It’s the end of your senior year. You’ve just walked off of the stage after having grabbed your high school diploma. Then it hits you. You graduated school just to go to school again. Yep, that’s right — college is coming. Never fear, we are here to help you out. Listed below are 20 key differences between high school and college. Pay attention — this info could help you graduate!
Farewell to boundaries
Going to college is all about establishing who you are as a person and guiding the trajectory of your life in the adult world. The biggest difference between high school and college comes in how this occurs: you won’t be having your hand held at all. If you break window in your apartment you will have to look for replacement windows. If you don’t go to class nobody will yell at you and get you back in gear.
You are anonymous now
This point is particularly salient if you grew up in a small town where everyone knows everybody else. In college you are just going to be another face in the lecture hall. This can be enlightening but it can also be a scary. Suddenly, you don’t know anyone else. Use your new anonymity to your advantage and cultivate the person you want to become!
Did we mention books?
When you live with your parents they take care of all of the plumbers and plumbing services for busted appliances. In college you take care of them for your apartment. In high school your books are completely free. In college you have to pay a hand and a foot in order to afford your books. For some people this might be the first time they actually value their books.
Enter your money worries
If you decide to go to a four year university then you will be treated to student loans big enough to make you crumple into a ball on the floor. Suddenly you have to pay for your food, your gas, your school, and even the bathroom remodel that you want done. Worrying will never quit. So get used to taking care of your cash and budgeting carefully!
Dealing with roommates
In high school you get to go home to your comfortable bedroom where you are used to everything being how you like it. In college you might end up getting forced to live with someone that you don’t like very much. Welcome to life in the dorms, where roommates are required and you don’t get to choose who you get.
You have to actually learn
Maybe you liked learning in high school but our goal was always just to memorize the text and pass the tests. In college your focus is on actually learning. You will be using these skills immediately after you graduate in order to pursue your chosen career.
Your student ID means something
In high school you would always flinch when someone asked for your ID. In college you are going to want to use your student ID as much as possible. You can get discounts with your college ID at a bunch of different places. Communicate with your school to see where all your ID is accepted.
What will you do after you graduate?
When you were in high school this question had an entirely different meaning. In high school, thinking about the next step would be exciting as you thought about where you’d go to college. Now, the same question is much more loaded: what will you do after you graduate?
Choose your education
In high school you are beholden to the education system of your state. You learn what the state thinks that you should learn. Now you get to decide what you learn in school. This means you are completely responsible for picking classes that contribute toward your life goals. This is exciting and a little bit nerve wracking.
Your social life will change
There are two ways to look at college: you can treat college like a big party or you can act like its the most important education you’ll ever get. We prefer to think of it with both of those concepts combined. Party hard on the weekends and focus on your education during the week. This is your last shot of ‘childhood’ so enjoy it as much as possible.
Plagiarism is a big problem
If you got caught lifting a sentence or two for your essay paper in high school you might get a few points knocked off. In college if you get caught plagiarizing you might end up getting expelled. Do your own homework and don’t let other people write your essays!
Do the legwork
In high school a smart student can get by as long as they take a few notes and pay general attention. In college you are going to need to do all of the readings. You’ll also need to study and prep for all of your tests. Passing college is hard.
College is a choice
High school can feel a little bit like prison at times — if you are overly melodramatic and hooked on Good Charlotte songs. Still, there’s some truth to the fact that you have to go to high school. In college you are there because you choose to be there. This means that nobody is going to hold your hand. Nobody is going to care if you stop going. You need to self motivate and stay focused.
Set your schedule — and stick to it
In high school you were probably up by 7am in order to be to school by 7:45am. In college you can set your classes to all start after 1pm if you want. You can line up your schedule with night classes in order to keep on sleeping in. Or you can set your schedule to have all of your classes done super early in the day. It’s up to you!
School pride is cool now
In high school you were probably made fun of if you had a ton of school ‘spirit’. In college you are going to see people who are fanatic about their school while still managing to be ‘cool’. Taking pride in your school’s programs, athletics, and campus is totally fine.
You’re going to enjoy class
Okay, not all of the time — but often enough! Since you are learning what you want you will likely end up enjoying a few of your classes. We never thought we’d see the day either.
You’ll learn to miss your family
Sure you probably will be excited to get away from home but the first time you have to do your own bathroom remodel or hire plumbers for their plumbing services, you’ll start to miss them! This is especially true if you end up moving out of state to attend classes.
Networking will mean something
This is especially true if you are going into a field that is fairly tight and closed off — such as any career path in the arts. The people you go to class with today will be the bosses and co-workers that you seek out in the future. Nurture strong relationships now and you’ll be able to reap the benefits later on in your life.
You’re leaving home
We’ve stressed this concept a little bit but now we are doubling down. Leaving for college is a seminal moment in life. This is just like a bird jumping out of a nest — they need to learn to fly.
You get to find your freedom
You’ll need to find a few replacement windows in the apartments and homes of your future, but you’ll find your freedom along the way — metaphorically speaking. Leaving home, pursuing your career, and meeting adult friends — these are all going to be life changing moments.