Differences between High School and College

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Unlike high school, where academic adjustments are often routinely and automatically provided to students based on their Individualized Education Plans or Section 504 Plans, at Goucher College, as at other postsecondary institutions, students will be required to submit the necessary documentation, to advocate for themselves, and to follow the policies and procedures that have been set in place by the institution. The Disabilities Specialist is available to help students achieve academic success at Goucher College.   A chart delineating some of the differences between high school and college is below.


Major Differences Between High School and College




At least 30 hours/week of classroom instruction; regular daily schedule; attendance enforced



Usually 12 hours/week of classroom instruction; classroom attendance often not checked

Routines established and enforced by parents, school, community traditions



Student alone responsible for scheduling free time; time management skills needed

Regulations of school and home limit number of distractions


Frequent distractions (parties, fraternities, sports) leading to neglect of academics


Demanded by parents and teachers


Solely up to the student


More frequent (5 days/week)

Teacher-Student Contact

Less frequent (1 to 3 times/week)


Parents, teachers, counselors often take responsibility and arrange tutors, etc.

Academic Support

Requested and arranged by student; student must be own advocate even if college offers academic support


Not as great; lower half of class might not attend competitive college


More difficult since only better students go to college


Student’s status in academic and social situations often influenced by family/community factors

New Status

Student in new situation; judged solely for himself and by his own behavior


Parental contact constant; personalized counseling by teachers and guidance counselors regularly and easily available


Parental contact limited and difficult; students must seek out counseling; often difficult to schedule and not personalized


Student told what to do in most situations; follow-up on instructions is usual


Student is on his/her own; much self discipline required; often no specific time lines, no follow-up, no warnings


Push to achieve and participate from parents, teachers, counselors longtime friends



Student is on his/her own; push solely from within

Often bases on parental values; student frequently not given choices

Value Judgments

New dilemmas with serious implications/consequences involved; outside guidance often not available