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High School vs. College

High school and college are inevitable educational stops. Both invite one to participate in debates and assessments that help them grow and enhance practical, professional, and personal skills. They also build character, which is critical in the future job search. Some people prefer one over the other for personal or social reasons. Classes, responsibilities, and time management skills vary significantly between the two.

The learning outcomes of high school and college courses are drastically dissimilar. High school learners must take foundational classes with alternatives like foreign languages, history, and physical education. They must learn music, art, and even health. Regardless of how some students feel, they are necessary for primary education. Thus, it helps students prepare for college.

College learners have more choices in classes than high school students. The students may take electives that others cannot, but this is rare. Also, they may take nonacademic languages like French or Chinese to broaden their horizons. The courses and tests are drastically different between high school and college. College classes are often perceived as being more difficult than high school classes. Many students dread college because of the complex and time-consuming academics.

STEM subjects increase in complexity with each level. Using Jerome Bruner’s theoretical framework (1960), repetition of key concepts, but in a more sophisticated or emphatic manner, learning or mastering the required skills before moving ensures students can participate in discussions and use their knowledge in future lectures and tests. A variety of methods are used to assess students. Students are also exposed to rubrics for grading work or performance. Schools require standardized assessments like the AP, SAT, and GRE.

A student’s program of study is completed in one semester. Learning becomes more complex and studying time increases. Due to the limited class time, they must finish large reading assignments. Students acquire much of what they need to know without lectures to clarify. It may be challenging for college students to take care of themselves. Exams are not pleasant for them. Professors frequently design rigorous exams that assess students’ academic performance.

High school students have less work than college students. When one transitions from high school to college, the workload and academic difficulty double. High school learners’ academic demands are reduced to accommodate extracurricular activities. Therefore, teachers are advised not to assign lengthy homework or chores. Students must also participate in extracurricular activities or classes.

To-do lists sometimes overwhelm college students who have more homework and projects as part of their education. Applicant presentations are required for architectural and creative programs. Due to their length, students must complete these tasks outside of class. They must also complete their practical duties outside of school or at their assigned companies. Students are asked to participate in both extracurricular and program-related group projects. Getting their academic papers done is crucial. They also need to pass their thesis defense to graduate.

Time management is vital in high school and college. Despite the seemingly endless college tasks, one has the freedom to manage their time as one wishes. Daily, high school students are expected to arrive on time. They can come to class anytime they choose provided they are on time. Flexible scheduling is crucial. High school parents face harsher rules, while college gives teenagers more independence and responsibility. This autonomy allows students to choose between studying and socializing.


Ozdem-Yilmaz, Y., & Bilican, K. (2020). Discovery Learning—Jerome Bruner. In Science Education in Theory and Practice (pp. 177-190). Springer, Cham.


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