Is College Harder Than High School? Well, Not Exactly

So after four years of slugging it out in high school, you’ve finally made it to your graduation. Congratulations! You’ve officially survived high school! But now comes the real challenge: college life. All throughout your high school years, your teachers were quick to point out just how much harder college is, that professors will not be lenient, that universities will be tough on bad students, and that there’s a big chance you will fail.

But let me tell you: it’s not all doom and gloom, and despite what your teachers say, it’s actually not that bad.

Which isn’t to say, it’s not going to be difficult!

So, is college harder than high school? In a way, yes, it is, and here are some reasons why:

Choose your Own Adventure!

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Probably one of the best things about college is that you get to choose, well, pretty much everything: your classes, your dorm, the places you’ll hang out, the food you’ll eat, Greek-letter societies, majors, minors, scheduling…and that’s just in your first year of college! As you progress, your classes and your entire schedule become so much more customized to not just your interests but your unique learning style. Not a morning person? Schedule everything in the afternoon! Want to get everything done ASAP? Take all morning classes! The choice of what to do with your college life is YOURS, and being a model student is entirely dependent on YOU.

But this freedom isn’t just for freedom’s sake: rather, it encourages you to choose classes that YOU are interested in, which in turn, makes you more productive and more eager to learn. This freedome teaches you how to structure your time, how to manage your time, and ultimately, teaches you a valuable lesson in responsibility. After all, your schedule is your responsibility.

Everything is on the Syllabus

I’m going to be honest: I was a straight B- student back in high school, so one of the things I absolutely hated back in the day were pop quizzes. What kind of monster relished surprising their students with a quiz that they should have studied for in the first place?!

Not to worry, college has very few surprised in that regard, so long as you have your trusty course syllabus on hand. 90% of the time, your course syllabus will have every single information you’ll need about your class, from test schedules and test coverages to how to contact your professor for deadline extensions. It tells you exactly what you will need for the course, what assignments you need to pass on which dates, and what tests you’ll need to take. College gives you a lot of freedom, but it also asks you to meet its expectations.

Professors Can Be Friends

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I think everyone has a ‘terror teacher’ they had back in high school, and don’t get it twisted: there are college professors out there who give their students recurring nightmares ( I had a professor once who would automatically fail sleeping students in his class…despite his lectures starting at 7am!). But more often than not, college professors are quite different from their high school counterparts.

For one, college professors are used to dealing with adults, which means they are more likely to give you the space and freedom as your learning style needs. Yes, it’s still their responsibility to teach what needs to be taught, but they will also give you the opportunity to cultivate a personal sense of responsibility in you. After all, if you want to be treated like an adult, then you better start acting like one, and college professors will give you that chance to prove yourself.

At the end of the day, college professors expect you to be mature, and while this means that they’ll be treating you like equals and peers, it also means that they won’t be holding your hand during the learning process: you will have so much freedom in college, and they expect you to use that freedom responsibly and maturely. Yes, you will get help when you ask for it, but you’re going to have to learn how to do things on your own too. Remember: your college life, your responsibility.

So, Is College Harder Than High School?

Yes, it is, and let me explain why:

I know I just gave you so many reasons as to why college might not be as hard as high school, but think about it: you are given all the freedom to choose how you want to live out your college life, which means you can make it as easy as you want, or as difficult as you want. You can fill up your days with lectures so you can maximize your learning, or spread them out so you have time to socialize and network.

But at the end of the day, that’s one of the reasons why college is harder than high school: the burden of responsibility is entirely on you. You can’t blame your parents, can’t blame your classmates, can’t blame your professor: your success or failure in college is determined by your choices, and your determination to stick to them.

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Yes, your classes will be ones that you choose, but remember: this is college, so the concepts you’ll be taking up are going to be so much more advanced than what you might have encountered back in high school. And guess what? Your professors, as nice as they are, are probably handling more classes than you think, so while they might try to help you when they can, don’t expect it.

But you don’t have to do it alone: college is a great way to socialize and build your network of friends. In college, you’re going to have friends from all walks of life, from different majors and different interests, as well as different values. This is a great opportunity to learn how to choose your friends wisely, as a strong friend network can be crucial in succeeding.

So, at the end of the day, whether or not college is harder than high school or vice-versa is completely dependent on how responsible you become, how maturely you make decisions, and how successfully you manage your time and your freedoms.

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