Is college better than high school? Unfortunately for those who ask it, there is no definitive answer to this question.
College is neither better nor worse – it’s just… different. In this post, we are going to highlight the similarities and differences between high school and college, so students making the transition soon can get a better sense of what to expect.
Differences Between College and High School
1. College requires more time and effort than high school
In college, you will have to dedicate much more time and effort to your studies. You will need to process lots of material on your own. Before a big exam, be prepared to spend more than 10 hours studying and expect that it may take you weeks to write a 10 page term paper. If you’re in high school, a good way to prepare for college is to start taking your school work even more seriously.
2. The format of classes may be different than in high school
In many high schools, all of your classes are within the same timeframe every weekday, with an average class duration of about 50 minutes. In college, you may have your classes once, twice or three times a week, and they can last from under an hour to 4 hours.
3. Fewer grades than in high school
This does not mean that it is easier for college students to prove that they know the material. In college, your final course grade may only come from a midterm, a final exam, and a term paper. In high school, your final grade typically consists of test scores, homework, project grades, class participation, and attendance. It means that in high school you have more chances to prove your knowledge.
4. Less input from teachers
College professors differ from high school teachers in terms that they are less interested in success of their students. High school teachers are evaluated on the basis of their students’ grades and performance, but this is not true for college professors.
5. More independence
College students no longer need any “babysitting” from teachers and parents. No one will force you to attend classes, and there are only a few, if any, obligatory classes – as an adult, you choose yourself which subjects you are going to study. No one will tell you what to do and help you with each and every step.
6. Extracurricular activities
Colleges can boast a wider range of available extracurricular activities than high schools, and many of these activities are not necessarily related to studying and sports. There can be ballroom dance communities, theatre troupes, travel clubs, and volunteering communities. In college, you have more opportunities to explore new interests.
7. More motivation
Some high school students do not have any willingness to study and thus can skip classes or show no interest in subjects. On the contrary, successful college students are typically more motivated and excited about the classes, because it was their own choice to enter college and select their primary subjects. Sometimes it may even happen that there will be not enough seats in the classroom for the most popular subjects.
Colleges are of more “global” nature than high schools. Sometimes a college campus can be like a big city with developed infrastructure and its own lifestyle. Your campus will provide you with massive libraries, advanced laboratories, and other facilities that you will not find on any high school campus. Besides, in many cases you will have to live in a dorm on the campus, not with your parents like you used to during in high school.
High school students typically have similar social backgrounds because they live in the same neighborhoods, with a couple of exceptions. College students can be from all over the world, coming from different cultures and having different life experiences.
Similarities Between High School and College
1. Final exam
Both high school and college have a final exam at the end of each course. This test defines the qualification level of students in preparation for the next education level. For a high school, this next level is college, whereas for a college, this level is a graduate school or job market that falls under the student’s qualification or expertise.
2. Term papers, assignments, and group projects
Students at both levels of learning have to write term papers, assignments, group projects, and assessment tests. The purpose of these papers is to make sure that the students are kept busy reading and researching about different concepts in their specialization area.
3. People are, in many ways, the same everywhere
In any community of people that spends a lot of time together, be it school, college, or work, people are basically the same. They begin to form social groups and cliques, and it is up to you to decide which ones you would like to join. Of course, this is not to say that people are actually the same, but rather, that society is structured similarly.
College vs. High School
Now you see how college is different from high school, and that there are more differences than similarities. If it sounds quite stressful for you, then you have an opportunity to experience college life while being in high school with JKCP’s pre-college summer programs.
Here are the highlights for some of them:
- Yale Pre-College Summer Program - This program gives high school students a chance to experience life on the campus of Yale University. Participants can try out college-style academic enrichment classes as well as work on collaborative group projects.
- Enrichment for High School Students - This enrichment program gives students the opportunity to try different subjects to see what is the best fit for their academic direction. Students can choose from over 30 classes that give them a look at what college courses may be like. The courses they choose can be as different as art and engineering, so enrichment gives students the option of trying out a few very different fields of study.
What do you think will be different between high school & college?
Your first days at college can be a real challenge, but preparation can turn them into a pleasant experience. At JKCP will do our best to make your transition from high school to college as smooth as possible, but it can still be a big change.
We want to know what you think the most significant changes will be. Please use the comments section as a forum for discussion!