How College Differs From High School: Let Us Count The Ways 2You were the head honcho in high school. You didn’t have to study because things came easily to you. If you had problems, you could usually count on your parents to run interference. Now that high school is a thing of the past and you are staring down the barrel of college it is important that you realize that “College ain’t high school, baby.”

College isn’t for the puny of heart. Starting now, you might as well forget about parents coming to salvage you because it doesn’t work that way.

In college, you are expected to know what to do. High school was your training camp and dress rehearsal; this is the real deal.

You are expected to follow whatever rules are given to you by your resident assistant (RA) in the dorm, the university administrators and your professors. This is a far cry from high school where a component of your education entailed learning how to do things. Hope you were paying attention because you are going to need this knowledge when attending a university.

There isn’t going to be anyone to wake you up in the morning and greet you with hot oatmeal (if mothers actually still do that) and there isn’t going to be anyone to tell you go to bed at night.


One of the biggest challenges for newbie co-eds is learning how to manage their time. In high school, it is more or less managed for you by parents, teachers, and coaches. In college, you arrange your own schedule and must figure out a way to accommodate it if you want to survive academically.

For example, if you have an 8 a.m. class on Wednesday it is unwise to stay out gallivanting until 3 a.m. That’s a no brainer but some college students take a long time realizing this. In high school you probably had a curfew and if you were late there was hell to pay. There isn’t a curfew at college. You have to rein yourself in and set your own limits. Mom and dad aren’t there to do it for you.


College professors aren’t babysitters. They may or may not take attendance. However, you are expected to know the answers to the questions on the test so it is wise to show up to class. If you fail, you fail. College is not for those who expect to be indulged or catered to.

In high school, if you made an unwise decision the likelihood is that you were instructed not to repeat this behavior and, yes, you may have paid a consequence. In college, it is assumed that you already know what is acceptable and what is not because no further instruction is going to be given. If you don’t know, you will soon find out and pay some harsh consequences.

In high school, if you were sick or missed school for some reason you were probably given the opportunity to make up the test. This doesn’t necessarily happen in college so don’t be cavalier about tests. Get to class and take them.


The college experience is a double edged sword: Along with your newfound freedom you are also taking on newfound responsibility. It’s another step in your growth and maturation process. Some students adapt well and easily accept both their freedom (and don’t abuse it) and accountability. Others struggle.

High school is mandatory, college is a choice. If you are lucky enough to be there, don’t blow this once in a lifetime opportunity. Learn everything you can. Take the time to get acquainted with your professors. Make the effort to get to know the girl that lives down the hall that you pass every morning or the guy on the floor upstairs because they interest you. Introduce yourself. Even if a friendship does not pan out, no harm, no foul.

Challenge yourself. Take courses that scare you. You might be surprised at how well you end up doing. Step out of the box and try things that you’ve never done before. When you spread your wings and delve into subjects and activities that you are unfamiliar with you are broadening your horizons, which turns you into a multi-dimensional person. People will want to know you because you’re smart, funny and accomplished.

College is not high school and most co-eds are glad of that. Although the high school experience may have been a hoot it is time to notch it up and see exactly what you’re made of, how smart you are and how resilient, persistent and determined you can be.

Amanda Greene is Brand Manager at RHL, premiere online supplier of dorm room bedding.

How College Differs From High School: Let Us Count The Ways 3

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