BMH Blog

The difference between high school and varsity

The transition from high school to college can come as a bit of a shock to some. Here are a few of the main differences you will experience…

Attendance is compulsory Attendance is up to you
Teachers check on your attendance Lecturers do not chase non-attendees
Students must remain on the school premises for the duration of the school day Students are free to come and go from campus
Classes & Time Management
Class sizes are limited – generally 25 – 40 students Classes are larger – some may number 100+ students
Your time is structured for you You have a timetable with set lecture times but you manage your own time
You’ll spend approximately 30 hours in class per week You spend approximately 12 – 16 hours a week attending class
Learning Environment
Teachers give detailed information regarding homework Lecturers select and structure the most important aspects of a subject
Learning time is taken up mostly by lessons in class Lectures and study guides take students systematically through subject content and concepts
Students may do anything from 2 – 4 hours of self-study outside of class per week; often for test preparation Students are expected to be self-disciplined and directed in terms of self-study. The general rule is that for every one hour spent in class; students should spend an additional 2 – 3 hours of self-directed study
Contact & Feedback
Teachers will discuss your progress & grades with both you and your parents Lecturers do not check up on whether or not you have completed homework & revision exercises
Teachers check on whether you have completed your homework Lecturers expect you to have read and made a note of assignment and assessment briefs
Teachers will help you catch up work you’ve missed when absent Students are expected to catch up missed work on their own
Class time is made up mostly of face-to-face teaching Classes can take different forms; lectures, pracs, studio work etc
Teachers frequently mark, correct and comment on students’ work There are a few opportunities for regular and formal feedback. Students are expected to initiate contact if they need assistance
Teachers take responsibility for students’ learning Students are treated as adults and are expected to take full responsibility for their academic success or failure
Assignments & Assessment
Assignments tend to be smaller and more frequent; and may contribute, together with test and exam marks, to a final mark There may be fewer assignments but they are larger and carry more marks
Students are expected to reproduce the core knowledge in their assignments, with little allowance for alternative viewpoints and ideas Students are expected to critically engage with subject matter, with the understanding that their work will improve with practice
Teachers may consult each other regarding assignment due dates so that students don’t have to submit assignments for different subjects at the same time Late submissions attract severe mark penalties and extensions need to be formally applied for at least 10 days before the due date
Referencing & Plagiarism
Students are generally required to provide a final reference list but do not need to indicate references within the text where each piece of information has been sourced from Students are expected to be accurate and thorough in both their in-text and final referencing points


How is College Different from High School. (n.d.). Retrieved from: [Accessed on: 08 February 2016]

School to Uni: What’s the Difference? (2014). Retrieved from: [Accessed on: 08 February 2016]

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