“Get your stuff together the first year and don’t slack off, because it only gets harder.”

May 14, 2018


Dylan Lear, pictured right, graduating from Boyertown in the class of 2015. Dylan spent his freshman college year at Salem State University in Massachusetts, before transferring to Juniata College for his sophomore year.

What matters from high school?

AP courses in general helped prepare for the workload of college.

How did you choose your college?

BASH’s program allows students to put in specifications such as school size, specific majors, living arrangements, and more, so I chose my college easily from what remained. I transferred schools for two reasons: I was not very happy being alone a lot of the time at my old school, because it was a lot less personable and my girlfriend lived 90 minutes away. The second reason is the cost of going to school out of state. I am currently paying around $10k a year less by going to college in PA.

Do you have any tips about how to pay for college?

-Scholarships can save many college students a lot of money, and some students can even earn a full ride. Even if you’re too busy with school and work, most colleges have scholarships available when you apply. Financial aid is another way to temporarily lessen college’s price.

I applied for FAFSA as well as PHEAA. The process is pretty quick and easy actually. You just need your parents tax info and you’re ready to go. It shouldn’t take more than an hour to file for FAFSA and PHEAA.

-Take as much free stuff as your college will give you. For example, one day I went to the post office on campus to get my mail and they had free Old Spice body wash. Haven’t had to buy body wash for months.

How did you choose your major?

I chose my major based on my immediate interests. I’ve always liked and used computers and technology in some way, so I have been a computer science major for my fourth semester now. I decided my major only six months before my first semester of college.

I want to be a software engineer, SE for short. They write code for companies, and sometimes the companies are video game companies. I realized what I wanted to do in life based on my goal of wanting to be financially stable for the rest of my life. SEs start at $90k a year, so that should cover it.

How was the adjustment to college life socially?

It can be liberating. Managing money and living in the city was a lot harder to adjust to.

How was the adjustment to college life academically?

College is overall harder than high school. Most majors in the freshman year can give the impression that they will be a breeze. Sophomore year will make you think otherwise really quickly. So get your stuff together the first year and don’t slack off, because it only gets harder.

A typical college class schedule is five classes a semester. Three of the classes will be core “important” classes, that meet for 200 minutes per week, four days a week. The remaining two classes are electives that meet maybe twice a week for 100 minutes per week. This varies amongst colleges.

Work assigned is very inconsistent. Some weeks I have three sections of stats homework, one java program to write, one ruby program to write, some readings in textbooks, and a digital audio production assignment. Other weeks I can have all of that and five programs to write in a single week. Other weeks, next to nothing.

My current college classes are great. The lectures are engaging and meaningful. I have actually connected with my professors and can go to them for advice on anything I ask and they will respond with kindness.

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