HOW IS COLLEGE DIFFERENT FROM HIGH SCHOOL?

High school is a Teaching environment in which you acquire facts and skills. College is a Learning environment in which you take responsibility for thinking through and applying what you have learned. Understanding some of the important differences between high school and college may help you achieve a smoother transition.

In the interests of clarity, we have presented these contrasts in a strongly delineated, somewhat simplified fashion. If your high school or college experience doesn't match these descriptions, adjust accordingly--and feel free to let us know too. Our intent here is not to disparage either high schools or colleges; the central point is that the kind of schooling that fits your needs will change as you grow.

Following the Rules in High School / Choosing Responsibly in College
Going to High School Classes / Succeeding in College Classes
High School Teachers / College Professors
Tests in High School / Tests in College
Grades in High School / Grades in College
How to Make the Transition to College

These pages are based on a pamphlet prepared by Old Dominion University with funding from the Virginia Department of Education. The SMU version would not have been possible without helpful comments from colleagues in the Dedman College Advising Center and faculty from the Provost's Commission on Teaching and Learning and the English Department's First-Year Writing Program.

For the next step into this transition as we see it- how to handle college-level expectations, papers, time management, classes, and grades-see the discussion of Meeting the Demands in our site for incoming students.

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