In high school my teachers constantly tried to imply that college was more difficult than high school. When considering high school vs college, those are still the first thoughts that run through my mind. My high school teachers used to say things like, “it’s going to be a lot harder when you go to college,” and “we’re preparing you for college” (implying college needs preparation.)
Despite the teacher’s constant claims of a more challenging course load in college, this seemed to be one of the least notable factors when comparing high school vs college.
When considering high school vs college academically, most students don’t have too much to worry about. On average, college is not significantly more difficult than high school. Academically speaking, you shouldn’t immediately expect to be pushed in any seriously challenging way. After taking the basic courses in college you will likely see courses that are notably more difficult than high school but you’re probably going to have significantly more time to invest in those courses than you did in high school.
Naturally, this doesn’t apply to every student. If you’re going from a crappy high school to a particularly challenging college then you might run into problems academically. That being said, even some of the most difficult colleges are usually only as difficult as the student chooses to make them.
If you learn to use the 15 Minute Study Strategy taught on this blog then you might even have an easier time than high school. If you want to learn more then check out 101 School Hacks For Better Grades & A Better Life.
In virtually every case when considering high school vs college, students shouldn’t be worrying about the academic differences. Most of those differences are hardly notable.
This is where the vast majority of students struggle when thinking about high school vs college. In high school, most students live with their parents. They don’t work a regular job. They have virtually no personal responsibilities. When they go to college this typically changes.
College students have many problems other than academics to worry about. If the student lives off campus then they suddenly have to worry about paying their bills. Those students may need to work a regular job. They have to do all this while still worrying about going to school and getting passing grades. When a college student lives on campus they still have concerns like cooking their own meals, doing their own laundry, and not staying out all night. This is the area that most college students screw up.
Most young college students have no experience taking care of themselves. That leads to thousands of stupid little problems. Many of these stupid little problems add up into serious concerns over time. Those serious concerns often turn into academic problems.
For example, let’s say a student normally does their laundry on a Sunday. If that student is feeling lazy and puts it off until Monday, that may not immediately look all that devastating but it’s a small problem that can stack up. On Monday, the student may get assigned a ton of homework. Suddenly the student is forced to choose between laundry and school work. The school work may have a few days to complete but if the student puts off the homework and does the laundry, the student has to hope they have another day free in the future to do it. In the average course load, you can’t expect too many completely free nights. This game cuts into homework and study time dramatically. Eventually the student will fall behind in class or life, or the student will rush to complete the work at a subpar quality. (Yes… they could do their schoolwork while waiting for their laundry. There are often simple solution that tend to get ignored.)
Little lifestyle choices make a huge difference. One of the most common lifestyle problems is staying up. In college, when there is no one standing over your shoulder telling you to go to bed, it can be easy to stay up late. (I can remember video games being a major catalyst for my late nights. “One more time… then I’ll go to bed.”)
For a student with early classes this can be a serious problem. It leads to subpar concentration in class. It leads to missed classes. It leads to crappy scores. It even leads to the student starting every day bad which makes every class more difficult.
Notice how these aren’t academic problems at all but they translate into academic problems. If a student is failing an early class, they may never even notice the reason they’re failing is because they stay up late. They may just assume it’s a tough class. (I mean… there test scores reflect this.)
Looking at high school vs college, this is the area that most students end up struggling.
College As An Investment
A large percentage of students leaving high school and going to college blow the opportunity because they’re virtually intending to blow it from the start. College has a good reputation for students looking to have a good time. That being said, I’d argue this reputation is not well deserved.
If you would like to enjoy college parties then you could enjoy college parties while not going to college. All you have to do is live close to campus and make a few friends at the college. The important difference is that they’ll be paying 30-40k a year to enjoy their parties.
Odds are, if you’re smart with your money, you can live and party on a third of that. (Of course that depends on where you’re located.) And heck, college parties may be fun but there are plenty of parties off campus too. If you’re looking to have fun then college is one of the least efficient ways to do it. Hell… you’ll even have classes getting in the way.
Is college an investment or is it a luxury? If you’re going to college as an investment then it shouldn’t have to be fun. Sure, it can be fun but you should have no expectation that it will end up that way. There are going to be nights when you have the choice to stay out late or go to bed early for class. In that situation you need to remember that college is an investment. While your friends may love throwing their money away, you’ll get the pleasure of more money (and less suffering from crap grades) in the future.
I understand you’re human. Heck, there are even ways you can balance out having fun and going to college. It’s a tricky balance though. That’s the problem. If you lean too much towards trying to have fun you can cause serious problems for your college as an investment. All I recommend is you don’t ever risk leaning too far towards fun while pretending it’s still an investment.
Someday you might think, screw my tuition, this is a luxury. Then, have fun. You’ll be consciously paying the price. That’s fine. That being said, most students just go on pretending that they’re investing in their future while they develop a mild drinking problem, play way too many games, sleep with as many partners as they can, and make all kinds of irresponsible decisions.
Don’t lie to yourself. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. That is the most important part. This honesty is what can help you get back on track when you realize you’ve gone too far. If college is an investment then treat it like an investment.
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Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.