High School vs College

High school and college are totally different. Just because you were head of the debate club, popular jock or head cheerleader doesn’t mean that college life will fall in that path. If you were the girl that nobody looked at or the student that no one talked to… Don’t worry. College does not have to be the same way. High school popularity/success does not determine college success.

College, depending where you go, can be an entirely different environment. I and a slew of classmates decided to attend college five minutes from where we attended high school. So did I see familiar faces on campus, sure I did. However, everywhere is different. You might have chosen to attend college far away or a short drive away from home. Either way you are on your way to starting a new journey.

While in college you are faced with decisions and independence. You have a clean slate academically and socially. If you want to strive for the 3.5 go for it. If you decide to step out of your shell and join a organization, maybe you want to run for an office, go for it.

High School: Your mother was your alarm clock.

College: Either you hear your alarm or you are tardy (maybe even absent) for class. Set yourself 2 or 3 alarms to make sure you are on time

High School: You don’t purchase the textbooks used in class.

College: You are responsible for purchasing (renting) textbooks for all your classes. Campus bookstores are the enemy. Amazon will be your friend.








High School: You see the same teacher and attend the same classes every day.

College: You may only have certain classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Therefore you don’t see the same teacher everyday. Therefore, remembering assignments and due dates become a tad bit harder. Keeping a calendar with assignment due dates is helpful.

High School: You are child. Parent teacher conferences can be held. Parents can call and immediately receive information on your attendance or progress in classes.

College: You are treated as an adult. Parents and professors don’t have parent teacher conferences. Professors won’t call your mom if you skipped school or flunked a test. It is your job to conduct yourself as a young adult and stay on top of your business.

High School: Test could be passed by reading SparkNotes the night before you take a test.

College: Test require students to read and understand books read. The questions asked cannot be reviewed on SparkNotes. Read the book, understand what you read and take notes. You gotta pass the class.

High School: Teachers will remind you of assignments due and may review the criteria more than once.

College: Professors expect you to read the syllabus and come to them if you have questions. There a few professors who will continuously repeat the dates of assignments.

High School: Students have a year with the same classes (with the exception of an elective).

College: You have only a semester before moving on with the required curriculum. Therefore you have a shorter time frame to cover material. Make sure you are able to understand material if not make use of office hours and campus tutors.

High School: Classes have a set schedule and last no longer than and hour.

College: Certain classes can last up to 3 hours depending on the class and how many times it is held during the week. Make sure you eat before and bring a snack  to keep you up.

High School: In high school majority of the material needed is taught in class. teacher may extensively review chapters or test material.

College: Professors may teach, however, they expect their students to be able to answer questions in class. Professors expect you to read ahead and come prepared to discuss.

High School: Teachers prepared you for test and gave homework assignments which generated points plus any bonus assignments.

College: Professors don’t always give homework and if they do it will not always be worth points. Therefore, your tests count heavy toward your end of semester grade. There is not always a crutch of points to lean on. Majority of the time your homework is to read/study the upcoming chapters.

High School: There are more rules. For example, if you have to use the rest room, you must raise your hand and receive permission. Cell phones not allowed or shall I say cannot be seen.

College: You can easily walk out of class. If you have to use the restroom or answer an important call, you just simply leave. If possible you can let your professor know (if it is not interrupting class), but it is not necessary. For most classes cell phones are allowed, but not appreciated.

High School: If your teacher is finished with the lesson, you must remain in class the entire period.

College: Professors can end class when the lecture is complete. The decision is on them. It’s important to always arrive on time, if class is over before you arrive you are absent.


Of course these comparisons vary from school to school and from  professor to professor. However, these are just a few differences one may face when transitioning from high to college.

I hope this list is helpful to a few incoming freshmen. Let’s talk… What are some differences that you are concerned about in your transition from high school to college?

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