Are French Course in College different than in High school? Yes they are.
When you take French I-II-III-AP in High school, the teachers, usually follows a book and they are able to take their times as the year unfold. They pay close attention to their students, especially if their classrooms have less than 20 students. But, if the classrooms contains more than 30 students, they still can keep a records of the progress made in classrooms and out of the classrooms which includes homeworks.
Furthermore, a teacher may emphasized the learning process by adding assignments such as : video making of a reenactment of a French movie part or a play. Poetry reciting, learning French songs, Dialogues improvisations. The teacher does have time to explain the grammar structures, the verbs in great depth and make learning vocabulary fun with games such as cards games, dominos, memory games, guessing games etc.
However, in college, I see that the teachers have to rush through the course and often give a lots of homework with less explanations. There’s less emphasized on speaking the language and often the students feels lost and want to drop the course. They are not able to complete the many online assignments for credits which significantly lower their grades. The exams are quite difficult and even with a study guide, it requires a strong understanding of each lessons to pass. It does feel that when you take French I in College its the equivalent of French I and II.
So, don’t feel bad, if after your college language placement test, even if you took three years of French in High school, you are asked to take French I. I would suggest that you learn your vocabulary by heart and if you start to fall behind, don’t wait! Contact a tutor.