High School: Bells ring to tell students when a new class is starting.
College: No bells ring—students are responsible for knowing what time it is and being in class on time.
High School: Students proceed from one class to another.
College: Students often have hours between classes, and class length can vary from 50 minutes to several hours.
High School: Students spend six hours a day, 30 hours a week, in class.
College: Students spend 12 to18 hours a week in the classroom.
High School: Teachers carefully monitor class attendance.
College: Professors are not required to take roll. Professors are free to set the student attendance criteria for each class and how attendance will affect students' grades. They publish this information in their class syllabus distributed at the beginning of the quarter. Students are responsible for this knowledge and, with some professors, absences in excess of a certain number, sometimes as few as three to five, can result in an automatic failure. Excuses are rarely accepted.
High School: Courses are fairly standard.
College: Course selection varies greatly, depending upon the student's major and the quarter in which the student starts college.
High School: Grades are given for most assigned work.
College: Assigned work is given for the benefit of the student but graded at the discretion of the professor. Expectations regarding assignments are explained in the syllabus handed out at the beginning of each quarter. The student is responsible for this knowledge.
High School: Teachers may offer extra-credit projects to help students raise their grade.
College: Extra-credit projects are rare.
High School: Consistently good homework may help raise a student's overall grade when test results have been low.
College: Results on tests and assigned projects usually carry most of the grade weight. Students should check the course syllabus to see how assignments are weighted.
High School: Initial tests in the beginning of the school year may not have an adverse effect on a student's final grade.
College: Because of the short duration of a quarter—only 50 days of instruction during fall, winter and spring and eight weeks in summer—the number of tests is limited. Each test score, beginning with the first, is an indicator. If needed, a student should not hesitate to schedule an appointment with the professor to talk about the class, make use of the free tutoring center, or seek the advice of their faculty advisor or counselor.
High School: The high school counselor can register students for classes.
College: Although an educational planner or faculty adviser can help students select courses and develop an educational plan, the student is responsible for registering.
High School: The high school counselor can advise students on personal matters as well as course selection.
College: In college, there is a distinction between a counselor and an adviser. A counselor can offer personal counseling as well as advising students academically. Advisers may only provide academic assistance.
High School: Students can count on parents and teachers to remind them of responsibilities and help them set priorities.
College: Students choose their class times, they receive a syllabus for each class detailing assignments and due dates, and may have a job. With this information in hand, setting daily and weekly priorities will be the responsibility of the student.
High School: Students have more time for extra-curricular and leisure activities.
College: Time is devoted mostly to classes, studying, and for some students, working. For every hour in class, students need to plan on spending up to two hours outside of class studying. For a student carrying an average load (15 credit hours), this would equate to 45 hours a week of class and study time.
High School: Work is often an option for high school students.
College: Many college students must work in order to eat and pay rent.
Wenatchee Valley College suggests the following number of hours of work per credit hours:
High School: Teachers often set aside class time for students to work on homework. Study time at home is limited.
College: Class time is for instruction; studying and assignments are done on the student's own time. For every hour in class, students need to plan on spending up to two hours outside of class studying.
High School: Students are expected to read short assignments that are discussed in class.
College: Professors assign substantial amounts of reading that may or may not be directly addressed in the classroom.
High School: Teachers often remind students of their incomplete or pending work.
College: Professors expect students to complete homework listed on the syllabus, without being reminded.
High School: Teachers will usually tell students what they are expected to learn from assigned materials.
College: It is up to the student to determine what is important and what may or may not appear on a test.
High School: Teachers remind students of assignments and due dates.
College: A course outline (a syllabus) is given out to each student on the first day of class. The syllabus spells out what is expected of students, when assignments are due and how students will be graded. Professors expect students to read, save and consult this syllabus for questions about assignments.
High School: Teachers approach students if they believe they need assistance.
College: Students must initiate contact if they need assistance.
High School: Teachers are usually available before and after class to answer questions.
College: Professors meet with students during the professor's scheduled office hours.
High School: Teachers provide students with information they missed if they missed a class.
College: If a student misses a class, it is that student's responsibility to get notes from a classmate, not the professor.
High School: Teachers often present worksheets and other materials to help students understand the textbook.
College: Professors often don't follow the textbook. They may expand on topics by providing additional information and students are expected to know the material.
High School: Teachers often write the information on the board for students to copy to notes.
College: Professors often lecture non-stop and expect students to pick out the important points for their notes.
High School: Teachers check students' homework and give them feedback.
College: Professors may not always check homework.