Studying in the U.S


Our academic period in New Paltz has come to an end, and we have just begun our internships in New York City.

I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that Part 1 of our IIB program is already over. As I sit down and think about my time in New Paltz, I start reflecting on the differences I found when attending college.

The Australian university system operates relatively differently to that of the United States. I have summarised the main differences below:

University in Australia:

  • Classes are generally conducted as a 2-hour lecture, followed by a 1-hour tutorial. Lectures can be anywhere from 20 to 200 students, whilst a tutorial is generally only about 23 students per class.
  • Classes will meet for a total of 3 hours each week over a 12-week period.
  • Lectures and classes are not mandatory, nor does ‘attendance’ contribute to your final grade.
  • Final Exam is generally worth the highest mark (40 to 70% depending on the class)
  • Fewer assignments and homework however the assignments or mid-term is graded higher.
  • It is quiet rare to have multiple-choice exams – exams are generally in essay form or short/long answer. Exams are designed in a way that you would be required to show your working out.

University in New York:

  • Classes are of a smaller size (approx. 25 students) and meet twice a week for 1 hour and 15 minutes – 2.5 hours per week over a 15-week period.
  • Classes are mandatory and will be contribute to your final grade
  • Exams tend to be multiple choice and many classes have a ‘curve’ applied to the grade.
  • Far more smaller assignments and homework pieces.
  • Final Exams are generally worth the same percentage as any other exam taken throughout the semester.

I must say, I really enjoyed and learnt a lot from the business classes I undertook at New Paltz.

The highlight for me was definitely “Legal Environment for Business”. I cannot speak highly enough of how Professor Bruce Mather facilitates this class. Not only does your mouth hurt from laughing and smiling the entire class (he likes to conduct role play to demonstrate scenarios) but you come away from the class knowing you have actually learnt something that will stick with you. Professor Mather addresses everyone by his or her surname (i.e. Ms Zera), and will have you sit in the same seat each class so that after a few weeks he begins to learn everyone’s name. In addition he is very particular about the word ‘Yeah’ – in Professor Mather’s class, this word does not exist, and you are only to use the word ‘Yes’.

If you have the opportunity to study Business at New Paltz, I highly encourage you to take Professor Mather’s class “Legal Environment for Business”. You wont be disappointed.

Bring on IIB Part 2!