Public Speaking In College: Everything You Know

Are you afraid of public speaking? Are you trying to brace yourself for public speaking in college? Everything you need to know can be found below!

When you think of the word college, what comes to mind? If you are in high school, perhaps you’re wondering about where you will go or what your major will be. The representatives of the school provide a lot of information regarding how to get in and what your schedule could be like but there’s just one lingering question that you haven’t been able to receive the answer to. It is a question that is very important to you.

As an introvert, you hate the thought of having to speak in front of others. You would like to know what public speaking will be like in college? 

Or scenario two. You have an amazing job that you love but you have recently been informed that you will need to take a couple of college courses to further advance your career.  You are a little apprehensive because it has been several years since you were in college. A lot has changed. You know that in class you’ll be giving presentations and so forth.

However, included in your curriculum is a public speaking class. You may wonder to yourself, what all is involved in that and what should you expect?

If you find yourself in this situation or a similar scenario it can be a little nerve-wracking. College is already a major adjustment. A new school, new professors, new friends, maybe even a new town. That can all be stressful. And now with having to speak publicly you might not even want to go! Do not fret!

Knowing what to expect ahead of time can make all the difference. That is why we are sharing with you everything you need to know about public speaking in college. We’re going to break down everything. In this article, you’ll find the answer to the following questions:

  • What is public speaking like in college?
  • Why do students hate public speaking?
  • Is public speaking hard in college?
  • How to avoid public speaking in college? 

Having these answers can give you the peace of mind you need as well as help you prepare.

What Is Public Speaking Like In College?

Public speaking classes are designed to teach you various techniques that will help you develop good public speaking skills. Your professors will assign you several speaking exercises throughout the course. Along with speaking assignments, just like with any other class there will be tests as well. 

You will be shown how to use visual aids properly, how to analyze your audience, listen effectively, and minimize public speaking anxiety. There will also be several lectures given by your professor (you will not be expected to speak the entire time.) You will also listen to and analyze successful speeches and see how you can imitate their technique into your skill reservoir. 

On the bright side, not every presentation will be done alone. Your professors may assign group presentations. This can be especially helpful for those who tend to be uncomfortable when all eyes are on them. 

Many colleges will require their students to take some form of public speaking class as part of the curriculum to receive a degree. For example, in Virginia, George Manson University requires students to take either a public speaking class or an interpersonal and group communication class. 

Other universities such as Texas Tech University have followed suit. However, they give students a little more variety by allowing them to choose from eight different courses to fulfill the public speaking requirement. 

If you are giving your public speaking classes your all but you feel like you are still struggling, some professors have provided students with extra credit projects. If this is something that you are interested in, you can also ask your professor. 


Why Do Students Hate Public Speaking?

Public speaking does not come naturally to most people in general, so it is to be expected that students would hate it. The fact that they must stand up and speak in front of their peers and be graded on it, terrifies them. 

A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine showed that out of the 1135 students studied, 63.9% of the college students reported having a fear of public speaking. That is more than half! This study involved a variety of ages ranging from 17 to 58 years old. This proves that it is not just younger students who struggle. 

Some may have had unpleasant public speaking experiences in high school, so they are apprehensive about public speaking in college. Others struggle with a lack of confidence. They may hate the way public speaking makes them feel anxious, stressed, and nervous. 

Additionally, some students may also hate the fact that they cannot control the way their peers will react to what they have to say. It is not easy to express what you have to say, especially if it is a subject close to their hearts in front of a group of people. They are afraid of being judged.  

Is Public Speaking Hard In College?

Many students wonder if public speaking is hard in college. The honest answer is it depends on the student. Each student that attends college has their own strengths and weaknesses. Some students will not think that public speaking in college is hard, they will actually love it. On the other hand, some students are indifferent. They do it because they must but don’t feel strongly for or strongly against it. 

Then, there will be the students who find it challenging. They may dread public speaking. But the classes are designed to help you improve. If you feel that you are not good at something the only way to improve is to learn, practice, accept constructive criticism, apply what you learn, and keep going. If you give it your best then eventually, public speaking in college will not be as hard as you thought it was.

There are also steps that you can take to make public speaking classes in college easier. You can do thorough research on the topic that you are assigned. Practice your speech in front of those that you are comfortable with. This can include your family, friends, or those who want to see you succeed. They can provide you with honest, helpful feedback that you can use to enhance your speech. The more you practice, the more confident you will feel! 

How to Avoid Public Speaking in College?

There are a few ways that some students have tried to avoid public speaking classes in college. They are as follows:

  • You could simply not go to that class. However, if this is the path you are taking just know that you will not pass the class
  • Some have opted to see the school psychologist. In some cases, this has helped the student to be excused from all presentations, with them only having to present in front of their professor
  • You can tell your professor about your public speaking anxiety. They may be kind enough to let you present it to them instead of in front of your entire class. Or they may give you an alternate assignment. However, it also depends on the school that you are attending and your major. If you are majoring in something like public relations, public speaking is inevitable 

What Are The Benefits Of Not Avoiding Public Speaking Classes But Rather Embracing Them?

If you attend your public speaking classes and really give it your all, the benefits you receive will last you a lifetime. You will see your communication skills improve in your everyday personal life

Additionally, when you are seeking employment, your potential employers will be impressed with how well-spoken you are. Once employed, many companies require that employees give presentations and conduct business meetings. Wouldn’t it be better to learn how to do this in class with other learners, than to be embarrassed in front of your coworkers?

In class, you will be taught how to present information efficiently and effectively. Taking on the challenge of attending and learning in your public speaking classes will be worth it! Although it may seem like the worst thing in the world, it is not. Future you, will thank the present you for being brave and enduring.  

In your public speaking classes, you will be taught how to overcome your fear of public speaking. Think of this class as an investment in yourself for the future. It will teach you valuable skills that you can use anywhere. Public speaking classes will help you build your confidence. Even if you think a public speaking course has nothing to do with your major, it is still important to take it. No matter what career path you choose, public speaking will be necessary, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to learn how to do so well. 

Public Speaking In College: Embrace It

Public Speaking In College: Final Thoughts

At first, public speaking in college may seem a little intimating. It’s new and maybe a little awkward but the benefits outweigh all of that. Your instructors will be there guiding you every step of the way. They want you to succeed! If you put in the work, they will do everything in their power to make sure that you not only pass but that you come out of the class a polished and skilled speaker!

Many successful and famous public speakers once shared the same fears and concerns that you have right now, but they put in the work. You can be just as powerful and as influential as they are with the training that you will receive.

Yes, there will be students who will try anything to avoid public speaking classes in college. You could be one of them. But what if you aren’t? What if you decide to stick it out, even though it scares you? Will it require effort and perseverance? Yes! Will you feel like giving up sometimes? Honestly, yes! Can you complete the class and thank yourself for years to come? YES, YES, YES!

Try it out! You have nothing to lose but everything to gain! Invest in yourself and you will be glad that you did!

For more resources to develop your public speaking skills while you are in the comforts of your own home, please check the articles Online Resources for Public Speaking and Where Can I Learn Public Speaking. If you would like to leverage the best presentation software for your next big speaking engagement please read the article 'Best Presentation Technology tools'.


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Posted in  Public Speaking Topics   on  January 26, 2022 by  Dan W ,   Public Speaking In College: Everything You Know

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