College vs High School – What’s The Difference?

Many people have a misconception that college is better than high school. This couldn’t be further from the truth! If you are considering going to college, it is important to know what you want out of your education and career before making a decision.

In this article, we will compare the differences between these two educational institutions so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

Class Size

HIGH SCHOOL: Most schools have an average class size of 30 students or less. This allows the teacher to give each student a personalized learning opportunity (one-on-one attention) and spend more time with each individual student.

COLLEGE: Classes in college are generally larger than high school, ranging from 20 people to even 100+. The material covered is usually similar to what you would find in high school, however, it will be taught at a slower pace, which will allow for more explanations on difficult ideas and concepts.

Class Time

HIGH SCHOOL: Most high school classes are averagely 30 minutes in length, making it easy to fit into a student’s busy schedule.

COLLEGE: Classes at college last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. This is beneficial for students who want to study longer and go more in-depth with the material. It can also be detrimental for students who need flexibility in their learning time. You may find yourself having difficulty fitting your other obligations around your long class times.

Class Material

HIGH SCHOOL: If you have a good high school teacher, you will have a clear understanding of how the material covered in his or her class will benefit you after graduation. Teachers at this level make sure that most of what they teach ties in with the material that will be covered at the next level (college or job).

COLLEGE: The college material is not always as directly connected to practical life outside of school. Often, what is being learned may seem irrelevant, and only applicable to passing a test or getting a good grade in that specific class. This can be a turn-off for students who have little interest in going into an unrelated career field after graduating from high school.

Class Material Difficulty

HIGH SCHOOL: Most high schools provide solid basic education in all areas of study without leaving any course at an “easy” level. It may seem difficult at first, but most teachers find creative ways to make topics more understandable and easier to learn.

COLLEGE: If you are going into a specific major, such as Math or Engineering, there is a good chance that the material will be difficult. This is because college courses are more focused on preparing for a career in these fields rather than just learning for the sake of learning. They have to assume that you will eventually go into that field after graduation and that your education needs to meet all standards set forth by employers.


College vs high school Australia
HIGH SCHOOL: Many students attend high school with no intention of getting a diploma at the end of their years; however, this is not necessarily what high schools encourage them to do. Teachers still help students achieve their best in subjects they enjoy while also preparing them for future goals and opportunities they may not even know about yet.

COLLEGE: College is for those who want to receive a degree at the end of their education, usually in preparation for entering a specific career field like engineering or medicine. Colleges help students achieve these goals by offering courses that directly prepare them for this type of work and get them ahead in the job market once they finish school.

Resources Available

HIGH SCHOOL: In high school, you will have various resources available to you that are not always found in college courses. Students have access to computers with internet access, video lectures, study notes, project-based learning activities (experiential learning), an interactive whiteboard/interactive projector (digital learning), and more! All teachers use technology in their lessons so that students can learn to think critically and solve problems in a hands-on way.

COLLEGE: In college, you have access to many of the same resources as high school; however, they are not always available when you need them (for example, your professor might only make videos available online for one week after uploading). You also may not have time to go back and look at previous lectures or lessons that were taught because class is so much longer than high school classes. Teachers will usually allow students to take notes on their laptops/tablets during lecture, but these sometimes can be hard to understand while trying to listen and take notes at the same time.

Availability of Tutoring Services

HIGH SCHOOL: Most schools offer online tutoring services within the school, sometimes on an as-needed basis from teachers or learning resource centers.

There are also outside tutoring services available to any student with a need for help in a specific subject that is not being thoroughly taught or understood by their own teacher.

COLLEGE: Tutoring services can be found all over college campuses and online at various websites offering help with homework and study skills to students who may be struggling in one area of study or another. However, these extra services can cost money which could deter some students from utilizing them. This is especially true for those going into fields like engineering where there is little opportunity to take classes that do not directly relate to your major/career path.

Teaching Style

HIGH SCHOOL: When you are in high school, teachers often walk around the room while working with students one-on-one when they need help. Teachers might also allow students to work together on group assignments that challenge them to use critical thinking skills rather than just do the work for them.

COLLEGE: In college, many professors prefer that students work on their own more and figure things out themselves. Some courses rely on online videos or project activities that must be completed by a certain due date without any teacher interaction at all. As stated above, there are still teachers who will allow students to work in groups, but it is recommended that you know your own learning style well before entering college because some classes will not accommodate this type of learning.


HIGH SCHOOL: High school students have more time to complete homework in the evenings after classes versus college students who do not have as much free time to complete their assignments. In high school, homework often consists of reading a chapter or two from the textbook and completing a vocabulary list; however, this is often different in college courses.

COLLEGE: College students usually have less class time than high schoolers due to larger class sizes and longer hours for teachers. This may make it harder for these students to finish all of their assigned work during regular class times. Therefore, they will be asked to complete most of their homework outside of class through readings (sometimes online) and practice problems that must be completed by the end of the week or the beginning of class on Monday.


HIGH SCHOOL: In high school, students are graded on a standard 100-point scale. In some cases, grades can be weighted to represent more or less importance in relation to other assignments. (For example, an essay may be worth 30 points while a short response is only worth 20.)

COLLEGE: Grading scales in college usually differ by course and professor. Some teachers will grade with no weighting system whatsoever; others might evaluate their work based on an anchor chart where each assignment has its own percentage value up to a total of 100%. The first two years of classes in most colleges have fixed grading scales that do not change with the professor or class period you are taking (although there are many exceptions). This means that the professor has decided on what is considered achievement in his/her class and will stick to it, even if you differ in opinion.


HIGH SCHOOL: Cost for tutoring services in high school is often subsidized by the district; therefore, whether or not your parents can afford such extra help will have no impact on you receiving it. This makes it possible for low-income families to provide much-needed assistance with homework and studying because not all students are able to study at home due to distractions at home.
College vs high school Cost
COLLEGE: Because college tuition has become so expensive, many students must rely on scholarship money or student loans in order to fund their education. For this reason, some may feel reluctant to pay out of pocket for extra study help when they cannot even afford their own textbooks already (refer back again to resources above). Again, this does not mean that there aren’t options available for assistance in college, but you will most likely have to look harder to find them.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to choosing a college or university, you want to find the best fit for your needs. Whether that means a school with more time and resources available for students who are struggling in class or just one based on how much money they cost–you should ask yourself what is most important to you as an individual before committing. Regardless of where you go to college, there will always be some challenges along the way; we hope this guide has been helpful when considering all aspects of higher education!

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