This website uses cookies.  Find out more in our Privacy Policy.

High School vs. College

As you transition from high school to college, there is a shift in in responsibility and expectations in many key areas that you should be aware of.

Transition High School College
Responsibility In high school, your teachers, family, and friends held you accountable, making sure you went to all of your classes and completed all of your homework assignments. In college, you are on your own. In other words, you are responsible for making sure you go to class and do your homework and connect with the resources you need in order to be successful.
Deadlines In high school, the teachers would often break down assignments for you to help you stay on track with reading/writing assignments and research projects. In college, the professors will give you a syllabus at the beginning of each semester and expect you to set your own deadlines for turning in assignments on time. For example, they will not break down the number of pages you need to read each week. The expectation will be for you to read the book by a certain date and turn in all assignments on time.
Studying In high school, you were able to complete many of your assignments in class. In fact, any homework you had to do outside of class probably required little time. In college, you must study outside of class. For every hour you are in class, you should expect to spend two to three hours completing assignments and studying outside of class. Studying is an important part of college.
Resources In high school, your teachers were there to assist you and answer questions for you while you were in class working on your assignments. Your teachers might have checked in with you often to see how you were doing and if you were struggling. In college, there are many amazing resources available to you. There are college faculty and staff who want to help you be successful, but you have to seek out the resources you need.
Decision Making In high school, you are treated as a minor. Your parents/guardians are your decision makers, disciplinarians, and confidants. In college, you are treated as an adult. You are expected to make decisions on your own. While the college will work with your parents when possible, unless you are listed as a dependent on your parent's tax forms, Agnes Scott cannot share educational records with your parents/guardians without a signed release of information form
Balance In high school, you were usually free to have a social life when you were not in school (within the rules that your parents provided). In college, you must balance your academics and your social life. It is important that your academics are a priority over work and socializing.
Course Selection In high school, many of your classes may have been chosen for you. In college, you choose your own classes and major. It is important that you schedule a meeting with an academic adviser prior to selecting and registering for your classes to make sure you are taking classes that support your degree program.
Adapted by permission from Colorado State University, Colorado Springs.
Back to top