receive A-range grades.

I went to a hard high school too, so I was really confident going in, and it's still been pretty rough. My GPA is only a 3.64 too (average is around 3.3 or 3.4).. So I'm not even killing it either, feel like I'm doing just well enough to make sure I get some kind of decent job.

Aug 31, 2018

Not sure if the last paragraph is a twisted sense of humor, or you're serious.

3.6 at princeton leading to "some kind of decent job"...

I'll let the kid from Alabama state know about how his future prospects are homelessness

I think- therefore I fuck

Oct 8, 2018
MajorKey:

I go to Princeton and it's been really hard as a liberal arts major. All juniors in every department have a 35-45 paper due in the fall, then another 35-45 page paper due in the Spring, called our Junior Papers. And we all have to complete a thesis (normally 60-100 pages long and factors into your GPA. Sophomore year, I would go out every Thursday and Saturday and have some fun too, but I would pull at least one all-nighter and a few 4AMers a month. Freshman year, there's a required writing seminar for all majors of like 12-15 people and only 3-4 people were allowed to receive A-range grades.

I went to a hard high school too, so I was really confident going in, and it's still been pretty rough. My GPA is only a 3.64 too (average is around 3.3 or 3.4).. So I'm not even killing it either, feel like I'm doing just well enough to make sure I get some kind of decent job.

What major?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Aug 31, 2018

Target, undergrad b-school, have a couple fields of study but the primary one is finance:

When I first started college, probably 25-30 hours a week or so dedicated to homework. I spent a lot more time working on club activities, actually. Developed a lot of hubris because I thought getting good grades was really easy. Thereafter, I barely went to class, mostly due to that aforementioned hubris. Spent a ludicrous amount of time of pitch competitions, and my time usage there was incredibly inefficient to boot. Illusion of school being easy was broken.

The time since has been pretty chill, but every time midterm season hits, I've got my nose to the grindstone. I think your experience will vary significantly based on what you study (STEM is harder than finance, which is harder than liberal arts in most cases) and where you study (target school difficulty is on a completely different level than non-target school difficulty, generally speaking -- the exception would be for those targets that have really egregious grade inflation).

Oct 8, 2018

High GPA.

Oct 8, 2018

They will ask for your GPA before they comb through the courses on your transcript.
Will there be a material difference in your GPA by taking the 100 vs 200 level course?
If an interviewer asks for your GPA and it's strong they will probably not ask if you took difficult courses. If your GPA is weak and you try to justify it by saying you took difficult courses that doesn't necessarily help your case. There will be candidates - applying for the same job - with high GPAs, who took difficult courses.

If if don't make dollars, it don't make sense.

Oct 8, 2018

Take the classes that get you the best GPA. They won't know the the class by class differences and don't look at your transcript all that closely except to verify GPA, Major, Ect.

Oct 8, 2018

You won't be able to recall very much you learned from said " more difficult" class in about 6 months time anyways

Oct 8, 2018

i disagree with bobbymac. If you are an engineering/math/physics student it is universally known that these courses are about 100x more challenging than finance and business degrees. I think if you take challenging courses and are challenging yourself with other EC's then it is absolutely justifiable.

Oct 8, 2018

Right, thanks for the tips; I'll go with the easier course. dipset, I'm basically between an easier engineering course/possibly higher GPA and harder engineering course/possibly lower GPA, ceterus paribus, so it's not like I'd be taking women's studies 101.

Oct 8, 2018

Right, thanks for the tips; I'll go with the easier course. dipset, I'm basically between an easier engineering course/possibly higher GPA and harder engineering course/possibly lower GPA, ceterus paribus, so it's not like I'd be taking women's studies 101.

Oct 8, 2018

Low GPA will hurt you in getting an interview during school (internship or full time). HR is lazy, so they just screen applicants based on GPA, and for example, may toss out anyone under a 3.5. Then in the interview, they're surely going to ask you about it as well. Why should the take a well-rounded, social electrical engineer with a 3.0 gpa when they have hundreds of business majors in the same boat with 3.6+ GPAs? They're also going to doubt your interest in finance, since you were an engineering major. The business majors have also done all their excel modeling courses (yet they continue to find the "if" statement very challenging) and can do all the fancy animations in powerpoint.
Basically, you're screwed as an engineer no matter what. Occasionally you'll get an interviewer who finds your field interesting, and if you can keep him interested, you'll go on to the next round.
If you do manage to get a job, I think you'll be set. You'll probably have a bit steeper learning curve then the business majors, but the problem solving and analytical skillset picked up from an engineering degree will blow people away. That being said, you'll probably be a functionary for at least the first two years.

Oct 8, 2018

Really? That's completely different from everything else I've heard. I've taken/will be taking lots of finance courses as well, so maybe that would make up for the interest in finance part.

Oct 8, 2018

If you load up with finance courses, that will be a good way to answer the "are you even interested in finance?" question. They'll also boost your GPA up. If you're engineering, I don't think they'll care too much about your in-major GPA.

Oct 8, 2018

Classes that you enjoy and classes where you can get up a high GPA. Everyone is any analyst program goes through the same training, regardless of their course load. 95% of the things I know about finance was learned on the job. I didn't remember shit from corporate finance.

Taking a few technical classes here and there, but having a unique degree will show intellectual curiosity.

Oct 8, 2018

High GPA, thats how HR will compare your resume with that of other candidates.

Aug 31, 2018

Apparently it significantly depends on ones major. I majored in electrical engineering and had to take a minimum of 15 hours/semester in order to stay in the "old curriculum". Had I failed a class I'd have been bumped back a year. Regardless, I had to work my ass off. Very difficult.

Perhaps things have changed a lot in 20 years. I know that my class started out with 63 students and graduated 13. The rest dropped out, moved to a different major or failed a class and was held back a year. I averaged 4 hours of study outside of class per each hour in class, but that is what I required to retain all of the info. I've always had great jobs with very good pay, including deferred comp, so I believe I got my bang for the buck.

Sep 2, 2018
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Oct 3, 2018
Oct 4, 2018