Differences Between High School and College 

Personal Freedom in High School

Personal Freedom in College

High school is mandatory and free
(unless you choose other options).

College is voluntary and classes are affordable.

Your time is usually structured by others.

You manage your own time.

You can count on parents and teachers to remind you of your responsibilities and to guide you in setting priorities.

You must balance your responsibilities and set priorities.



High School Classes

College Classes

Each day you proceed from one class directly to another.

You often have hours between classes; class times vary throughout the day and evening.

You spend 6 hours each day—30 hours each week—in class.

You spend 12 to 16 hours each week in class.

Most of your classes are arranged for you.

You arrange your own schedule in consultation with your academic advisor. Schedules tend to look lighter than they really are.

Teachers carefully monitor attendance.

Instructors may not formally take roll, but they’re still likely to know whether or not you attended.

Classes generally have no more than 35 students.

Classes may number 100 students or more.

You’re provided with textbooks at little or no expense.

You need to budget substantial funds for textbooks, which usually cost more than $200 each semester.



High School Teachers

College Instructors

Teachers check your completed homework

Instructors may not always check completed work, but they’ll assume you can perform the same tasks on tests

Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance.

Instructors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance.

Teachers are often available for conversation before, during or after class.

Instructors expect and want you to attend their scheduled office hours.

Teachers provide you with information you missed when you were absent.

Instructors expect you to get from classmates any notes from classes you missed.

Teachers often write information on the board to be copied in your notes.

Instructors may lecture nonstop, expecting you to identify the important points in your notes. Good notes are a MUST!

Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates.

Instructors expect you to read, save and consult the course syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when it’s due and how you’ll be graded.



Studying in High School

Studying in College

You may study outside of class as little as 0-2 hours a week.

You need to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour in class.

You’re expected to read short assignments that are discussed and often, retaught in class.

You’re assigned huge amounts of reading and writing that may never be directly addressed in class.

You’ll usually be told in class what you need to learn from reading assignments.

It’s up to YOU to read and understand the assigned material. Lectures and assignments generally proceed with the assumption you’ve already done so.



Tests in High School

Tests in College

Testing is often frequent and covers small amounts of materials.

Testing is usually infrequent and cumulative, covering large amounts of material.

Makeup tests are often available.

Makeup tests are seldom an option. If they are, you need to request them.

Teachers frequently arrange tests dates to avoid conflict with school events.

Instructors in different courses usually schedule tests without regard to the demands of other courses or outside activities.

Teachers frequently schedule review sessions, pointing out the most important concepts.

Instructors rarely offer review sessions, and when they do, they expect you to come armed with questions.



Grades in High School

Grades in College

Grades are given for most assigned work.

Grades may not be provided for all assigned work.

Consistently good homework grades may help raises your overall grade when test grades are low.

Grades on tests and major papers usually provide most of the course grade.

Extra credit projects are often available to help you raise your grade.

Extra credit projects cannot, generally speaking, be used to raise a grade in a college course.

You may graduate as long as you’ve passed all required courses with a grade of D or higher.

You may graduate only if your average meets the departmental standard—typically 2.0 or C.

Effort counts.

Results count.



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   Maintained by:

   Jolene Stegath

   Last Modified:
   3/31/2008 10:12:59 AM