Just How Different Is College From High School?

College and high school have to be pretty similar, right? You get up, you go to class, you hang out with your friends, you learn a ton of stuff…they’re basically the same thing. Or are they?

College and high school may look similar on the surface, but look a little deeper and they are wildly different. In fact, the only real similarity is the furthering of your education.

Your college experience will be deeper, richer, and potentially harder than high school ever was. But trust us – it will be totally worth it.

Little Fish, Big Pond

While some high schools have thousands of students, most will have significantly less than colleges. In high school, especially in your senior year, it’s likely that you’ll have an established friendship group, a routine, places you like to hang out, a favorite table in the cafeteria, and so on. You’re the proverbial ‘big fish’.

When you go to college, expect to be right back where you were as a high school freshman, but in a much bigger place. You might not know anyone at all, or know where your classes are, or know where the best hangout spots are. But remember that you didn’t know that when you started high school either – you learned then, and you will again. It’ll be great!

Independent Study

In high school you have a timetable of classes that takes you from the start of the day to the end, with a lunch period in between. Sure you have homework, but the majority of your learning is done in school. In college this changes pretty dramatically; your class timetable might be just an hour here and there over the week, but you will be required to do an enormous amount of independent study. And your one class a day could run for three hours!

You’ll also notice that your workload increases; if you got by in high school without having to study too much, expect a shock to the system when you hit college. You’ll have reading, research, group projects, essays, exams, tests – a bit of everything. You will need to put more time into each assignment, too. No more last-minute cram sessions!

Money

Whether you stay at home for college or move away, it’s going to cost money. Unless your parents are able to fund your tuition and expenses for you that means you will either need to find the money yourself or take on debt through student loans. This is a huge adjustment for a lot of young people: one minute all their money can be spent on trips to the mall and trips, the next they’re responsible for buying their own groceries, paying their own rent and bills, and taking care of themselves.

If you’re worried about the financial side of going to college, there is a ton of help and advice out there about how to manage your money and how to handle your debt. Check out Elfi’s loan calculator

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.