College can be a big step up from high school for many people and many people find college to be difficult.

This post will show you a number of reasons that college is hard for some people and how it can be made to be easier.

So, why is college so hard for some people? A lack of studying throughout the semester, planning, keeping track of assignments, discipline and partying too often are common causes that people will do poorly in college.

There are actually a number of reasons that a student might find college to be hard and there are a number of things that can be done to make it easier.

Why college is so hard for some people

Below, I will mention a number of reasons that students will often struggle with college and what can be done about it.

They don’t study throughout the semester

One of the main reasons that students will find college to be hard is that they do not study throughout the semester.

In college, a lot of the weighting is placed on the midterm exams and the final and only a small weighting is given to homework. This is not like high school where a higher weighting will usually be given to assignments and homework.

This means that, in order to do well, in college it is necessary to study throughout the semester since it will be necessary to be able to recall the information easily in the exams.

In addition, a large weighting is usually placed on the final exams, they usually cover the entire semester and they will all happen during the same week for every class. This means that it is not sufficient to just wait until the end of the semester to start studying since there will be too much material to cover.

Also, the material covered in college will usually be a lot more advanced than the material covered in high school classes. This means that if someone does exactly what they did in high school then it will not go as well for them when they are in college.

They don’t keep track of assignments

In college, there will be a lot less hand-holding and it will be expected of you to keep track of everything yourself. Professors will not always remind you of upcoming exams and homework and if you miss them then it will be on you.

Students that do poorly don’t usually take the time, at the start of the semester, to plan out their schedule for the semester. This usually results in them missing assignments and having lower grades as a result.

They spend too much time partying

There will, usually, be many more opportunities to party and to go to social events in college. Students that find college to be hard will often be going to these events throughout the semester.

This will often cause them to do worse in classes because they won’t have studied enough, they will feel tired a lot causing them to struggle to concentrate and they will often miss assignments.

Poorly structuring their class schedule

In college, you choose the major that you want to study which defines the set of classes that you will need to take in order to graduate. Many of these classes will be required but many will be called “electives” that you can choose from. As long as classes are not in a sequence you can also take the classes in any order that you like.

Students that struggle in college will often not plan their degree or semesters out very well. In any major, there will be classes that are more difficult than others and many of the classes will be easier if you have already taken certain other classes even if they’re not in a sequence.

Taking the time to decide on an optimal sequence of classes to take, for your degree, will usually be very helpful. By doing things you will be able to ensure that you have all of the prerequisite knowledge for the more difficult classes before taking them and you can avoid taking multiple difficult classes in the same semester. You will likely find that it will be a lot easier to plan the degree with your academic advisor.

Additionally, when scheduling classes, you will usually find that the classes that are more desirable will fill up quickly. Students that have a hard time, in college, will often schedule their classes too late. This will often cause them to take classes at times that are not ideal for them, they might not be able to take a class that they wanted to and they might have to schedule multiple difficult classes in the same semester.

Not making use of the resources at the university

There will usually be many resources that can be made use of at any university.

Students that do poorly will, often, not seek help or make full use of the university’s resources when they are struggling. This will often cause them to struggle when they really didn’t need to.

In any class, the professor will usually have office hours where you can go and get help from them when you need it. Students that struggle will often go the entire semester without seeing their professor. When you get stuck in a class one of the first things that you should consider is going to see the professor about what your stuck on.

The university will also usually have a number of other resources such as a library with computers and printers that you can use, there will be multiple student advisors that you can see and there will often be teaching assistants that you can see as well. Students that do poorly don’t usually make use of these resources.

They don’t prepare well for finals

Final exams will usually account for a large percentage of the final grade for the class. Students that struggle in college will not usually prepare for final exams well.

Since final exams will all come at around the same time for every class and they will usually be comprehensive it is not enough to wait to study until the end of the semester.

In order to do well on finals, it will often be necessary to start to revise the class material weeks in advance and studying throughout the semester will make things significantly easier.

They picked the wrong major for them

One of the main advantages that college has over high school is that you can choose the set of classes that you will be taking by picking your major.

Students that have a hard time in college will also often pick a major that isn’t really what they thought that it would be and it causes them to become demotivated. This can be avoided by researching the major as much as possible beforehand.

They picked the wrong college for them

Another thing to consider is that the culture at colleges can vary a lot.

The size of the student body, location, acceptance rate and type of college can all have a large impact on the culture that the college has. A student that does poorly in college will often pick a college that isn’t really a good fit for them and this can cause them to become demotivated and to study less than would be ideal.

They schedule their classes too late

Scheduling classes too late can have a number of bad consequences. If you wait too long to schedule your classes then you might find that the classes that you want get taken. This can cause you to have to take classes at times that you don’t like or having to take different classes entirely.

The main problem with waiting too long to schedule classes is that the classes with the better professors will get filled up too quickly. This will cause you to have to take a class with a professor that is more difficult or that you don’t want.

You can avoid this by scheduling your classes early and using the website to find professors that other students liked.


I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.