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20 Differences Between High School & College Life

If college sounds pretty great, that's because IT IS.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

April 21, 2021

Nervous about the transition from high school to college? Fear not: college life is amazing.
20 Differences Between High School & College Life
About 67% of high school graduates continue their education with a college degree, according to the most recent data from Education.org. Though it’s generally the next step, there are times when the high school and college experiences couldn’t be more different. From childhood to adulthood, high school allows you to gain a sense of what it will be like to be an adult. On the other hand, college allows you to fully take ownership of your time, responsibilities and who you want to become. As long as you’re able to stay on track of the goal at hand, i.e. getting marvelous grades, keeping a smart schedule and studying like crazy, you’ll be just fine.

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In college, balance is the key. Work a lot, have a little fun. If it sounds pretty great, that’s because it absolutely is. Here are a few comparisons that you’ll experience during your transition into the college lifestyle.

20 Differences between High School & College Life:

  1. High School: In high school, you know everyone in your class.
    College: In college, you’re lucky to know one person in your class.
  2. High School High school books are provided are little to no cost.
    College: College textbooks cost a small fortune.
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  4. High School: You have to live with your parents in high school.
    College: You get to live with your friends in college.
  5. High School: You wake up early in the morning for class in high school.
    College: You wake up for your first class (or whenever you want).
  6. High School: In high school, you were forced to learn all subjects.
    College: In college, you get to learn whatever you want to.
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  8. High School: In high school, your time and schedule are dictated by others.
    College: In college, you take back ownership of time management.
  9. High School: In high school, teachers read from the textbooks they use.
    College: In college, professors refer to the textbooks they wrote.
  10. High School: In high school, you studied comfortably at home before a test.
    College: In college, the library becomes your home away from home.
  11. High School: In high school, you wrote notes to friends.
    College: In college, you take notes for yourself.
  12. High School: In high school, you're able finish all your homework in one night.
    College: In college, that’s a near-to-impossible feat.
  13. High School: In high school, you have a full day of classes.
    College: In college, you plan your schedule to your liking.
  14. High School: In high school, you’re stuck with a set social hierarchy.
    College: In college, you get to choose who you spend time around.
  15. High School: In high school, assigned reading means a night off from homework.
    College: In college, you actually need to do the reading - and it takes all night.
  16. High School: In high school, everyone is required to be there.
    College: In college, everyone wants to be there.
  17. High School In high school, you worried about what “looked” cool.
    College: In college, you’re too busy to care about what other people think.
  18. High School: In high school, you’re stuck in a social “role” that others cast you in.
    College: In college, you can be whoever you want to be.
  19. High School: In high school, you have adults telling you what’s expected of you.
    College: In college, it’s just expected.
  20. High School: In high school, teachers gear classes towards average learners.
    College: In college, average is the bare (emphasis on bare) minimum.
  21. High School: High school attendance is mandatory.
    College: College attendance is (strongly) suggested.
  22. High School: In high school, you had a curfew you had to follow.
    College: In college, you use your own judgment for what you have time to do.

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