A lot of students are the first in their families to go to college. But even if your parents do have college degrees, that’s no guarantee that their experience is anything like what it means to go to college today.

Here are 7 major ways college has changed:

1) The college search was simpler.

The college search process seems like it was more straightforward. Pretty sure you used to just have to pick one someone else liked enough. Now students are expected to know about hundreds of colleges and pick one as if it’s their soul mate. 

Read: How Many Colleges Should You Apply To?

2) A clearer path.

It was a simple equation: Get your degree, get a job. Now it’s all about picking the right major, making sure you balance exploring academically with staying focused enough on job skills, and networking.

3) Social life.

There were 80s dance parties...but they were just called “dance parties.” And if you didn’t make plans to meet beforehand, there was no texting.

Read: How to Make Friends at College.

4) College cost.

Frankly, a part time job used to be able to put you through college, now it just seems good for gas money & lunch. Know how much less college was 30 years ago? Yah, no fair.

Read: How much does college really cost?

5) Glamour.

That’s right. There was glamour. A selfie was a glamour shop photo at the mall. #NoFilter.

6) Internship-free summers.

Speaking of which, feels like you used to be able to have fun summer jobs and now you’re supposed to get internships during the nicest days of the year? Where’s the justice there?!

Read: How to Make Your College Job Work For You.

7) Distraction-free study time.

Ok, so maybe papers were written on typewriters/boxy computers, but there also wasn’t the temptation of the endless abyss of the internet. No excuses to avoid doing work. Not even the hottest new cassette tape.

Jokes aside, college is serious business. Whether you’re the first in your family to go, or you’re following in your parents footsteps, navigating college is a real adventure. Don’t rely on TV and movies to guide you, you can subscribe to our newsletter (enter your email to the right) and you’ll get the best info delivered directly to your inbox.

Authored by Amy Steinhoff

Amy believes in the power of communities to get things done -- including expanding the promise of higher education. She writes about the crazy ways college has changed and what high school juniors need to be prepared for.