Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

It’s no secret that your high school and college experiences are going to be drastically different. Here are some reasons why:

1. Freedom

In high school, your freedom is restricted. You live in your parents’ house, you follow their rules, and at school you go wherever administration tells you. You’re confined to your school building and its classrooms during the day, with little wiggle room in between. In college, you might be taken aback at first by how weird having total freedom really is. Your schedule will be flexible, and no one will be hovering over you making sure you’re on time for everything. Of course, with new freedom comes new responsibilities, and in college you must learn how to manage your time. Remember, graduation requirements are complex and you’re at college to learn. (But that doesn’t mean that you can’t balance a social life in there as well!) College is a great transitioning period to seize your independence!

2. Academics

Did you ever have a class that you never even studied once for in high school and still passed? Those don’t (or very rarely) exist in college. While you may not spend as many hours in the classroom as you did in high school, you’re expected to devote hours out of your week to reading course material or doing assignments on your own time. Remember, college is voluntary and not cheap, so make sure you get out of the high school I-don’t-need-to-study mentality before it comes back to bite you. Additionally, your professors won’t guide over you as much as your high school teachers did. They will often put their office hours on the syllabus, which means you have to make time for them rather than vice versa.

3. Competition

There is a lot of academic competition in college, especially because many programs of study or internships have certain academic requirements to attain admission. This means that all students get a little more competitive about making the grade in order to get ahead of the crowd. If anything, college kids are just a bit more serious and thinking about their futures more than your high school peers were. Even outside of grades, there is more competition to gain relevant job experience before graduation to make yourself more employable. It might be a little tough to balance grades, extracurriculars, and jobs, but it’s something that you’ll get the hang of in due time.

4. Opportunity

In high school, you may not have had as many options as you will see on a college campus. Your college will probably have hundreds of organizations that you can join, tons of academic programs, and many opportunities to excel in whatever you’re interested in. Unlike high school, you don’t need anyone’s permission to join anything, and you can try-out for whatever your heart desires. You can even re-invent yourself in college and take up a completely new sport or hobby. Additionally, college is a time to figure out who you really want to be. Your program of study has a lot to do with this, and throughout your college career you may find different opportunities and paths to take you where you want to end up.

5. Social Scene

Gone are the days where you’re stuck with the same 400 kids you grew up with, from the same hometown where everyone knows everyone. In college, you’ll suddenly be in an atmosphere with thousands of other young adults who you’ve never met before. While it may seem a little intimidating at first, college provides a great opportunity to make new friends. Cliques still exist in college, but they won’t be so tightly bound like they were in high school. Here, you can rid yourself of the high school social hierarchy and choose who and where you want to spend time around. The social scene is definitely a lot more broad in college, and because most people are at college because they actually want to be, the atmosphere is a little more chill than high school days.

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the author

Allison Capley is an editor, college life writer, and a member of James Madison University’s class of 2016 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. At JMU she studies Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication, with a minor in Health Communication. Allison’s favorite hobby is horseback riding. In the future, she aspires to live life to the fullest and obtain a career in medical and pharmaceutical writing.

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