All Women's Talk

7 Major Differences between High School and College ...

By Sabrina

The many differences between high school and college can make the transition pretty rough, which is probably why many students either drop out of college or avoid it altogether. But the differences between high school and college shouldn’t scare you away, and simply being aware of them can help ease the transition. Learning the major differences should help ready you for the brand new and exciting world of college!

1 Size

I attend a relatively large high school, with between 900 and 1000 students per grade, yet one of the greatest differences between high school and college I have noticed is still their sizes. Most high schools are tiny compared to the average college. Because of this, the student to faculty ratio is often extremely different, and there is a wider variety of student personalities on campus. Before you begin applying to colleges, make sure you consider the size, and whether you feel more comfortable in a large or small school.

2 Educators

Generally, teachers and professors are entirely different species! There is no hand-holding in college, very little extra credit, and less one-on-one help than in high school. Professors teach in a college because they prefer working with adults, so it’s your job to act like one. It takes a certain level of maturity and self-discipline to deal with professors, much more than it does to deal with high school teachers.


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3 Living Arrangements

Unless you attend a boarding school, you have had to commute from your home to campus each day of high school. However, in college, often times students live in dorms. Dormitories have a completely different vibe than living in a house with just your family, or even an apartment. Eating, sleeping, and grooming habits you’ve had all your life will all change in college as you live among other students, if you choose to live on campus.

4 Money

Money becomes a real concern in college, as you may open up your first bank account on your own, take on a part time job, and in general become more financially independent. Not to mention the daunting notion of student loans that can be overbearing if you don’t have a parent or scholarships to help you out. If you thought managing money in high school was difficult between Starbucks runs and expensive movie tickets, think again!

5 Freedom

A major plus many high school students look forward to in college is increased freedom. Living on campus, you won’t have your parents there to enforce a curfew each night, nor give you permission about where you can go and whom you can go with. That being said, with great freedom comes great responsibility. You’ll need to learn when to say “no” to yourself and to others in college, because no one will be there to do it for you like in high school.

6 Stress

Not just your level of stress will change in college, but also what you stress out about. Grades, dating, and the future will still be sources of stress, and may become even more stressful in college. However, now you’ll begin to stress about budgeting your money, earning your degree, and finding a job more than ever before. But don’t let your stress get the best of you! Getting accepted into college is a huge step and major accomplishment; don’t let stress get in the way of following your dreams.

7 Dating

College dating is a completely different game than high school dating. First of all, if you never dated in high school and felt a bit undesired, don’t worry, because universities are so much bigger that there really are plenty of fish in the sea! You’re bound to catch a few fish, or maybe just the right fish, at college. If you have dated before, you’ll experience several changes between your high school and college relationships. For starters, your mom won’t have to pick you up on your date! That means more freedom, but also more responsibility. You have to make sure you’re always making the wisest and best decisions for YOU when dating in college.

If you’ve already been accepted into your university of choice, it’s time to start getting excited and prepared! But even younger students should know that, despite the vast differences between college and high school, there is much to look forward to after graduation. What major differences between high school and college have you noticed?

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