How High School Courses Prep You for College

Believe it or not, you're more prepared to take on college courses than you think!

By Samantha Brody, Varsity Tutors’ Contributor

January 06, 2015

How High School Courses Prep You for College How High School Courses Prep You for College

When you first compare high school classes with college courses, their differences can seem frighteningly enormous.

In high school, your classes may feel familiar and safe, as they often utilize the same format and structure as your courses in previous years.

Your college classes, on the other hand, may involve the strange and unknown – new concepts like discussion sections and tests that constitute your entire grade.

Before you begin to worry, however, take heart – you are more prepared than you might think!

Here are three ways that your high school courses have readied you for the college curriculum you will soon face:

Discussion Sections
While the idea of attending class in a large lecture hall may seem intimidating at first, the intimacy of high school courses has, in fact, prepared you for classes with a student-to-teacher ration of 100:1 (or more).

The lectures themselves may involve many students, but your discussion sections will resemble the class sizes with which you are more familiar. There, you will be asked to share your thoughts and opinions on the course material.

You will also be able to ask questions of the teaching assistant, as well as form relationships with your educators and peers.

In other words, the format is very similar to a high school class! The primary difference is that the lecture is simply relegated to a separate time, and it occurs with more students present.

Study and Time Management Skills
On a practical level, your high school courses are excellent preparation for college because they enable you to practice study skills and time management. After juggling the half dozen or more classes required of you in high school, your freshman course load may seem less demanding – at least in terms of dividing your attention between multiple subjects.

Of course, college professors will expect you to be more independent. They may not check in with you to ensure you are completing all your readings in a timely manner, and they may not offer extra credit. But if you can utilize the time management skills that you have learned while balancing high school classes, extracurricular activities, and more, remaining on top of your college courses may not be as difficult as you imagine!

Baseline Knowledge
Your high school classes can help you in college simply because they provide you with a basic foundation in a variety of subjects.

AP and honors courses, for instance, are not just vital to the admissions process – oftentimes, they allow you to bypass introductory classes and enroll in specialized, upper-level courses in college.

Not taking any AP or honors classes? No problem! Regular high school courses are also designed to give you a taste of the knowledge that colleges offer – and this information can help you approach and relate to even the most daunting college class.

It may not feel like it now, but each course you take builds a bridge to the next, your understanding ever increasing. There is so much to be learned even as high school draws to a close. Good luck!



Samantha Brody is a professional tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 2014.

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