High School is mandatory and free.

College is voluntary and  you pay for it.

Your time is structured by others.

You manage your own time.

You need permission to participate in extracurricular activities.

You decide whether to participate in extracurricular activities.

Each day you proceed from one class to another with short breaks.

You spend about 6 hours each day, or 30 hours a week, in class.

You often have hours between classes; class times may be day, evening or online. 

You spend only 12 to 22 hours each week in class. You will need to discipline yourself to study two hours for every hour you're in class.


High School teachers might be able to see you before, during or after class.

College instructors EXPECT AND WANT you to visit during their scheduled office hours.

Teachers present material to supplement and help you understand what's in the textbook.

Instructors don't always follow the textbook. They lecture to provide background information or current research.

Teachers often write information on the board to be copied in your notes. They will remind you about test dates.

Instructors may lecture the entire class and expect you to identify the important points in your notes. Listening and note taking skills are a must!!

Teachers impart knowledge and facts and sometimes lead you through the thinking process.

Instructors expect you to think on your own and understand seemingly unrelated topics.


In high school testing is frequent and covers relatively small amounts of material.

In college testing is infrequent and may cover large amounts of material and use multiple test item formats.

Makeup tests when you are absent are often available.

Makeup tests when absent are seldom available and only at the instructor’s discretion.

Teachers frequently rearrange test dates to avoid conflict with school events.

Instructors schedule tests according to the course outline and not in coordination with other courses or outside school activities.

Teachers often conduct review sessions pointing out important concepts that will be on the test.

Instructors sometimes offer review sessions. If they do, you must be an active participant; come prepared with questions about the material.


Extra credit projects are often available to help raise your class grade.

Extra credit is generally not available in college classes.

Consistently good homework grades may help your overall grade when tests grades are low.

Grades on tests and major papers provide most, if not all, of the final grade for the course.

Initial test grades, even when they are low, might not have a negative effect on your final grade.

Watch out!! First tests are usually a “wake up call” to let you know what is expected; they may account for a part of your course grade. Many are shocked by their first grades.

You may graduate as long as you have passed all your required courses with a grade of D or higher.

You can graduate only if your final average for all classes is at least a 2.0 or C. Next semester registration or transferring to a university may be prevented if your grade point average (GPA) is below a 2.0. Classes with a grade of D often won't transfer.