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High School vs University?

A photo of iG iG
Hello,

I was just wondering how much high school marks really do change when you are in University? Teachers seem to exaggerate these kinds of things saying marks drop 20%. I find myself to be a hard working individual, and am currently sitting at approximately 87% (got my acceptance early, started slacking a little :p). I am doing Biology at Waterloo next year.

Any help from current University students would be great!
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A photo of inthemaking inthemaking
It doesn't have to change a lot, I think it's exaggerated when people say you'll drop 15% or whatever. I had a mid-high 90s average in high school and I have a high 80s-low 90s average right now (3rd year). My friend is doing chem eng at Waterloo (and engineering is notorious for giving people terrible GPAs), she was a low-mid 90s student in high school and is a mid 80s student now. So if an engineering student can pull that off, most people will be fine.

Obviously it'll depend on how much work you put in though, it's usually when people slack off in uni (no parents/teachers to tell you to do your homework) because they don't have self-discipline that you see a drastic drop in average.
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A photo of mynameismattgotmlgo mynameismattgotmlgo
The average person's average drops by about 15-20%. The average entering average for most bio programs is about 85%. Class averages in first-year science courses are typically about 65-70%. So, yes, a 15-20% drop is accurate and not exaggerated. However, and again, that drop would be what you'd expect as an average student.

In my experience, the average student in my program was not as intelligent or, more importantly, as motivated to do well as I was. It shouldn't be a big surprise, then, that my average only dropped 2% from grade 12 to first year.

If you're a slacker in high school and somehow pull off a good enough average to get into university, and you don't change your slacker-ness by the time you get into university (a lot of slackers and quite a few non-slackers take advantage of the freedom that comes with not having a teacher who cares [to some extent] about your performance and not having your parents breathing down your neck and, thus, slack more), then your marks probably will drop by even more than 15-20%. If you do well in high school because you really want to do well and therefore commit a lot of time to your studies, and you keep up that same work ethic when you get into university, then your average will probably not drop as much as 15%.

Your success in university has a lot to do with how much effort you are willing to put into your studies. Strongly related to this is how ambitious you are; not quite as strongly related is how able you are to remain on-task and focused, how good your memory is, and how intelligent you are (specifically, how good you are at knowing the difference BETWEEN important material that likely will be tested and thus that you should memorize AND unimportant material that doesn't necessarily need to be memorized, as well as how good you are at making connections). Basically, it's quite complex.

Also, if you merely expect your marks to drop 15-20%, then your marks are more likely to drop 15-20% (a phenomena psychologists call a "self-fulfilling prophecy"). This is probably actually a major problem for most people. They don't do so well on their first set of university midterms (simply because they don't know what to expect, not at all because they are slackers or not smart), but they simply pass off their poor performance (relative to what they were used to in high school) as being acceptable because "they're in university and, therefore, their marks should drop." They, thus, end up accepting a 65-70% average, even if they are capable of being 80-90% average students.

So, in sum, if you're a motivated person who doesn't have much difficulty learning science, then don't expect your marks to drop considerably - they probably won't.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Your posts are always awesome.^ Thanks for all the info
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