How does college match up to high school?

Use these tips to know what to expect

Grades in high school

• Grades are given for most assigned work, and homework or attendance grades can usually boost overall grades.

• Extra credit projects are often available to help students raise their grades.

College grades

• Grades are rarely provided for all assigned work, and tests usually make up most of the course grade.

• Extra credit cannot usually be used to raise a grade in college courses.

High school teachers

• Teachers check homework and remind students of incomplete work.

• Teachers provide students with information missed when they were absent and approach students if they need assistance.

• Teachers draw connections for students, helping to lead them through the thinking process.

College professors

• Professors do not always check homework or remind students of incomplete work, but they will assume students can perform the same tasks on exams.

• Professors expect students to seek help and information they missed or do not understand.

• Professors may lecture nonstop, expecting students to identify key points and keep good notes.

High school classes

• Students often have very little time between classes.

• Students spend five days each week in class.

• Students are more or less told which classes to take, and their schedules look packed.

• Teachers closely monitor attendance, and classes rarely exceed 40 students.

College classes

• Students often have hours between classes.

• Students spend 12 to 18 hours a week in class.

• Students arrange their own schedule, and schedules tend to look lighter than they are.

• Professors may not formally take roll, but they still know whether students are attending class.

Testing in high school

• Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material.

• Make-up tests are often available, and teachers frequently rearrange test dates to avoid conflict with other events.

• Teachers frequently conduct review sessions, highlighting key points to study.

Testing in college

• Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.

• Students, not professors, need to organize material to prepare for the test.

• Make-up tests are seldom an option, and if they are, they must be requested.

• Professors usually schedule tests without regard to the demands of other courses or activities.

Personal freedom in high school

• High school is mandatory and free.

• Students’ time is usually structured by others.

• Students need money for special events.

• Students can count on parents and teachers to remind them of their responsibilities and to guide them in setting priorities.

Personal freedom in college

• College is voluntary and expensive.

• Students manage their own time.

• Students need money to meet basic necessities.

• Students will be faced with a larger number of moral and ethical decisions and must balance their responsibilities to set priorities.

Guiding principle in high school

• Students are usually told what their responsibilities are and are corrected if their behavior is out of line.

Guiding principle in college

• Students are to take responsibility for what they do and don’t do, as well as for the consequences for their decisions.