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Welcome to College

You probably spent your last year of high school dreaming about all the freedoms of college. Congratulations, you've made it! But remember, along with freedom comes responsibility, and despite your best efforts you may not be prepared for all the freedom and responsibility you'll find here. To help you adjust, we've put together this list of differences you'll find between high school and college:

Personal Freedom
Classes
Teachers and Professors
Studying
Tests
Grades

Personal Freedom

High School College
High school is mandatory and free (unless you choose other options). College is voluntary and expensive.
Others usually structure your time. You manage your own time.
You need permission to participate in extracurricular activities. You decide whether to participate in extracurricular activities. (Hint: Choose wisely in the first semester and add more later.)
You need money for special purchases or events. You need money to meet basic necessities.
Your parents and teachers remind you of your responsibilities and guide you in setting priorities. You will be faced with many moral and ethical decisions. You must balance your responsibilities and set priorities.
Guiding principle: You will usually be told what your responsibilities are and corrected if your behavior is out of line. Guiding principle: You are old enough to take responsibility for what you do and do not do. You must face the consequences of your decisions.
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Classes

High School College
Each day you proceed from one class to another. You often have hours between classes; class times vary throughout the day and evening.
You spend at least six hours each day (30 hours a week) in class. You spend 12-18 hours each week in class.
The school year is 36 weeks long; some classes extend over both semesters. The academic year is divided into two 15-week semesters, plus a week after each semester for exams.
Most of your classes are arranged for you. You arrange your own schedule in consultation with your academic advisor. Schedules tend to look "lighter" than they really are.
Teachers carefully monitor class attendance. Professors may or may not formally take role, but they are still likely to know whether you attend class.
You may be provided with textbooks at little or no expense. You need to budget substantial funds for text books. They might cost $200 or more each term.
Your teachers and guidance counselor are responsible for knowing graduation requirements. Graduation requirements are complex and are different for every major and sometimes for people a year or more apart in the same major. You are expected to know what requirements apply to you. (Hint: Make sure you have a copy of The Bulletin and your school or department's handbook.)
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Teachers and Professors

High School College
Teachers check your completed homework. Professors may not always check completed homework, but they will assume you understand and can perform the tasks on tests.
Teachers remind you when you have incomplete work. Professors my not remind you about incomplete work. It's your responsibility to turn in assignments on time.
Teachers approach you if they think you need extra help. Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need help.
Teachers are often available for conversation before, during, or after class. Professors want and expect you to talk to them during scheduled office hours.
Teachers have been trained in teaching methods to help them be better teachers. Professors are trained experts in their particular areas of research.
Teachers provide you with information you missed if you were absent. Professors expect you to get notes you may have missed from classmates.
Teachers present material to help you understand textbook assignments. Professors may not follow the textbook. Instead, they may give illustrations, provide background information, or discuss research about the topic you are studying. Or, they may expect you to relate the classes to the textbook readings.
Teachers often write information on the board for you to copy into your notes. Professors may lecture non-stop, expecting you to identify important points and take notes. When professors write on the board, it may be to amplify a lecture, not summarize it. Good notes are important.
Teachers share knowledge and facts, sometimes drawing direct connections or leading you through the thinking process. Professors expect you to think about and synthesize seemingly unrelated topics.
Teachers often remind you of assignments and due dates. Professors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline). The syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when assignments are due or tests are to be taken, and how you will be graded.
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Studying

High School College
You might study as little as two hours a week or less outside of class and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation. You need to study at least two to three hours outside of class for each hour you spend in class. (Hint: That's 30-45 hours outside of class time or an average student each week.)
You often need to read or hear presentations only once to learn all you need to learn about them. You need to review class notes and text material regularly.
You are expected to read short assignments that are discussed and often retaught in class. You are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may be addressed directly in class.
Guiding principle: You will usually be told in class what you need to learn or should have learned from an assignment. Guiding principle: It is up to you to read and understand the assigned material; lecture and assignments proceed upon the assumption that you've done the previous assignments.
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Tests

High School College
Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material. Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material. You, not the professor, need to organize the material to prepare for the test. Courses may have only 2-3 tests in a semester.
Makeup tests are often available. Makeup tests are seldom an option. If they are, you need to request them.
Teachers frequently rearrange test dates to avoid conflicts with school events. Professors usually schedule tests without regard to the demands of other courses or outside activities.
Teachers frequently conduct review sessions, pointing out the most important concepts. Professors rarely offer review sessions, and when they do, they expect you to be an active participant. Come prepared with questions.
Mastery is usually seen as the ability to reproduce what you were taught in the form in which it was presented to you, or to solve the kinds of problems which you were shown how to solve. Mastery is often seen as the ability to apply what you have learned to new situation or to solve new kinds of problems.
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Grades

High School College
Grades are given for most assigned work.

Grades may not be given for all assigned work.

Consistently good homework grades may help raise your overall grade if test scores are low. Grades on tests and major papers usually account for most of the course grade.
Extra credit projects are often available to help you raise your grade. Extra credit projects cannot, generally speaking, be used to raise a grade in a college course.
Initial test grades, especially when they are low, may not have an adverse effect on your final grade. First tests are important! They are usually a "wake-up call" to let you know what is expected, but they also may account for a substantial part of your course grade. If you receive a notice of low grades on an academic warning, see your academic advisor.
You may graduate as long as you have passed all required courses with a grade of D or higher. You may graduate only if your average in classes meets the departmental standard—usually a 2.0 or C.
Guiding principle: Effort counts. Courses are usually structured to award a "good-faith" effort. Guiding principle: Results count. Though "good-faith" effort is important in the professor's willingness to help you achieve good results, it will not substitute for results in the grading process.