(Closed) Is it possible to not be smart enough for college?

posted 3 years ago in College
Post # 16
3611 posts
Sugar bee

It’s not a question of not being smart enough, it’s a question of whether college is the right choice for you. Some people go to college because they feel like they have to even if their skill sets are best suited to a profession that doesn’t require a college degree. They ultimately end up wasting a bunch of money and either don’t graduate or don’t go on to do anything with their degree. I really disagree with the fact that college is the default option for everyone graduating from high school or that people feel inadequate for not having a college degree even if they’re otherwise doing perfectly fine in life. It only benefits one group of people, which is for-profit diploma mills, and handicaps people who are just starting out in life with a bunch of student debt. 

Anyway, /soapbox. Before you jump into applying to any college, whether it’s a four-year college or a community college, I would carefully think about what degree you want to obtain, how it will help you in the future, the employment statistics for your profession of choice, and whether you would be better off in terms of money, career advancement, etc., spending your time working instead of going to school.

Post # 17
3844 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

I agree with PP that it’s not about being smart enough for college, it’s about having the proper skill set for what you are interested in doing. Do you know what type of career you might like to do? If you don’t know your Myers Briggs personality type, I recommend taking this quiz: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test. It might help you decide what skills you have and what careers best fit your skills. I would also go to a career counsellor at a local college after you enroll, a lot of them have resources to help you decide what type of degree is the best fit for you. College definitely isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly not because those people are unintelligent!

Post # 18
1082 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I know many college graduates that I would not consider to be particularly intelligent people. And I know many intelligent, successful people without degrees. Just sayin. 

You’d be surprised what you’re capable of. My community college offers “catch up” classes to refresh your mind of things you’ve probably forgotten since high school. That would be a great start if you can find something like that! There’s a big difference between being unintelligent and being uneducated. You could be the smartest person in the world and not know it if you never tried to learn. I’m thinking about going back to school myself, and it’s definitely scary and daunting! Good luck!! 

Post # 19
3050 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

They have courses to take you through all levels of learning if you need to do beginner level algebra, English, etc.

I found the students that didn’t put the time and effort in (didn’t do all the assignments, show up, study) were not passing while the students that tried hard were.

Im awful at math or I guess ‘was’ awful. I never had anyone give me the time or extra attention to explain concepts to me. The teaching styles I had experienced in middle to high school also weren’t very easy to follow and our classrooms were packed beyond what they should have been. 

Going through college courses for math, I had some really good teachers. As you go on you do have to accept that they will hold your hand less. So if a teacher gives you a way to solve with a calculator and a way to solve by hand/formula…learn it because you will need to know later and rely less on the calculator in certain situations. I felt really empowered trying hard and getting good results. I don’t believe anyone is not smart enough, it’s just a matter of it’s something you want in life and if you’re willing to work at it to get whatever degree it is you wish for. If you fail a course, pick yourself up and try again (it’s never too late).

Post # 20
1740 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

+1 on checking out community college.  Even if you’re not great at writing or algebra, community colleges have great skills-based programs that will help you increase your earning power.  For example, I know a woman who spent 2 years in the local CC’s radiology program, and now makes pretty decent money working at the hospital.  Same with lab techs and plumbers.

Also, online IQ tests are a joke.  I disagree with the PP who said that IQ tests don’t measure intelligence (I’ve heard the arguments against them, and I understand the points they make, and I understand that they have inherent biases, but it doesn’t change the fact that the smartest people I know also have the highest IQs), but they need to be administered and assessed by pyschologists who know what they’re doing — not a computer.  And your post was well-written, with good spelling and grammar — much better than MANY other posts we see here.  Don’t put yourself down just because some computer program of questionable origin told you something.

Post # 21
1273 posts
Bumble bee

Depends what you’re studying and how well you study. Regardless of how smart you are, if you’re not good at studying, don’t have good study habits or can’t retain quantities of information, than I wouldn’t recommend college. If you’re not sure, try community college first (more affordable and often times, less difficult than 4 year schools). Also, some fields (like technology) you don’t need a degree to break in, just experience and the ability to self-teach and take tests. I would talk to a career counselor if you’re concerned.

Post # 22
198 posts
Blushing bee

bluesparkles:  College is really more about finding your niche and asserting yourself rather than being smart. I always struggled through middle school and high school especially in math.. I tried 100X harder than my peers, but nothing stuck. Come college, I found my home in the humanities– sociology, anthropology, gender studies– it all spoke to me, and because I loved it so much, the work came much more naturally. Our brains are all wired differently, and in college you get the opportunity to focus on your strenghts rather than being forced to wade through your weaknesses. Do a little research and find the specific areas of study that drive you, and in which you can find a career you’ll enjoy and excel in. With all of that being said, in order to succeed in any area of study in college, you’ll need a good foundation that those years of “wading through” help build. If you want to put your best foot forward, I recommend doing independent preparation ahead of time to sharpen your skills- especially spelling and grammar. The fact that you can recognize the areas where you need improvement is a great asset! There are a ton of online resources that will help you:



I also think that in your case, if you’re feeling nervous about your abilities and want to get your feet wet without a great financial risk, instead of going straight into a 4-year instutution, you can start off at a 2-year community college and then transfer to a 4-year institution to finish off your last 2 years.

Any route you choose- just go for it!!! Challenge yourself, grow your skills, move up the ladder– you’ll be glad you did.

Post # 23
5889 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

bluesparkles:  Of course it’s possible to not be smart enough for college, and it’s certainly possible to be smart enough but not be “cut out for it.”  But…most people are plenty smart enough.  Especially if htey have the right attitude. 

Have you ever heard of the concept of a “growth mindset”?  Look it up.  That kind of mindset will help you go far in many areas of life, especially when embarking on a path of learning into the unknown.  So you don’t know much algebra or french or how to write an essay?  Well guess what?  You can learn that.  So you don’t know how to play the piano or cook a great Pad Thai or box?  You can learn that.

In college, your grit matters more than the raw intelligence you have when you walk in the door.  So does your sense of purpose and direction.  Get in touch with waht you really want out of a higher education experience, find the right program, and go for it.  If you are struggling find the resources your college can provide for help (they want you to succeed). 

Also, IQ tests mean basically nothing, ignore them.

Post # 24
1362 posts
Bumble bee

bluesparkles:  What do you want to go to college for? What kind of career path do you want? To answer your question, yes, loads of people are not cut out for college. IQ has nothing to do with it though.

Post # 25
7905 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

It is possible to have a skill set that can be cultivated outside of college. There are so many different ways to measure intelligence. A college education doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re smart. If you’re interested in going back to school, it would be beneficial to talk with an academic counselor at a prospective institution. 

Post # 26
1420 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I moved to USA 10 years ago with no English whatsoever. I was mortified to go to college but I went anyway. I failed entire first semester because I didnt understand anything those people were saying to me. 10 years later I graduated and have associates and bachelors on deans list with GPA 4.75. Sometimes you need to take less classes than regular students and get used to it.

My Fiance is intelligent, great at his job, born in USA, but my God he sucks at school. Truth is, I am almost always helping him with assignments and he is 29 years old. Sometimes I wonder how come he struggles so much but I guess he doesnt really have a heart for it and he says that “elective classes dont identify me” and I agree with it.

Bottom line is – girl you can do it! Start at community college with one class to get used to it. It will go great and you will get through it 🙂

Post # 27
1798 posts
Buzzing bee

In my opinion: anyone can go to college and get a degree. Show up, do some busy work, get FAFSA to pay your tuition = BAM! degree.

Post # 28
367 posts
Helper bee

bluesparkles:  What kind of job would you like to have? What sort of degree are you looking to get?

Post # 29
98 posts
Worker bee

Everybody is smart in their own way not everyone learns by sitting at a desk and studying

“If you judge an elephant on its ability to climb a tree it will spend it’s whole life thinking it’s stupid”

I think your being super hard on yourself. Some do find it easier than others but it doesn’t make them smarter it just means that this is an area that they are good at. 

You will be totally able for college you just gotta find what works for you.

You are as bright as anyone else. Don’t be so hard on yourself 

Post # 30
2318 posts
Buzzing bee

You were just able to communicate your thoughts coherently and use vocabulary appropriately. I think you have more going for you than you know.  Learning how to learn is a skill. Those who master it do well in school. Good luck

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