The Differences Between High School & College

The experiences you will encounter while enrolled in college can be vastly different than those you experienced in high school. It is important that you understand these differences so that you are college ready for your first semester on campus.

Differences in Classes

In High School In College
Students can spend an average of six hours a day, 30 hours a week in class. Students can spend as little as 12 to 16 hours a week in class for a full-time load.
Studying time outside class may be limited each week. Studying time should be at least two to three hours outside of class for every hour spent in class.
The high school provides students with the textbooks and needed materials for each class. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks, supplies, uniforms, and other materials accompanying their classes. Textbooks can be as much as $200-$500 per semester.
Classes are scheduled for the student based upon track and grade level. Students will consult with their academic advisor each semester to select classes appropriate for their major.
Teachers carefully monitor class attendance. Students are responsible for adhering to the attendance policy, which is closely monitored by the faculty.

Differences in Grades and Testing

In High School In College
Extra credit projects are often available to help students raise the grade. Extra credit projects are seldom available.
Grades are given for most assignments. Out of class work will be used as a way to reinforce learning objectives but may or may not have an impact on the overall grade earned for the course.
Consistently good homework may help raise the student’s overall grades even when test results have low grades. Students should check the course syllabus for how assignments are weighted. Results on tests, major projects, or papers usually carry more weight in the overall course grade.
Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material. Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.
Make up tests are often available. Make up tests are seldom an option.
Initial test grades may not have an adverse effect on the student’s final grade. The first test may count for a substantial part of the final grade. If students are not doing well, it is their responsibility to get assistance.

Differences in Responsibility

In High School In College
Parents can talk to their child’s teachers about their grades and can have access to their records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs college policies regarding student’s records for students over the age of 18 and without the student’s written permission, parents are not allowed access to them.
The high school counselor can register students in classes. An academic advisor can help students select courses and develop an educational plan, but students are responsible for enrolling and managing schedules.
Students can count on parents and teachers to remind them of responsibilities and provide guidance as they set their priorities. Students will be faced with a large number of decisions. Students must balance their responsibilities and set priorities on their own.
Students will usually be told what to do and corrected if their behavior is out of line. Students are expected to take responsibility for what they do and don’t do, as well as for the consequences of their decisions.