High School vs. College Classes

Cabrianna Johnson, Contributor

Coming to college with so many changes to prepare for, classes seem to get pushed to the side. Upcoming students are focusing more on dorm room decorations and parties; assuming that college classes are basically the same as high school. Wrong. While there seem to be similarities, there also are even more differences.So here is a guideline of what to expect taking college courses. 



In high school: A paper with class objectives and necessary materials for the class that your parents usually sign and then you forget about it by week two. 

In college: The bible of all students including all dates for assignments and test, office hours, and attendance policy. You will reference this paper the whole semester. 


Due Dates 

In high school: Teachers reminded you when assignments were due, two weeks, a week, or the day before. 

In College: Nope (maybe if you are lucky they MIGHT). You’re responsible to read your syllabus and keep up with everything. 


Late Work

In high school: Most teachers usually would accept it, maybe have a certain policy. Had an absent policy for assignments and if missed a test– no problem! They will let you take it when you get back, maybe even give you an extra day. 

In college:There are no exceptions. If it’s due at 11:59 and you try to turn it in at 12:01, it’s a zero. Missed class, it’s on you. Missed a test, some professors would let you make it up, most won’t. 


Class Time 

In high school: You probably had six to eight classes a day spending around 35 hours a week in school. 

In college: You make your schedule and can have anywhere from one class to five classes a day. Spending only 12 to 18 hours a week in class. 



In high school: You received study guides and studied the night before the test. Maybe you were the type of the student who could get away without studying and still do fantastic

In college: You need to study about two to four hours a week for every class that you have. There are no study guides and review games. You are responsible for figuring out what would be on the test. Can’t rely on your knowledge from not studying anymore; doesn’t always guarantee an A aymore. 



In high school: You had a grading system that was updated regularly with your results. Homework was graded and played an important factor in your overall grade. 

In college: Some professors will keep you up to date with your grades, but most will not. In your syllabus, you should be able to calculate your own grade by your test results and other assignments. Test are the biggest factor in determining your overall grade. Homework is a small portion 



In high school: Teachers would take attendance regularly. Show up late to class, you were asked for an excuse, and leaving class early was not tolerated. 

In college: Professors don’t care if you are in class, some will still take attendance. Some professors have an attendance policy that can result in an F in class if not followed. You can show up late and leave early and not be questioned. 



In high school: You knew mostly everyone in your class, knew them probably years passed. Class size is around 20-30 people. You share answers and socialize together. 

In college: You won’t know everyone, the first day would be a room full of strangers. Ranging anywhere from 20-300 classmates. There is minimal talking and everyone is there to take notes and leave. It’s up to you to break the ice with the classmates around you. 



In high school: Let’s face it; there were teachers that did not receive respect from students and inappropriate behavior was thought as funny and entertaining. Students would receive a disciplinary act of some kind.  

In college: Inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated, it is not common for inappropriate behavior to occur but when it does it’s not tolerated. It can result in to withdrawal from class. Professors receive the utmost respect. 

Don’t ask the professor if you can use the restroom, just walk out on your own.

Don’t asked the professor when a paper is due; it’s on your syllabus. 

Don’t call them Mr, Ms, or Mrs. It’s Professor and Dr. 

Don’t go to them before class to talk about your struggles in class; go to their office hours 

Don’t expect them to “know” you. They are there to lecture, not to make friends. 

Don’t sleep in class 

Do ask INTELLIGENT questions in class

Do get a study buddy. Talk to the students around you, similar to high school classmates

Do take notes.

Do meet with your professors during office hours 

Do engage in lecture and take notes  


The faster you learn and adjust to the changes of education in college–the faster you’ll adjust to the pace of college life bettering the chances for academic success.