The Differences Between High School and College: What to Expect

by Allison Davis

The transition from high school to college can sometimes be stressful. There are many unanswered questions rolling through your head about what the classes will be like, how you are going to get to know new people, how you will manage your time, what it will be like living away from home, etc. The change from high school to college is a big step, but there are so many great things that will come from it. The first step in preparing for college is to understand some of the important differences between high school and college. Being prepared for these differences will surely help you have a smoother transition!

Class Time

The library is a great place to study — but it’s up to you to make it a priority.

In high school you spend about 7 hours a day going from one class to the next, following the same class schedule every day. You wake up early in the morning and get home midafternoon. On the other hand, in college you will spend roughly 12-16 hours in class a week with breaks in between some classes. You will also not have the same exact classes every day of the week. There are classes offered in the mornings and evenings, so you can take that into consideration when planning your schedule; however, you cannot choose what time the class is offered. I chose to have breaks in between all of my classes because that way I can do some homework and grab a bite to eat before my next class.

Class Size

The size of high school you went to will play a role in how you feel about class sizes in college. Most of my classes at ATI have about 20 students in them. My largest class is roughly 80 students. I enjoy having smaller classes because I feel that I develop relationships with a lot of my classmates. My professors engage with students in the classroom and they enjoy getting to know their students personally. The professors are very dedicated to helping students succeed; however, if students still struggle in certain classes, there is always help. The tutors at ATI are a huge help to students who need guidance in specific courses. It is very assuring knowing that if I ever need assistance I can use my resources to get the help I need.

Class Challenge

A lot of my high school teachers used to tell us that college was going to be so different than high school in terms of time management, the level of difficulty of the classes, etc. These comments made me a little nervous about college because I was worried I would not do well. As I am almost finished with my first year of college, I can confidently say that what my teachers said was true, but it all depends on how you handle challenges. The day-to-day schedule is very different than high school and the classes are obviously more difficult, but if you stay on task and put the work in, you will be perfectly fine.


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