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College vs. High School - Is it really different?


Your student is now a high school graduate, so is college really all that different from what he or she is used to? Yes, it really is! But relax, just as your student handled the transition from elementary school to middle school to high school, s/he can succeed here too. The most important thing to realize is that college really isdifferent.

Perhaps the biggest change is that colleges put the responsibility on the students themselves. MCC offers many, many resources to each & every student, but the student has the responsibility to reach out and ask.  By familiarizing yourself with the information on our Family site, you have taken an important first step, hopefully one that your student will follow. Encourage her/him to learn all that MCC has to offer, because we want your student to know where to go when/if they need help or have questions.

Students will have to make some adjustments to college ... and families do too. You may look at your student's schedule of classes and think "Wow, he's got a lot of free time" but its critical to remember that students are expected to spend 2-3 hours of study/preparation for every 1 (one) hour in class.  Doing the math, that translates to 45-60 hours per week of class + study if your student registers for 15 credits in the semester.  Now that's a full schedule!

Here are a few other comparisons that may help highlight the differences between high school and college. This is not intended to be intimidating but rather to set expectations so you & your student can start strong and stay right on target for a successful college experience:

Student Responsibility

High School
Teacher Supported

College
Student Directed

High schools and teachers take attendance Successful students attend all classes even though attendance may not be taken.
Teachers remind students of assignments, tests, projects due etc. Professors hand out a syllabus at the beginning of the semester and students are expected to keep track of work & due dates.
Teachers tell students what to learn. Students are responsible to teach themselves many topics and need to understand their own best learning styles.
Teachers discipline inappropriate classroom behaviors. Inappropriate classroom behavior is not tolerated.
Teachers summarize main ideas, outline notes, provide study guides, pose questions to trigger discussion.

Successful students take effective notes & study them regularly, create their own study guides, generate questions and answers based on their study.

Teachers provide in-class study time. Successful students use study areas on campus and create a study area at home, and manage their lives in order to have sufficient study time.
Students are handed a class schedule each year. Successful students chose their classes based on their program/degree/transfer requirements. Assistance is available, but the student must seek it.

Academic Environment

High School
Student Focused

College
Content Focused

Teachers often repeat the same information in class as is present in the text book.

Professors' lectures extend and supplement reading material rather than repeat & review it.

Class sizes are usually 20 - 30 students.

Large lecture classes can contain 50 or more students.

High school classes meet daily.

College classes meet 1, 2 or 3 times per week.

Teachers provide background knowledge.

Professors expect students to have all required background knowledge.

Teachers summarize main ideas, outline notes, provide study guides, pose questions to trigger discussion.

Successful students take effective notes & study them regularly, create their own study guides, generate questions and answers based on their study.

Teachers cover all content in class.

Students are responsible for all content on the syllabus, regardless of whether or not it is discussed in class.

Teachers give frequent tests, often provide opportunity for make-ups and accept assignments handed in late.

Professors give fewer tests and generally do not allow for make-ups or late assignments.

Teachers provide extra help.

Extra help is available, but the student must seek it out.

Some sources are: study groups that the students put together themselves, peer tutoring, workshops offered by Counseling & Career Services and more.

cite: www.mnade.org