Everyone knows that the worlds of high school and college couldn’t be further apart. But, what parallels can be drawn between the two?
From childhood to adulthood, high school allows you to gain a sense of what it will be like to be an adult.
On the other hand, college allows you to fully take ownership of your time, responsibilities and who you want to become.
As long as you’re able to stay on track of the goal at hand, i.e. getting marvelous grades, keeping a smart schedule and studying like crazy, you’ll be just fine. In college, balance is the key. Work a lot, have a little fun.
If it sounds pretty great, that’s because it absolutely is.
Here are a few comparisons that you’ll experience during your transition into the college lifestyle:
- High School: In high school, you know everyone in your class.
College: In college, you’re lucky to know one person in your class.
High School High school books are provided are little to no cost.
College: College textbooks cost a small fortune.
High School: You have to live with your parents in high school.
College: You get to live with your friends in college.
High School: You wake up early in the morning for class in high school.
College: You wake up for your first class (or whenever you want).
High School: In high school, you were forced to learn all subjects.
College: In college, you get to learn whatever you want to.
High School: In high school, your time and schedule are dictated by others.
College: In college, you take back ownership of time management.
High School: In high school, teachers read from the textbooks they use.
College: In college, professors refer to the textbooks they wrote.
High School: In high school, you studied comfortably at home before a test.
College: In college, the library becomes your home away from home.
High School: In high school, you wrote notes to friends.
College: In college, you take notes for yourself.
High School: In high school, you’re able finish all your homework in one night.
College: In college, that’s a near-to-impossible feat.
High School: In high school, you have a full day of classes.
College: In college, you plan your schedule to your liking.
High School: In high school, you’re stuck with a set social hierarchy.
College: In college, you get to choose who you spend time around.
High School: In high school, assigned reading means a night off from homework.
College: In college, you actually need to do the reading – and it takes all night.
High School: In high school, everyone is required to be there.
College: In college, everyone wants to be there.
High School In high school, you worried about what “looked” cool.
College: In college, you’re too busy to care about what other people think.
High School: In high school, you’re stuck in a social “role” that others cast you in.
College: In college, you can be whoever you want to be.
High School: In high school, you have adults telling you what’s expected of you.
College: In college, it’s just expected.
High School: In high school, teachers gear classes towards average learners.
College: In college, average is the bare (emphasis on bare) minimum.
High School: High school attendance is mandatory.
College: College attendance is (strongly) suggested.
High School: In high school, you had a curfew you had to follow.
College: In college, you use your own judgment for what you have time to do.
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An IvyWise Student Talks About the Transition to College
I led a relatively sheltered life before leaving for college. As an only child whose parents wanted to ensure that I remained focused, I had been enrolled at an all-girls school for seven years. To their horror, I ultimately chose to attend the farthest school I applied to—Washington University in St. Louis, a shocking 16-hour drive from my home in New Jersey.
A cheeky high school graduate who couldn’t wait to start this new adventure, I bought my parents Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years as their “graduation gift.” While I was slightly anxious, I was also ready for a new beginning. Within an hour of sending my deposit, I had joined the Class of 2013 Facebook group, requested to be friends with everyone in my pre-orientation program and dorm floor, and written on multiple discussion boards. I was ecstatic.
By the time move-in date finally rolled around, I had talked to classmates with majors ranging from Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. While I had expected the transition to college to be an eye-opening experience, I had not foreseen all the different interests I would encounter. My first month was marked with a professor asking me to serenade her during office hours to practice better projecting my voice, a group of friends blindfolding me and leading me to the St. Louis Arch to celebrate my inauguration into Student Union, and countless phone calls to my mom while walking to and from classes.
While I love these unique experiences and unexpected surprises, I also love my daily life and have fallen into a fairly comfortable routine. On a random day, I might discuss an upcoming Global Economy project over breakfast with several classmates at Einstein Bros. Bagels, attend a Business Strategy class, lead a campus tour for prospective Washington University students, study for my Market Competition and Value Appropriation exam, meet my suitemates for dinner, work on my paper for Management Communication, and meet up with friends for gelato and crepes at Ursa’s, my favorite on-campus café.
As a rising junior, I have experienced quite a few aspects of college and can pass on several pieces of advice to those students just embarking on their college journey:
- Visit your professors during office hours—they’re really not that intimidating and actually enjoy talking to students. These relationships may also help you when you ask for letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate school.
- Go out to that Justin Bieber concert on a Monday night—it’s worth it; trust me. Don’t forget to manage your time well though!
- Skype with your parents often—you’ll find yourself missing them more than you might imagine.
College may be the best four years of your life. I wish you good luck with the transition, have a wonderful time, and make the most of your own college experience!