The Insider: 5 ways college is like a job and 5 ways it’s different

September 13, 2013 9:00 AM

Alicia Duplessis Jasmin

Mid-September on the Tulane University uptown campus is the antithesis of the first day of school, with new students gaining confidence in their ability and seasoned students taking a professional approach to classes.

Here are a few ways that life in college is like having a real job — and a few ways it isn’t.


Send in your thoughts on professionalism in college. Is it a good idea or can it wait?

1. You are expected to arrive on time.

2. There are deadlines to meet.

3. You interact with a diverse group of people.

4. You answer to a boss (a professor in this case).

5. You manage big projects.

1. You create your own schedule.

2. You get paid in alphabets.

3. The dress code is college chic (flip-flops and tank-tops).

4. You have multiple “bosses.”

5. There's a success center with coaches to help you.

Professionalism is the focus of a recent study in which professors at two universities designed their courses to function more like a job. There were no points for attendance. Professors were the supervisors. Deadlines were unbendable.

In the end, both professors found that “students were more professional, prompt, and detail-oriented as a result of this approach.”

The article published in the Journal for College Teaching is titled, “Do bosses give extra credit? Using the classroom to model real-world work experiences.”

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu