Differences Between High School & College

Although you might think that college is simply one step above high school, there are several differences between the two, and you need to be prepared for what’s ahead. Here are a few of the most important differences:

High School Classes vs. College Classes

In high school, most of your classes were probably assigned to you and you were supplied with many of your classroom materials and books. You probably also had a guidance counselor telling you which courses to take and when. In college, it is your responsibility to sign up for the classes you need to take to graduate (if you need help with this, you will need to make an appointment with an advisor) and you are responsible for buying all class materials. Buyers beware…college textbooks don’t come cheap.

High School Teachers vs. College Professors

High school teachers tend to be a little more accommodating to their students than college professors. Your high school teachers probably made sure they knew your name and a few important things about you. They also monitored your grades and attendance, provided you with notes when you missed class, and reminded you of upcoming assignments and tests. Your high school teachers may have also allowed you to turn in make-up work when you were absent and probably checked in with your parents about any missing work and absences. Many college professors don’t take attendance or have the time to make sure all of their students are making passing grades in all of their courses. If you miss a class, plan on getting notes from a fellow classmate. If you attend a large college or university, your professors probably won’t even try to remember your name, as they have hundreds of students each semester. If an assignment was due on a day you decided to miss class, there‚Äôs a good chance your professor will not let you turn it in late. You are responsible for remembering important deadlines, as your parents will not be communicating with your professors, and will have no idea when your assignments are due. Also, remember that if you want some one-on-one time with your professor, you won’t be able to hang around after class like you did in high school; you will have to make an appointment during his/her office hours or correspond with him/her through email.

High School Tests vs. College Exams

High school tests usually occur more often, cover less material, and countless toward your overall course grade than college exams do. In college, you will probably only have two or three exams per course, and they usually cover several chapters and are worth a larger percentage of your final grade. Most of the time, your professors will not review exam material with you before the test; it will be your responsibility to study your notes and materials and to be prepared. Also, most college professors will not allow ‘make-up exams’ during the term of the course, so students should try not to miss class on the day of an exam. For most of your college classes, you will either have a mid-term, final or both.

Keep in mind that there are a number of differences between college and high school, and it is up to you, the student, to know what is expected of you for maximum achievement at all levels of your educational career!


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