If you’re thinking of going to college then you might be wondering how difficult it will be compared to high school.
In this post, I will show you a number of ways that college can be more difficult than high school as well as a number of ways in which it can also be easier.
So, is college harder than high school? Academically, college will usually be harder than high school. The classes are more demanding, there is a higher weighting on the tests and you’re expected to keep track of everything yourself.
There are actually a number of ways that college can be more difficult than high school. However, there are a number of things that you can do to make your college experience much easier that I’ll mention toward the bottom of this post.
Reasons that college can be harder than high school
There are a number of ways that college is more difficult than high school. Below, I will mention the main ways that college is harder.
The classes will be more demanding
Generally, the classes that you take in college will be more demanding than the classes that you take in high school.
The reason for this is that many of the classes that you will take in college will be more advanced than the classes you’re currently taking in high school. This is because they will usually build upon the classes that you have taken in high school.
In addition to this, the classes that you will be taking for your major requirements will likely build upon each other. This means that the classes that you will be taking in your junior and senior years will likely be more difficult than the classes that you take in your freshman year of college.
The classes are also more demanding, in college, because you will likely be going through the material more quickly than in high school. The reason for this is that the professor will likely understand the subject well, other students will not be disrupting the teacher as much as they might in high school and it will be expected that you’ll be able to handle more than in high school.
This means that it will likely not be enough for you to just go to class and take the tests based on what you learned in class. If you want to do well in college then it will be necessary for you to study the material for an equal or greater amount of time out of class.
In addition to the classes going more quickly, you will likely also have weekly homework assignments that you’ll be expected to complete. The professor will not always remind you of this which will mean that it will be upon you to keep track of it all.
You have to look after yourself
College is also more difficult because you will be needing to spend a lot more time looking after yourself.
Assuming that you move out when you go to college, you’ll likely have to do all of the cooking, cleaning and washing yourself. You will also have to be the one to deal with getting to and back from class, keeping track of upcoming exams and assignments and ensuring that you are on track to complete your degree.
This means that you will have to spend a lot more time, out of class, than you will in high school, looking after yourself. This means that you will likely have slightly less free time than you would have had in college.
Many students choose to live in the dorms for the first year which can make things easier. The dorms will likely be on campus, they will likely have a dining hall so you won’t need to cook and the dorm rooms will likely come with everything that you need.
Time management will be more important
Another reason that college is generally more difficult than high school is that there is a lot less hand-holding in college than there is in high school.
You will get access to a lot more support in college in the form of academic advisors, accessible professors, and teaching assistants. However, they will not constantly be reminding you of what you have coming up like you would in high school.
Additionally, in college, you will likely be taking four or five classes per semester. Each of these classes will have their own assignments that you will need to keep track of and it will be necessary for you to be aware of upcoming tests.
This means that managing your time effectively, in college, will be crucial if you want to do well and have a stress free experience.
Not managing their time well is the reason that many of the students, that do poorly, have a hard time in college. These students won’t, usually, take the time at the start of the semester to ensure that they have planned out the tests dates and due dates of assignments and, if they do, they don’t usually stick to it.
If you want to do well in college, it will be important to take the time, at the start of the semester, to plan out what you have coming up. By doing this you will be able to notice, in advance, potential problem areas such as having multiple midterm exams in the same week which will mean that you will have to start preparing for them sooner than usual.
Tests will be worth more
Another reason that college can be more difficult than high school is that the exams usually have a high weighting.
A typical college class will have about a 15% weighting on homework assignments and sometimes attendance as well and the rest will be based on midterm and final exams.
This means that it will be necessary for you to study more than you would in high school. This is because it will be necessary for you to have a very good understanding of the material so that you can recall it when you are taking the exams.
Generally, there will be one or two midterm exams that you have during the semester and one final exam that you have at the end of the semester for each of your classes. The final exam will usually have the highest weighting of all the exams and it will often be comprehensive covering all of the material covered during the semester.
Since final exams happen at the end of the semester for all of your classes it means that you will have to take a final exam for each of your classes at the same time. This is why the end of the semester can be quite a stressful time period for many students since it will be necessary for you to ensure that you have properly learned the material for all of your classes.
This is why it is important to prepare in advance for final exams and to ensure that you study consistently throughout the semester. If you do not then it will be necessary for you to cram lots of information in at the last minute which will be stressful, more difficult and you won’t remember the material as effectively.
Reasons that college can be easier than high school
Even though college will generally be more difficult than high school, academically, there are many ways in which college can be easier and more enjoyable than high school.
The classes should be more interesting
In college, you decide on your major which defines the types of classes that you will need to take in order to get your degree. Each major will have a set of classes that you must take in order to get the degree as well as a number of elective classes that you can choose from freely.
Some colleges or universities also allow you to build your own major where you can decide on all of the classes that you take.
The result of this is that you should be taking classes that you have more interest in, when you are in college. This should help you to enjoy going to class and studying a lot more than you would have done when you were in high school.
It should also make it easier for you to study more since you will not need to motivate yourself so much to study something that you are not so interested in like in high school.
You’ll be taking fewer classes
Another reason that college can be easier than high school is that you will, generally, be taking fewer classes than you would have in high school.
In college, you will usually take four or five classes per semester which will represent about fifteen hours of in-class time per week. This means that you will actually be spending less time, in class, than you would have in high school.
You will, however, likely be studying more overall than in high school since the classes will be more demanding.
Additionally, there will usually be multiple offerings of the same class that you can choose from. This means that you should be able to schedule the classes so that they occur at times that suit you and so that you’re taking them with the professors that you want (assuming you schedule them early.)
The lessons will be smoother
The lessons, in college, should also go more smoothly than they normally would do in college.
One reason for this is that the professor will usually be an expert on the topic. This should mean that they will be able to present the material more quickly, handle any questions more easily and explain the complex topics in an easier to understand way.
The other students will also likely be more motivated to be there. This will usually mean that they will be a lot less disruptive than students can be in high school and they will be more focused on the material.
Since the classes will go more smoothly it should mean that you will be able to make more efficient use of your class time than you would in high school. It does also mean that you will get through the material more quickly so there will be more for you to learn. This is one reason why you’ll need to study more out of class.
You get more support
Another way in which things can be easier in college is that you will get more support in college.
The professors will almost always have office hours where you can go and talk to them about areas where you are stuck on the material. This should help you to be able to make sense of the most challenging topics for you more easily.
Many classes, especially in STEM, will also have teaching assistants. TA’s are usually graduate students that are also very knowledgeable on the topic. They will often be able to identify areas of the course that you might have trouble with and explain it to you in a more understandable way.
Additionally, colleges will usually have more resources in the form of a larger library, more computers that you can use and wifi.
You’ll also have access to an academic advisor who will be able to advise you on your progress towards your degree and the classes that you need to take.
There are also a number of other ways that college can be better than high school that I have written about here.
Things to consider
How much more difficult college will be for you compared to high school will depend largely on a number of factors.
Many of these factors will be directly under your control so you should take the time to consider them since it should be able to make your life a lot easier and more enjoyable when you are in college.
The type of major that you choose will have a large impact on the difficulty of the classes that you take.
Generally, STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics) majors will be more difficult than other types of majors. They will usually be heavy on mathematics and will often have additional recitation classes that are taught by the teaching assistant.
Even though STEM majors can be more difficult, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t choose one. In fact, STEM majors are will usually give you the best job prospects when you are done with college and they can be very rewarding degrees.
The college itself
Another thing to consider is the college itself.
Colleges and universities that are more selective will likely be more difficult than those that are less selective. This is because the classes will generally go at a faster pace and they will often cover more advanced material early on.
Despite this, going to a more selective college can be beneficial since it will give you better job prospects, the professors will likely be world-leading experts in their field and they often have very good financial aid packages.
One of the biggest factors that will influence the difficulty of a college class will be the professor that is teaching it.
The difficulty of the same class can vary drastically depending on the professor. This is because the professors will have control over the pace that the class goes at, the scope and difficulty of the exams and the weighting that the exams have.
You can use the website https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ to see what other students have said about the professors. By doing this you will be able to identify professors that you would like to avoid before selecting the class.
When you are in your freshman year the classes that you will be taking will be introductory classes. This means that your freshman year will likely be a lot easier than the subsequent years.
As a result of this, it would be useful for you to use your freshman year to develop better study routines and to get good grades since things can be more difficult later on.
Things will be a lot easier if you plan ahead
How much planning you do, in and before college, will have a large impact on how difficult it will be for you.
Here are some ways that you can plan ahead in college:
Use https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ to make sure that you take classes with professors that you want to. The professor can have a big impact on how enjoyable a class can be.
Pick your classes as soon as registration opens so that you are able to select the ones that you want before they fill up.
Plan your class schedule in advance so that you will be able to pick the classes to be at times that best suit you.
Plan out the test dates and assignment due dates at the start of the semester so that you don’t get caught out.
Plan out your classes through your entire time in college so that you don’t need to take multiple difficult classes at the same time.