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High School vs. College

Differences Between High School and College


High School


Teacher/Student Contact

Contact closer and more frequent (5 days a week)

Faculty are available during office hours (a few hours per week) and by appointment to address students’ concerns.


Academic competition is not as strong; good grades can often be obtained with minimum effort.

Academic competition is much stronger; minimum effort may produce poor grades.



Students establish a personal status in academic and social activities based on family and community factors.

Students can build their status as they wish; high school status can be repeated or changed.


Students can rely on parents, teacher, and counselors to help make decisions and give advice.  Students must abide by parents’ boundaries and restrictions.

Students rely on themselves; they see the results of making their own decisions.  It is their responsibility to seek advice as needed.  Students set their own restrictions.


Students get stimulation to achieve or participate from parents, teachers, and counselors.

Students apply their own motivation to their work and activities as they wish


Students’ freedom is limited.  Parents will often help students our of a crisis should one arise.

Students have much more freedom.  Students must accept responsibility for their own actions.


There are distractions from school, but these are partially controlled by school and the home.

The opportunity for more distractions exists.  Time management to students will become more important.

Value Judgments

Students often make value judgments based on parental values; thus, many of their value judgments are made for them.

Students have the opportunity to see the world through their own eyes and develop their own opinions and values.


Reference: Helping Your First-Year College Student Succeed by Richard H. Mullendore and Cathie Hatch

Last updated: 5/29/2013