What’s The Difference Between High School vs College

What’s The Difference Between High School vs College

The contrast between high school and college is one that differs considerably across the country, and most students will not have the same experiences.

The variety of best practices and the nature of academic discourse provides a wide range of educational environments, although the structure is the same.

You might wonder if there is really that much of a difference between high school and college before enrolling in one.

They may appear to be comparable, but many individuals caution it is far more difficult. It’s difficult to know what to believe until you arrive.

So, what exactly is the distinction between high school and college? Workloads, costs, the level of freedom provided to students, the resources available to students, the way students and instructors communicate, and the social life they engage in differ between high school and college.

College is more challenging than high school, but also more pleasurable. Doesn’t this seem like a strange combination? We can explain this in a variety of ways.

To better understand the differences that exist, let’s look at a few questions: 

  • What is a High School?
  • What is a College?
  • How is high school similar to college?
  • How are high school and college different?
  • Is high school better than college?

What Is A High School?

A high school is a secondary school where kids get their education prior to starting college or working. From ninth to twelfth grade, most high schools possess four numbered grades.

High school is the next step just after middle school or junior high. The name originated in Scotland, where the Royal High School, the world’s oldest high school, opened in the year 1505 and served as a model for the United States’ first public high school in the year 1821.

In some countries, kids get into high school at eleven, whereas in the United States, high school starts at fourteen.

What Is A College?

A college (Latin: collegium) is a sort of higher education or a component of one. Also, a college can be a degree-granting higher educational institution, a split of a collegiate or federal university, a vocational school, or a high school.

A college can be a high school, a college of further education, a training institution that awards trade qualifications. Besides that, a higher-education provider does not have university status (sometimes without its own degree-awarding powers) Or a component part of a university in most parts of the world.

A college in the United States may offer undergraduate programs as an independent institution or as part of a university’s undergraduate program, or it may be a residential college of a university or a community college, which refers to (primarily public) higher education institutions that aim to provide affordable and accessible education, usually limited to two-year associate degrees.

In the United States, they frequently use the term as a synonym for a university. A college in some countries (France, Belgium, and Switzerland provide secondary education). The Collège de France is a prominent advanced research institute in Paris.

How Is High School Similar To College?

Both high schools and colleges offer social activities and groups for students, allowing you to form lifelong friendships with the people you’re learning with.

How Are High School And College Different?

Learning is at the heart of each institution, yet they foster it in many varied ways.

As a result, not only will college and high school provide extremely different experiences, but they will also be more or less tough for different people.


For college, the most common thing you’ll hear is that it’s far more challenging than high school. This is especially true for academic work.

This increase in workload is the result of several variables. Actual labor, time outside of the classroom, and knowledge to be learned are just a few of them.

For High School

In high school, they normally divide each class’s workload into homework, classwork, and studying.

They frequently provide the homework regularly and are rather basic, albeit time-consuming. Many high school students consider their homework to be “busy labor” that doesn’t genuinely aid learning.

They frequently link this task to the day’s lesson, making it much easier to complete. Studying is always difficult, but it is usually easier when you are in high school. Most high school assessments cover a relatively negligible amount of material—usually only a week’s worth of time.

High schools may also require students to complete reading assignments. However, instead of a few days, they usually do this one over several months.

They include projects in a high school student’s education, but they normally limit them to two or three every year. And they can often complete them in a short amount of time.

For College

However, in college, the workload increases slightly. They add hours and hours of reading to homework. When you compare the time spent in the classroom to high school, the quantity of work outside of the classroom seems even more intimidating.

At the start of the semester, they give students reading lists.

They require students to complete assignments prior to the lesson on which they are based, rather than afterward.

Multiple chapters per week are popular in reading lists.

Many times, they predicate points for class participation on that reading, making these chapters vital to the grade.

Obviously, the college workload will be a little heavier than what you would do in high school. This, however, varies from student to student.

Some students have even performed better in college than in high school. In some ways, it all comes down to the individual’s learning style and how much they adapt to the environment.


While having greater independence might be beneficial, it can also lead to more stress. There is a well-known psychological theory called The Paradox of Choice.

According to studies, the more options you have, the less comfortable you are with your decision. This is true, but it is especially relevant in transitioning to college.

For High School

High school can suffocate many students. From the time they wake until they go to sleep at night, most high school students organize their days by the hour. Repeat the cycle of class, club meetings, sports practice, homework, and studying. Routine can seem oppressive, but it’s actually a wonderful thing. It’s extremely beneficial in terms of grades.

High school kids are considerably more likely to maintain their grades because of that specified time (that parents are likely to encourage) for homework and studying. College students are a different story.

Compared to a high school student, a college student will have far more flexibility. A full-time college student should only have roughly 12 hours of class time each week, as opposed to the average 30 hours in high school.

For College

This allows college students to have a lot more spare time. Unfortunately, this extra time can really be detrimental to study habits. Students do not have set study times, and they are considerably less likely to study on their own.

If you waste your leisure time, you risk forgetting important assignments and procrastinating. Some pupils may receive lower grades than they have ever received without the structure of high school. Being concentrated and goal-oriented can easily avoid this.


Connecting with pupils is one of the most important things a teacher can do. A student may find interest in a subject that they previously despised just because a teacher took an interest in them.

The importance of communication between instructors and students in the teaching process cannot be overstated. This is especially true in high school.

For High School

They teach high school teachers how to communicate with pupils regarding their work. It is a teacher’s responsibility to pull a kid aside and ask why they are performing so poorly in class.

You can raise your hand in class and ask for help if you have a significant problem. It’s uncommon that your teacher will tell you not to ask questions in class. As a student, this provides you with an advantage.

Having more opportunities to communicate with the person grading your work will almost certainly improve your performance.

Because of this communication, you’re also more likely to be liked by teachers in high school. It’s unlikely that you don’t say something to a teacher at least once a day. Even a simple “good morning” to your teacher will improve their perception of you, making them more likely to assist you in improving your grade in the future.

For College

The amount of communication you have with your instructors differs in a university context. At least for the first two years of school, it’s unlikely that your professor will come to know you well. Of course, the size of your school will determine this, but even tiny universities have this option.

Fewer pupils per class in higher-level courses. This will explode communication, bringing the experience closer to that of a high school student and teacher relationship. The difference here is the quantity of advice you can get from the professor.

Even if your professor in a higher-level class can speak to you more openly during class, that does not imply they will have time to walk you through it. Many professors handle multiple classes at various levels. It’s crucial to remember that no matter how organized a professor appears to be, they have a lot going on outside of your class.


In the same way that the cost of each option is determined by the circumstances, the cost of each option is determined by the circumstances. While most students will spend more on college than they did for high school, this is not always the case.

Some private high schools are far more expensive than community universities. However, for this piece, we’ll assume that a kid is transferring from a public high school to a public institution.

For High School

When you’re a high school student, you’re unlikely to cover many of your expenses on your own. While many older children may work part-time to fund their extracurricular activities, their parents will cover most of their school expenses. Fees for extracurriculars, such as groups and activities, can also be included.

High school textbooks are almost probably going to be free to use. If not, they rent them to pupils for a small charge, which is usually paid by the parent.

When compared to college students, high school pupils do not have to pay tuition (unless they attend a private institution), which reduces expenditures.

For College

Changing from a high school student to a college student is a difficult financial move. If the student worked part-time in high school, the extra money will almost certainly go toward tuition, fees, textbooks, or living expenses.

While some students are fortunate enough to receive full scholarships for their bachelor’s degrees, others must rely on student loans to pay for rent and food. And textbooks aren’t cheap, costing hundreds of dollars per semester.

Because of the high cost of education, students in colleges (especially those that are very expensive) may find themselves on the verge of destitution. College is expensive, and paying for it is far more difficult than dealing with the modest expense of being a high school student.


With resources for students, both high school and college have their advantages. Both offer reasonably priced libraries and free Wi-Fi for students and professors to consult if they have questions.

However, there are some significant disparities in the resources available, which may or may not depend on the type of school you attend.

For High School

The resources available in high school are essentially only what they require.

All students have access to textbooks, but they are normally only available in class. The library allows you to check out books, but only one at a time.

There is a counselor on hand, albeit they are usually solely a college/career counselor.

There are few mental health services and even fewer physical health treatments available.

The food provided is nutritionally deficient and often too expensive for some pupils.

High school resources are scarce. Of course, they primarily aimed this at public schools. They cram many private institutions with extracurricular activities that you would never find in a public university, let alone a public high school.

The number of resources available depends on the type of high school you attend.

For College

The college will provide you with more resources than high school. The sole exception is if you are transferring from a private high school to a public institution or a community college.

Students will have access to far more resources at larger public universities.

They frequently have enormous libraries open late to support late-night studies.

The amount of books that can be checked out at a library varies from fair to generous.

They frequently include a gym membership in the tuition at public colleges.

There is a counseling center and an emergency health clinic.

Most college campuses provide computer labs with free printing machines where students can print documents.

Most high school pupils do not have access to the same opportunities that university students do.

Social Life

While social life may not appear to be a significant criterion for any type of institution, it is an important component of the total experience.

An active and happy social life can aid a student’s mental and emotional well-being. This has the potential to boost productivity and class performance, making it an essential component of any institution.

For High School

Your social life in high school is severely limited. You’re likely to have the same pals if you attend the same high school for all four years. Because the surroundings and people around you don’t change regularly–but you do – this can be restrictive.

High schools are notorious for acting as echo chambers for ideas and viewpoints. While there will always be groups of people with diverse interests, most students will want to blend in.

The pressure to conform to the most popular (or, more likely, the loudest) beliefs suffocates both creativity and personal development.

Students in high school rarely find themselves in a group of pals with whom they feel completely connected. So much so that after graduation, many students don’t speak to over two or three people from their high school. Most high school friendships aren’t strong enough to last.

For College

You largely determine your social life at college. There are endless opportunities for contact on a university campus. There are many diverse philosophies, cultures, and ways of life to discover on college campuses.

While some students make their closest friends during their first year of college, others do not until their senior year. This is because, for social contacts, college isn’t as stagnant as high school.

Every year at college, you may see the same faces in your classrooms or clubs, but there are almost always more people you have never met.

This allows college students to meet and interact with many more people and have far more experience than they could have in high school. A majority of public universities, likewise, lack any sort of hierarchical structure.

College students are almost deliberately urged to be themselves rather than strive to fit in. Only in highly hierarchical groups, such as sports teams or sororities, is where this is not the case.

Is High School Better Than College?

Based on the above factors, it may appear that high school triumphs over college. It takes less effort and has more structure, making us feel more secure.

Instructors in high school are more communicative and have more time on their hands to focus on you as a person rather than simply another face in a crowd.

Despite some difficulties that come with being a college student, most people would agree that it is still preferable to high school. College may be more expensive and harder, but it is also a fertile place for self-discovery. While the flexibility it provides can add to the obstacles, it can also lead to some of the most unforgettable moments of your life.

High school is less demanding, but it is also far more restricted. Passive learning characterizes high school learning, in which your teacher’s hand you all you need to know. It’s unusual that you’re expected to find something. That is not the case at college, which is part of what makes it so thrilling.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How Hard Is High School Compared to College?

College classes are unquestionably more difficult than high school classes: themes are more complex, the learning is more fast-paced, and the self-teaching expectations are far higher. College classes are not always more difficult to succeed in.

Responsibilities High School vs College

Students at college are accountable for determining their own priorities. They will have more “free” time than they did in high school, which they will have to handle on their own. They require college students to spend 2-3 hours outside of class studying for every hour spent in class.

What’s the difference between a college and a university?

Although colleges only offer undergraduate degrees and universities only offer graduate degrees. They sometimes use the names interchangeably.

What is College in high school?

College in High School allows you to take college courses in your high school, taught by your own teachers, for a fraction of the cost.

What is Dual Enrollment?

Dual Enrollment allows high school students to attend college classes on campus at CCBC while still in high school.

Is College easier than high school?

Yes. College is less stressful than high school because you’ll know exactly what to expect. Your teachers will provide you with a syllabus at the beginning of the semester that details all the reading assignments, exam dates, and paper due dates for that class.

Do College students have much free time?

They do, in fact. Every day, college students will have 3 to 5 hours of leisure time. Students can expect spending 25-30 hours each week on classwork on average. Because of their harder classes, upperclassmen will have less spare time. Underclassmen will have more free time because of simpler classes.


There are many differences between high school, and college life, but most of them are favorable.

If you set your mind to it, you can do anything when you graduate from high school!



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