Getting into college is surely one of the most exciting experiences for a person to have. Starting a new chapter in life, with little or no parental supervision can force some students to adopt a new, much more open personality among their peers. But sometimes such behavior can manifest itself in ways that are grounds for expulsion. A Reddit user asked the community about the reasons such people enroll in college in the first place.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Connection Between Intelligence and Behavior: Behavior does not always provide a direct insight into one’s intelligence. While some behaviors might hint at cognitive capabilities, it’s essential to understand that individuals are multifaceted, with unique blends of experiences and traits.
  • College Admission Landscape: Getting into college is not solely about academic excellence. Admissions are increasingly becoming holistic, considering both a student’s academic achievements and their personal circumstances.
  • College Freedom and Behavioral Shifts: The newfound freedom in college can be both liberating and overwhelming. The absence of parental supervision and the sudden thrust into independence can lead some students to make questionable decisions.

Stepping into college is like opening a brand-new book; you don’t know what the story holds, but you can’t wait to dive in! Imagine it: you’re finally out of high school and you’ve got that acceptance letter in your hand. Exciting, right? It’s a journey filled with opportunities to make friends from different corners of the world, discover subjects that can fuel your passions, and of course, prepare for a future career that you can be proud of. This is not just a ‘next step’; it’s a giant leap in your life.

But, just like any mildly interesting book, college isn’t only about sunshine and lollipops. There, you meet tens or even hundreds of new people, each with their own background, experience, and attitude toward life. You can never predict exactly what students you’ll meet there and how they will behave in certain situations. Unfortunately, some of those might involve questionable or even illegal things, which certainly impacts not only the students but the college’s reputation itself. One of the Reddit users shared their question with the community, wondering how those people even get into prestigious universities if they behave so poorly.

This is an observation based on a lot of the bad things(illegal/disturbing) that have been in the news that happened in college and I’m wondering how these people even got in? Were they the type of people who were honor roll students as juveniles who decided to act out once out of their parents reach? Reason I ask that is cause the kids in high school who likes to fight/ do blow and breaking into things never cared to get into college in the first place or graduate high school. So how does this work?

Well, this question might go a little deeper than it looks from the first glance. Did colleges just lower their standards, when it comes to student applications? Or perhaps, the majority of the former “goody two shoes” finally felt freedom from their parents and started acting out? 

How Does the Level of Intelligence Correlate with Behavior

Ever notice how people behave differently in various situations? Well, duh. This observation leads to a curious question: is there a connection between behavior and intelligence? It’s important to note, that when we speak of intelligence, it’s not just about academic prowess or solving complex equations. It represents our ability to reason, learn, and solve problems. Behavior, on the other hand, refers to how we act and respond to our environment.

Many have pondered whether a person’s actions can provide insights into their intellectual capabilities. Can someone’s habitual actions give clues about their level of intelligence? We seek this answer due to the reason that we have to make judgments about others to form an opinion and pick the most appropriate reaction. It’s just basic human instincts and we learn to do it from the first moments of our lives when seeing our parents and people around us expressing emotions.

One of many longitudinal studies highlights the fact that antisocial or harmful behavior manifests itself from a very young age. This is due to the fact that it’s the first developmental stage during which you can catch such behaviors in action. However, it’s necessary to note that young adults are subjected to many more outside factors that influence their demeanor, rather than a baby in a crib. So, it’s far more difficult to determine what exactly caused a college student to behave in a certain way.

You don’t have to be dumb to be bad. Plus, going to college can give many lots of freedom and/or depression.

Moreover, the human brain (particularly, the frontal cortex) develops much later in life, when most college students have long finished this level of education. Until about 25 years old, our brain can’t process judgments to its full extent, so most people display erratic behavior. And when we put different family backgrounds and possibly even mental health issues in the mix, it makes the whole picture even more complicated. 

Many commenters under the thread highlighted the fact that the correlation between intelligence and behavior doesn’t always lie on the surface. 

Academic readiness doesn’t always equate to social and emotional maturity, executive function, impulse control, etc.”

The 2 high schools I attended are in the top 40 in the U.S. The one I graduated from had a recent graduate who had a 5.2 gpa. But a lot of students have drug problems, vape, and act out in school.”

Although passing judgments is one of our basic needs, drawing a direct line between behavior and intelligence is far from straightforward. While our actions may sometimes give insight into our cognitive abilities, it’s essential to remember that people are complex, multifaceted beings. A single behavior or action isn’t necessarily a window into one’s intellectual capacity. Each individual is a unique blend of experiences, knowledge, and traits, making it a challenge to form an opinion on their intelligence from a mere first impression. Hence, it’s always wise to reserve judgment and remember that intelligence and behavior, while interconnected in some ways, aren’t always directly correlated.

Is It Even That Hard to Get into College Nowadays?

With stories of perfect SAT scores, jaw-dropping extracurriculars, and countless rejection letters flooding our newsfeeds, it raises the question: is getting into college nowadays genuinely as challenging as it’s made out to be? While some argue that college acceptance has become an almost Herculean task, others believe that the process has simply evolved… or vice versa regressed. After years of COVID lockdown and restrictions the overall quality of education has decreased and the expectations from students have lowered. Obviously, more prestigious universities, for example, the Ivy League, still have a complicated application process, but the bigger picture remains the same.

One Redditor weighed in to say that the formula for getting into college overall is not that complicated. The student either has to have a supportive family or be resilient and motivated to get through the obstacles. 

You don’t have to be “smart” or a “good” person to get into college. You simply need to be equipped for it (e.g. stable home life, resources, connections, privilege, money.) And if you’re not equipped, you need resilience, grit and persistence to overcome the obstacles in your way. Not all “bad” or “dumb” kids in high school are actually bad or dumb and vise versa. It’s all about the system in which our society operates.”

This is an exception not a rule, but my college accepts like 95% of applicants lmao. As long as you passed high school, have enough money, and are not a felon or sex offender, you in.”

To conclude what the commenters said, it’s as much about savvy—navigating the admissions landscape, understanding what institutions value, and showcasing your unique qualities—as it is about grades. Moreover, a student’s personal circumstances play sometimes even the most important role; being in a stable and financially supportive position in life can provide an advantageous platform to leap from. So, while marks and metrics will always hold importance, the modern college admissions journey is increasingly holistic.

Newly Found Freedom and Separation from Parents

In high school, things are familiar and there are many rules. But college is different. It’s often the first time teenagers get to live without their parents telling them what to do every step of the way. This freedom is exciting, but it can also be a bit scary.

At college, no one reminds you to do your homework or to go to bed early. You have to decide everything for yourself. This is good because it gets you ready for adult life. But, a lot of teens aren’t ready for this big change. They don’t know how to take care of themselves. Simple things like washing clothes, making food, or budgeting money can become big challenges. Another big change is balancing study time with hanging out with friends. College has lots of fun events, parties, and get-togethers. It’s easy to get distracted and forget about schoolwork with the newly-found feeling of independence. Most users under the thread agree with this point.

​​“It’s normal for some people who have never had independence before university to go majorly off the rails once they have it – they’ve never had to do anything except what their parents told them to before, it doesn’t exactly lead to having experience in making decisions about when to stop partying, etc.”

It’s no surprise that without parental control teens tend to go wild sometimes, even though they behaved differently in high school. Köber and Tilmann wrote that during adolescence, it’s common for individuals to have critical views of their parents. This is largely because teenagers are working towards freeing themselves from parental ties to achieve social independence and establish their own unique identity.

Moreover, due to the low level of frontal cortex development (which we previously discussed), some students don’t yet know how to channel their energy correctly and get in touch with new people in other ways than partying. So they pick common college activities that are bonding although a bit dangerous. One of the Reddit commenters summed it up nicely.

I think there are shitty people everywhere, regardless of class, creed, intelligence, etc. Some of the most horrendous criminals out there were extremely intelligent and studious. Many people with higher IQs are also very sensory-seeking, meaning that they get bored easily and have to do some crazy shit to “feel better”. Some people channel that energy in healthy, legal ways, such as extreme sports, skydiving, rock climbing, etc. Others get into drugs and crime.”

So, the matter of fact is how exactly people choose to adapt to their new environment. Whether they decide to engage in extracurricular activities, delve into academic research, or immerse themselves in social communities, the choices they make play a crucial role in shaping both their college experience and the experience of others around them.

Balancing Work and Play in College for a Well-Rounded Experience

Navigating the college experience requires more than just academic diligence. It’s about harmoniously blending the rigor of studies with the relaxation of recreational activities. Striking a balance between work and play ensures a holistic college experience, fostering both intellectual growth and personal development. Here are ten strategies to achieve this balance:

  1. Time Management: Invest in a planner or use digital calendars. Schedule study sessions, but also pencil in downtime, ensuring you’re maximizing productivity without burning out.
  2. Set Priorities: Recognize what’s most important each week. Address imminent academic deadlines but reserve time for social engagements.
  3. Join Clubs: Being a part of college clubs or organizations not only offers a break from academic stress but also aids in networking and skill-building.
  4. Exercise Regularly: Physical activity, be it gym workouts or team sports, can invigorate the mind, offering a refreshing break from studies.
  5. Study Breaks: Instead of long, draining study sessions, opt for shorter, more focused ones interspersed with breaks for leisure or hobbies.
  6. Socialize Smartly: Engage in group study sessions or academic discussions. This way, you’re networking and learning simultaneously.
  7. Limit Distractions: When it’s time to work, ensure your environment is conducive to focus. This will ensure efficiency, leaving more time for play.
  8. Seek Counseling: If overwhelmed, college counseling services can provide strategies to manage academic pressure while ensuring personal well-being.
  9. Engage in Arts and Culture: Attend campus events, plays, or concerts. This enriches the soul, providing a pleasant deviation from routine.
  10. Practice Self-care: It’s essential to recognize your limits. Allocate time for relaxation, be it reading, meditation, or even a well-deserved nap.

Mastering the art of balancing work and play guarantees not only academic success but also memories and relationships that last a lifetime.


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