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How is College Different from High School?

Personal Freedom in High School

  • Your time is structured by others.

  • You can count on your parents and teachers to remind you of your responsibilities and to guide you in setting priori- ties.

  • Guiding principle: you will usually be told what your responsibilities are and corrected if your behavior is out of line.

High School Classes

  • You spend 6 hours each day -- 30 hours a week in class.

  • Most of your classes are arranged for you.

  • You are not responsible for knowing what it takes to gradu-


Personal Freedom in College

  • You manage your own time.

  • You will be faced with a large number of moral and ethical decisions you have not had to face previously. You must balance your responsibilities and set priorities.

  • Guiding principle: You're old enough to take responsibility for what you do and don't do, as well as for the consequences of your decisions.

College Classes

  • You spend 12-16 hours each week in class. More time will be spent study- ing, usually 2 hours for every 1 hour of time spent in class; if you take 12 units, you will need 24 hours of studying, or 36 hours a week for class activ- ities.

  • You arrange your own schedule in consultation with a counselor. Schedules tend to look lighter than they really are.

  • Graduation requirements are complex and differ for different majors and sometimes different years. You are expected to know which requirements apply to you.

week, and this may be mostly last minute test preparation. You often need to read or hear presentations only once to

You need to review class notes and text regularly. Guiding principle: It's up to you to read and understand the assigned mate-

learn all you need to learn about them. Guiding principle: You will usually be told in class what you

rial; lectures and assignments proceed from the assumption that you've already done so.

need to learn from assigned readings.

Tests in High School

  • Make-up tests are often available.

  • Teachers frequently rearrange test dates to avoid conflicts with school events.

  • Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material.

  • Mastery is usually seen as the ability to reproduce what you were taught in the form in which it was presented to you, or to solve the kinds of problems you were shown how to solve.

Grades in High School

  • Grades are given for most assigned work.

  • Initial test grades, especially when they are low, may not have an adverse effect on your overall grade.

  • Guiding principle: "Effort counts." Courses are usually structured to reward a "good-faith effort."

Tests in College

  • Make-up tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them.

  • Instructors in different courses usually schedule tests without regard to the demands of other courses or outside activities.

  • Testing is usually infrequent, often cumulative, covering large amounts of material, you, not the professor; need to organize the material to prepare for the test.

  • Mastery is often seen as the ability to apply what you've learned to new sit- uations or to solve new kinds of problems.

Grades in College

  • Grades may not be provided for all assigned work.

  • Watch out for your first tests. These are usually "wake-up calls" to let you know what is expected but they also may account for a substantial part of your course grade.

  • Guiding principle: "Results count." Though "good-faith effort" is important in regard to the instructor's willingness to help you achieve good results, it will not substitute for results when a professor is giving you a grade.

High School Teachers

  • Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance.

  • Teachers have been trained in teaching methods to assist in imparting knowledge to you, the student.

  • Teachers present materials to help you understand the material in the textbook.

  • Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates.

College Instructors

  • Instructors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need help or assistance.

  • Instructors have been trained in their particular areas.

  • Instructors may not follow the textbook. Instead, to amplify the text, they may give illustrations, provide background information, or discuss research about the topic you are studying. Or, they may expect you to relate classes to the textbook readings.

  • Instructors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus; the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when it is due, and how it will be graded.

Studying in High School

  • You may study outside of class as little as 0 to 2 hours a

Studying in College

  • You need to study at least 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class.


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