Niche College Scholarship Blog


High School vs. College

High School vs. College
Liz Montenegro

Your senior year of high school is full of ups and downs, and you might have mixed feelings about starting college next year. On one hand, you may be excited to start fresh in a new place and meet new people. But you might also be feeling quite nervous about all of the changes coming your way. It can be nerve-wracking to leave behind all that feels safe and familiar to you.

In high school, there’s a good chance you have seen a lot of the same people year after year (unless you’ve moved around a lot) and have been on the same schedule for years. Pretty soon, that’s all about to change. But don’t fret! Not only will a lot of these changes be good, but your experience will be even better with the right mindset.

Let’s take a look at some observations made by college freshmen about ways the college experience compares to their high school days.

Making friends. The college student body is likely to be larger and more eclectic than high school, so you are likely to make friends who share more common interests with you. High school students live locally to their school, whereas college and university students come from all over the country and world. Be sure to look up your college’s upcoming events calendar so you can catch some opportunities to socialize and make new connections.

Flexibility. In college, there is no regular bell-to-bell schedule. Students can choose what time of day and which days of the week to take their classes, depending on when the classes are offered. Some students take night classes while they work part-time. Others commute home, so they pack in two days full of classes and use the rest of the week to study at home. Many colleges have a 100% online or hybrid learning option, and virtual events have been growing in popularity due to Covid-19 precautions. Fridays tend to be ghost towns on many college campuses because so few classes are offered then, but it varies from major to major.

Freedom. Ultimately, you are now the one in charge of your choices. Feeling tempted to skip class? No one will stand in your way (except for, maybe, that nagging thought that you should probably go). The college life comes with many more decisions, so be sure to choose wisely. Having more freedom all at once can be exhilarating, so it’s important to find a good rhythm for yourself as you balance your studies and social life.

Motivation. College professors are not in charge of discipline like your high school teachers were. In contrast to high schoolers, college students are in class by choice, and your professor is there to facilitate engaging class discussions, and not to make sure you get your work done. Most college students are either paying for their courses or using financial aid, with the goal of gaining employment after graduation, so they have more motivation to stay focused and avoid jeopardizing their efforts toward earning their degree.

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