The Difference Between High School and College
April 25, 2017
Acceptance letters and final decisions circle the senior lounge as the Class of 2017 prepares for the next chapter of their education. In mid-April, Academy begins the bittersweet process of saying goodbye to the seniors, which includes activities like Honors Convocation, running the halls, and Senior Farewell. After completing the year long college acceptance process, the actual transition to college still looms ahead and listed below are a few ways in which high school and college differ:
- Classes in High School
Braving the walk across the bridge, Academy students have classes in any and all classrooms from the fourth floor to the new Arts Center. Most classes have a capacity of about 25 students who may be from any grade if the course allows. Since AHN’s 85 minute block schedule doesn’t have all eight courses daily, students are left with more responsibility to manage their time in preparation for college courses.
Academy sticks to the classic eight hour schedule that many high schools follow, but it is customized to be more effective with longer sets every other day. Followed by extracurriculars and homework, there is not as much extra time in high school as there is in college.
Sophomore Riley Kayton says, “After school I go to crew and by the time I get home and eat it’s 8 so I start my homework as soon as I can so I can go to bed and do it all over again. I don’t really have extra time to decide to do something else. My routine forces me to do my work if I want to go to sleep… which I do.”
- Classes in College
Class sizes vary depending on the college, but in most large state schools class sizes range from 100 to 500 students in an auditorium style lecture hall. Smaller, private colleges usually have a class size around 15 to 50 students.
Typically, there are two types of classes in an undergraduate’s schedule. These include a 50 minute lecture on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and a 90 minute lecture or lab on Tuesday and Thursday. With approximately two or three classes a day, college students may have time in between lessons to study or relax while sometimes, their schedule may demand them to attend classes back-to-back.
- Assignments in High School
With a syllabus that is always subject to change and assemblies popping up on a weekly basis, teachers are prone to adjust due dates of assignments. Many teachers will also remind students before something is due to not forget or not to turn it in late, which is a luxury that is mainly reserved for high school. For example, the yearly research paper is usually done in a process of several steps, with check marks along the way, while in college it is left solely to the student to start and complete the paper on time… and there may be more than one each year.
- Assignments in College
The key to staying on top of any college course: the syllabus. Given on the first day of class, the syllabus outlines the entire semester with due dates, and test and quiz dates. These dates are not to be forgotten and they are rarely subject to change, so remember to mark them in a planner with the brightest yellow highlighter money can buy.
Gabrielle Vivero, Class of 2016, says “It’s so different from high school, professors don’t remind you anything. The syllabus is the only way to survive… and to study.”
- Time Management in High School
Study halls allow for students to allot a certain amount of time to one or several specific areas of study every other day at Academy. With a more open schedule in college, it is up to the student to create their own version of study hall by going to the library or a coffee shop for an hour or more in order to knock out an assignment or study for a test. The freedom to choose what to do with free time is one that should not be taken lightly, whether in high school or college.
- Time Management in College
Because college students usually have a more spread out schedule, there is more time to study, or to not study. It is crucial to create a routine to stick to in order to have a balanced and productive day. Leaving assignments to the night before is something many students may be guilty of, but studies show it is not an effective way to complete work. Smaller chunks done gradually are easier on students’ memory and make for a much less stressful day before an assignment is due.
Senior Kendall Perez says, “Something I really want to work on at Furman next year is how to manage my time better. Academy has helped a lot but I still sometimes fall behind and get distracted. I like study groups because the other people are relying on you for studying help and you don’t want to let them down, so that’s a good motivation.”
DISCLAIMER: College scenarios are based on undergraduate student experiences at primarily large public universities.