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Many high school students today are very excited about entering the next stage in their young adult lives. High school gives students the foundation, whereas college gives students responsibility without adult supervision. It’s imperative that students know what to expect when they enter college. Students who understand the differences between high school and college when it comes to education funding, time schedules, the difficulty of classes, social scenes, and personal accountability will be better prepared to tackle the next transition of their life – college. There are a few exceptions when it comes to similarities between high school and college.
One of the best things about high school is the fact that the public-school education is free. By law, children under the age of 18 are required to attend public school. Also, textbooks are free to the students. Few countries in the world are not fortunate to have a free primary education. For example, many African countries must pay for their children to go to school because primary education is not free. Many African parents cannot afford to send their children to school. In some African countries, “nearly 128 million school-aged children, 17 million will never attend school” (Fleet). Consequently, these kids never have a chance to make a stable life for themselves, so they remain in poverty. Additionally, sports uniforms, equipment, food, and some activities are not free to high school students. Parents are required to fund their children’s activities such as field trips, clubs, or sports.
A college education is not free. Before students enter college, students are required to fill out an FAFSA form every year before the next school year begins if they want the government to fund their education. College students finance their education in other ways such as their income, scholarships, or student loans. There are requirements must be met before an award is granted. Scholarship awards are earned through merit, academic, or even on a random means. Many organizations offer scholarships. Student loans are not everyone’s first choice because you must pay back the money you borrow. Many students try to use the grants the FAFSA give out every school year. FAFSA policies and rules change from time to time. Student work study is another way to fund one’s education. A work study is when a college allows you to work on campus. Work-study income gets approved through financial aid.
Time schedules in high school are like a full-time job. Many high school classes start between 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM. High school students usually have a total of seven or eight classes. The very first class is considered home room. The homeroom class is usually at least under three hours long and the rest of the classes are about an hour and forty-five minutes long. The timing per class may vary from different schools or districts. Different schools either allow students to go to all their classes or go to half of their classes in one day. In sum, students follow the school’s schedule of courses throughout the day.
College allows flexibility when it comes to your class schedule. Instead of taking seven or eight classes at a time, a student can take any number of courses that fit their lifestyle and schedule. Depending on the number of units, four courses equal to twelve units, which equates to a full-time load. Students have the option of taking a part-time number of courses too. The college database system allows students to choose their classes based on the subjects needed for their major. Students get to choose the time and class subject to take based on their personal availability. For example, you may work during the night time, so you pick a PE class that teaches in the morning. Also, students have the option to choose online college classes. Online classes are regular classes that are a semester long with no particular time. Online courses require discipline and motivation because classes are held in the online college platforms such as D2L, Blackboard, or Canvas. Unlike high school, college does not have any strict class schedules, because you choose the time and class you want to take for the semester.
High school course work is less challenging than college classes. Instructors teach students everything they need to know. Algebra, History, Geometry, English, Biology, Chemistry and Physical Education are the general subjects. Studying in high school is appears laid back, because school work is in class. Students can pass courses simply by using rote memorization and passive studying. Most actual studying takes place in the classroom. Unlike college, classes in high school last for the whole academic year. For example, high school teachers teach the same chapter for the entire week instead of in one day. In general, concepts of many subjects are taught very spread out. Unfortunately, students can get away with procrastination in high school.
In college, the course load is a different story. College subjects are allowed diversity of topics, such as Anatomy & Physiology, Physics, and Microbiology. There are numerous other college courses as well. College courses are usually the extended version of the general high school studies. College classes are a semester long, so whatever subject class a student takes, the concepts are taught very fast paced. The students are expected to study for a few hours outside of the classroom daily. The professor usually teaches a different chapter each day, or half a chapter depending on the length of the chapter, and when the test day will be. The exams are usually two weeks after the instruction of the chapters. Because college class is fast paced, it’s important for students to develop study habits and time management skills to survive college. College is never an easy feat.
The social scene is one of the most important fundamentals of high school. Popularity is like becoming a king or queen in high school because it’s on top of the teenage hierarchy chain. Popularity to high school students is like being the CEO of the school. Fitting in is vital for teenagers. Jessup states that “[a]dolescents spend almost as much waking time at school as they do at home. The educational environment is their prime source of interaction with peers” (6). Socialization in high school allows students to learn more about themselves as individuals and how to work in teams.
Social scenes vary from college to college. With community colleges, it’s very easy for students to remain to themselves. Community colleges lack the intense social scenes due to how small the college is and other factors. They may have some clubs you can join, but there are not as many. In universities, the social scene is rich in diversity, types, and cultures. There are many ways to socialize. A student can join a sorority, fraternity, club, or an organization. Unlike high school, fitting in is a choice in college, and not mandatory. College or University allows a student to fit into a group. College social scenes embrace individuality.
Parental involvement is crucial to a student’s success in high school. Parents and teachers monitor student’s progress in their classes. If a student was dropping below a passing grade, or in danger of failing the semester, the instructor contacts parents for them to intervene. Summer school allows students to retake the classes that they failed during the school year. Students are expected to adhere to the rules of the teacher regarding homework, tests, and classroom time. Also, students are supposed to follow the rules of the school. Accountability involves the adults holding the student’s hand.
College is the gateway to adulthood, so students are expected to take responsibility for themselves. Professors will not hold your hand. Students are required to read the chapters before class, study for exams and quizzes, and to practice time management. There are many resources and books on study and time management techniques. College is a higher-level institution, so the consequences are much greater. Accountability is much easier with disability services, tutoring, and other programs that assist college students based on their situation. Adult responsibility in college gives students freedom.
College and high school have a few similarities. Sports is the central focus of both levels of schools because many schools depend on athletic events for extra funding. Usually, high school students who participate in sports are eligible for a full scholarship to a university, but that is not always the case. Eligibility for a full scholarship depends on grades and other factors. Also, both levels of education require the completion of general core courses before graduation. Regarding the structures of college and high school, the school gives final exams at the end of the semester.
The transition from high school to college is one of the most critical stages and the turning point of adulthood. Stepping from high school to college involves many changes to the funding of education, course advancement, schedules, social life, and responsibilities. Attending college for the first time is very exciting, because of the increased level of independence and ability to get on to a chosen career. In conclusion, college requires a student’s full dedication and is very challenging. Going to college allows one to go through the journey of self-discovery and learning adult responsibility.
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