Difference Between High School and College


So, what’s the difference between high school and college?

A lot of new students wonder how college will be different from high school. Here are a few examples:

The Differences Between High School and College
High School Expectations College Expectations
Your class schedules are set for you. You have the opportunity to choose your class schedule. Seek out your Academic Advisor for advice on how to select a schedule that best suits your needs.
Teachers may approach you if they believe you need assistance. Faculty, who are usually helpful, may expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance. It is OK to ask for help!
Teachers provide you with information you missed when you were absent. Listen, faculty know that life happens, and you may miss a class or two. However, college instructors expect you to get information you may have missed from fellow classmates or by reviewing the syllabus and possibly checking eCampus if your instructor utilizes this feature to post or update important information.
Teachers may take time to remind you of assignments and due dates. Faculty expect you to read and review the course syllabus which may include information about assignments, tests and project due dates. The syllabus is the official course guide and will navigate you through the class!
High school may be a teaching environment in which you acquire facts and skills. College is a place of higher learning and an environment in which you take responsibility for thinking through and applying what you have learned. This is a time when you may take your creativity to a new level, once you have strong, foundational critical thinking skills.
Teachers are often available for conversation before, during or after class. Faculty may not have availability for conversation or consultation before, during and/or after class. It is always good to check and see if your instructor has office hours, so that you can “walk-in.” Another good idea is to make an appointment. Questions are welcome! Just make sure it is a good time for you both so that your instructor will have the time to assist you.
Typically you may study outside of class maybe 0- 2 hours each week especially when you have tests or exams. Typically, you need to study at least 2 to 3 hours a week for each hour in class. This sounds like a lot and can be an adjustment. All Dallas College campuses have resources available to help.
Assignments and readings in high school may include short readings then discussion in class, which may be reviewed again later. Assignments and readings in college are typically longer than what you may be used to. Faculty may not revisit what you learned over and over. The expectation is for college students to spend time outside of class rereading and studying their notes and textbooks for deeper understanding.
Your time and schedule may be structured by others. You manage your own time.
Make-up tests, assignments and extended deadlines maybe negotiable in high school. Typically make-up tests/assignments and extensions for deadlines rarely occur in college. Be sure to check the class syllabus for policies regarding late work and make-up tests. If you have questions about whether you can submit late work, ask your instructor in advance of any assignment or test.

One of the ways to help navigate the transition from high school to college is to continue asking questions and engage with the college culture and resources. There are times when it will be a little uncomfortable but that is a part of the learning and growth process! When it gets uncomfortable, reach out your academic coach or academic advisor. We can talk about what’s on your mind and see how you can make the most thoughtful decisions for yourself.