5 Common Reasons for the First Year Grade Drop


While entering university can be a fun and exciting time, it also presents many challenges that can often lead to a first year grade drop. The following are five common factors that may affect your performance as a student during your first year in university.

5 Common Reasons for the First Year Grade Drop

1. Increased Difficulty in Courses

The primary reason why most student see their marks drop during their first year of university tends to be that university level courses are simply more difficult than high school courses. Not only is the content more conceptually difficult, but the volume is usually higher, and the amount of studying time  required to succeed is more than most students are accustomed to. Unless you learn to meet your new demands academically, it is likely that you will not be able to achieve the same results you did in high school by putting in the same amount of work.

2. Adjusting to the University System

Not only is course work more difficult in university, but the structure of your classes and assignments differs radically from your previous education. Instead of being an hour each day, a class in first year is typically three hours a week with two hours of lecturing and an hour of tutorial. Also, instead of having a steady stream of assignments throughout the semester, university courses typically base your marks on one or two major assignments as well as a midterm and final that make up the majority of your grade. In your first year classes it is also likely that you will be packed in a room with a couple hundred other students and not get a chance to know your professor unless you make a concerted effort. All of these changes can be disorienting at first and lead to a first year grade drop as you struggle to adjust to the university system.

3. Being Placed in the Wrong Program/Courses

For some students going into first year, they will soon discover that the major that they elected to take is not the right fit for them. While chemistry or history may have been your favorite courses in high school, the realization that a concentration in these fields requires you to take numerous courses on them, some on subjects that you find tedious and boring, is enough to turn some students off. Other subjects like engineering or business may not even be introduced to students at a high school level, thus a student’s perception of them might change once they are actually in their first year introductory classes. If you discover when entering university that you are disinterested in your field of study then it is easy to get discouraged and see your marks suffer.

4. Programs that Grade on a Curve

What many student often forget is that when they enter a competitive university program they are placed in classes with other students who were also high performers in high school. While you may be used to having been one of the brightest people in your class back in grade twelve, now you are competing with others who probably felt the same way. As such, since most university programs maintain a certain average and tend to grade on a curve, the quality of your work will be measured up against other strong preforming students. Thus when you receive a B in University you are receiving a median mark for students who were used to getting A’s in High School.

5. Socializing and Lifestyle Changes

If you were somewhat sheltered growing up and are now living away from home for the first time, chances are that you will now be exposed to a new lifestyle of partying and a range of different social activities carried out through the various clubs that are available on campus. Even if you were outgoing in high school, university is still considered by many to be a highlight in their social lives where for four years the good times never seemed to end. Regardless of your circumstances it is important to learn how to balance your school work with your social life if you desire to overcome a potential first year grade drop.

Bottom Line on Your First Year Grade Drop

Regardless of which of the aforementioned reasons is most responsible for your likely decrease in grades when entering university, it is important to remember that first year is more about adjusting to your new surroundings than receiving stellar marks. If you are pursuing a post bachelors degree, or want to complete a competitive program, keep in mind that there is still plenty of time to improve your performance in school, and that if you put in the hard work you marks will eventually go back to where they once were.

Importance of Education: 5 Benefits of a University Education

Open book with magical green tree and rays of light

A look at some of the top reasons why students should stick to university and not question the importance of education.

The Importance of Education

There is much debate about what the real value of higher education is in the modern economy. While there will always be naysayers or those who suggest that your time is better spent at a vocational institution, or by going straight into the workforce through an apprenticeship, it is good to keep the following five points in mind when considering the importance of education.

5 Reasons Why Education is Important

1. A Broader Understanding of the World

University, perhaps more than any other point in your life, is a time to broaden your horizons and gain a wider understanding of the world around you. While some may argue that a modern university is lacking in hands-on vocational training, the real point of a higher education is to become a more critical thinker who is able to look outside of their immediate surroundings. Not only will many of your classes encourage you to question the world around you, there is a good chance that you will also meet many people during your university career from a wide array of backgrounds and cultural upbringings.

2. Improved Argumentative and Public Speaking Skills

A large component of your University education involves learning how to better express your views and questioning the beliefs of others. Through the various seminar classes that you will take in university, as well as tutorials, you will have an excellent opportunity to develop your argumentative skills by debating other students and raising questions to your professors. In doing so you will also practice the art of public speaking and learn to become more comfortable expressing your ideas in front of an audience.

3. Increased Confidence in Your Intellectual Ability

University may not always offer all of the real world training that you will need to be successful after graduation. However, after you have you have spend four years on your bachelors degree it is safe to say that you will most likely come out of school with an increased sense of confidence in your ability to think and understand issues from multiple viewpoints. If you take the time in university to work hard and invest in your own intellectual growth, you will come out much more mature and confident in yourself after four years.

4. Increased Independence

Alongside your intellectual growth, the importance of education can be valued for the level of independence and maturity that it often helps you foster. For students who choose to live away from home during their bachelors, university is an excellent time to develop crucial life skills such as money management, home maintenance, and cooking. Even if you opt to stay at home and commute to school, most universities offer opportunities to travel, do a semester abroad, or gain exposure to the working world through a co-op or internship placement.

5. Wider Possibilities for Employment

Many fields of employment are simply inaccessible without a university degree. To become an electrical engineer, a nurse, or a financial analyst requires very specific training through a university degree. As well, many other broader professions in the corporate world now view university education as a prerequisite to employment. Simply put, in today’s competitive economy it is very beneficial to hold a four-year bachelors degree or more.

Bottom Line on the Importance of Education

Regardless of what some skeptics and anti-intellectuals might argue, you should never doubt the importance of education. More than any other hard skill, a modern, rapidly-changing economy with lower job security requires that you be flexible and easily adapt to change. Also, the modern economy more than ever demands workers with a minimum four year post secondary education. If you want to thrive in a world that is hungry for people who can innovate and come up with solutions to complex problems than it is highly recommended that you spend four years investing in higher learning.