College Prep: High School vs.College - 8 Real Differences - Undergrad Success

College Prep: High School vs.College – 8 Real Differences

College Prep: High School vs.College – 8 Real Differences
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Before you head off to college for the first time, which might be as early as June for some of you, don’t panic! For the past 12 years, school has been structured basically the same way; it’s just gotten more challenging with each passing year. College, on the other hand, is like being on another planet altogether. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. The old rules don’t apply here.

With that in mind, here are 8 ways that college is different than high school…

8) When you’re in high school, you have your parents and teachers to help you remember things and make the right choices. In college, it’s up to you to keep track of your responsibilities. You’re also on your own when it comes to making decisions.

Takeaway: In college, you have to learn quickly how to manage your time and make smart choices in your life.

7) Everyone is expected to attend high school, and unless you go to a private school, it’s free. College isn’t mandatory; it’s a privilege and a huge investment.

Takeaway: Don’t waste this opportunity; not everyone gets to go to college. And be sure to make the most of it. After all, you’re paying for it.

6) In high school, your teachers usually check that you did your homework. In college, your professors won’t always check it, but they’ll expect you to complete it and know it.

Takeaway: Just because you’re not being checked up on anymore doesn’t mean that you can skip the work. Your professors still expect you to be responsible and take your education seriously.

5) In high school, you start school at the same time every day and then move from one class to the next over the next 6 hours or so. In college, you may anywhere from five classes a day to one to none.

Takeaway: You have a lot more down time in college, so you have to learn how to manage your time wisely.

4) If you’re out sick in high school, your teachers make sure you know what you missed. In college, if you miss class for any reason, your professors expect you to get caught up on your own.

Takeaway: Again, college is all about personal responsibility. Don’t expect any special hand-holding.

3) Back in high school, you probably didn’t have to study all that much and could just cram the night before the test. In college, for every hour you’re in class, you’ll probably have to study 2-3 hours.

Takeaway: College is more demanding than high school. And it should be. After all, you’re paying for it. Put the time and effort in and get the most for your investment.

2) In high school you may have to read a handful of books, and they’re usually discussed in class. In college, you’ll be reading a lot more, and even if you don’t review it in class, you’ll be expected to know it.

Takeaway: Never been a big reader? Guess what? You are now.

1) Your high school teachers share their knowledge with you and guide your thinking process. In college, your professors present information and expect you to be able to synthesize data and come up with conclusions and opinions on your own.

Takeaway: Learn how to be a critical thinker, and be confident in sharing your opinions. It’s your mind—now’s the time to use it!


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Whether you’re pursuing your education at a college or university or through MOOCs, MyPath101 will help you supersize your college experience—making it bigger and better than you ever thought possible. We’ll help you make the most of these vital years more quickly, efficiently, purposefully, and enjoyably than you would have otherwise. Then we’ll get you well on your way on the career path of your (educated) choice.

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