11 Differences Between College and High School

Make no mistake, college is as much fun as it is necessary. However, not everyone heads into college with upbeat enthusiasm. Many people hear “I’m taking a semester (or even a year) off” because they’ve just gone through 12 years of school. While that may seem reasonable, that’s usually because students are looking to forego more school to enjoy an elongated summer vacation. Sure, a part-time job might be involved, but if you actually want to take time off school to “work,” then college is the only path you can take. Today, there are a lot of jobs, but if you don’t have a degree, you can’t expect to be considered – it will be an uphill battle.

11 Differences Between College and High SchoolHowever, many of the things that may have fatigued you in those 12 years of schooling may not be present at all in college – in fact, arguably none of them are. The first thing you need to understand is that college is not a daycare to give your parents a break. All this schooling is to develop you into a lifelong learner; or as Socrates would say, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” And that’s not limited to academia. How do you get promoted in your job? You learn/gain new skills. How do you get into a particular industry? You learn and network with people in that industry. How do you save money? You learn how to cook; you learn how to budget; you learn to mathematically figure if a job 20 miles from your home is worth the increase in wages compared to the expense of fuel.

College is not like your last 12 years of school, and it’s especially not like high school. College is what you make it and the following 11 differences should help you see why going to college should always be met with enthusiasm. There will be stressful nights, but it will transform you into a responsible and successful adult.

1. You will be anonymous

For many people, transitioning between elementary school to middle school to high school involves some overlap of friends. It’s rare that you’ll enter a new school without a few friends. Even then, once you’re enrolled, you’re in that school for four years. You may be surprised at the end of your senior year that you can look around you and know everyone by name and what extra-curricular events, activities, or groups they were involved with.

In college, even if a few of you are going to the same school, it’s rare to be in the same class as someone you know. You’re not in a pond, you’re in an ocean with people who have no idea who you are. This means professors will be judging you on your work ethic and if you want friends, you can’t simply hang around the same circles, you need to learn to meet people. If it sounds daunting, it can be, but being able to meet people is a crucial skill that your previous 12 years probably didn’t prepare you for.

2. You’re living on your own

Most colleges in Oregon offer some form of housing and this is usually a stark departure from what students are used to. For the first time, you’re on your own, able to live in an environment the way you want. Of course, you’ll have a roommate, but that will prepare you for the years to come when a roommate is necessary to continue living on your own. You may even enjoy a roommate so much that you see it as more cost effective. Whatever the case may be, you don’t need to worry about parents asking what you did that day. You maintain your home.

3. You build your own schedule

High schools are fairly standardized and strive to maintain normal working hours: 8:00AM to 5:00PM five days a week. In college however, many professors have other projects, field work, or even jobs within their field of interest. Their schedules are erratic and that’s what makes your schedules so flexible. Don’t want to wake up at 7:00AM every morning? Don’t. Schedule classes after noon (at the earliest). Want to work during the morning hours and school at night? Do it. Want to set up a two-hour break between your classes to budget time for the gym and lunch? You have the freedom to schedule your classes how you want.

4. Your professors are the experts

In high school, you might’ve struggled with something in the reading for a particular class. Maybe you’ve been met with a nebulous answer from your teacher because it’s open to interpretation; and maybe that kind of answer doesn’t sit well with you.

In college however, nine times out of ten, your professors have written the textbooks you’re working from. If you have a question, you can bet they’ll have an answer.

5. You learn to explore

In high school, it’s fairly easy for students to go home to their private room and study. In college, this is not the case. If you have a roommate that’s loud, watches a lot of television, or is extremely social, then you may be pulled into a procrastination bubble. As a result, you need to get out of your home and explore areas that are suitable for you to study. Coffee shops, libraries, or if Wi-Fi isn’t an issue, maybe parks or beaches.

6. You will not finish your homework in one day

In high school, waiting until the last night before writing a paper could get you a passing grade. In college, this isn’t the case. You’re expected to whittle away at your homework daily and if you can’t get it done, then your grade will suffer. However, this is part of the responsibilities that comes with being a functioning adult. You don’t simply build your schedule and cruise on autopilot, you need to manage your time wisely and know when to approach a professor about assigning “too much” homework.

7. Classes aren’t Monday through Friday

If Monday through Friday worked for you in high school, then continue that trend. However, in college, you do have the freedom to schedule classes four, three, or (in some cases) even two days a week. The most important element is finding a balance that works for you.

8. Reading is mandatory

In high school, “assigned reading” in laymen’s terms meant “take the night off.” Not so in college. In college, if you don’t read, you’ll be in the dark and you will fall behind. Professors aren’t going to coddle you in this regard, if reading is all that’s assigned, you should take it with as much gravitas as a 30-page paper.

9. Students want to be in college

School isn’t simply required anymore, you have to voluntarily apply and attend. Plus, college costs money. For many people, that can be a deterrent, but it is an investment; you’re investing in yourself. Going to school for four years paves the way to your future career that you may be working over the next half a century (give or take a few years). As a result, you’ll find that your fellow students are exceptional long-term planners because they knowingly consign to debt to attend. You can bet they’re not there to goof off, they see the goal.

10. There are no cliques

You might’ve grown up in a school separated into cliques. There were people who played sports, those who performed theater, those who practiced music, and so on. However, in college, there are no separate groups. You can either overlap between myriad groups or you can compartmentalize all of your interests. Either way, it’s up to you what you’re involved in – and no one is going to ask you to adhere to one group.

11. You’re expected to confront your professor

In high school, teachers may come to you in private to talk about your grades or a principal might call you into their office to talk about your attendance; in college, you will get no such courtesy. If you’re not showing up (especially in those first few weeks), expect to see either an “F” or be dropped from the class altogether.

Professors treat you like an adult and expect you to come to them if you’re having difficulties. So take the initiative.

Again, some students will read through this list and feel overwhelmed – so much responsibility – but ideally, if you’re ready to forge your own future, then you see that “responsibility” is synonymous with “freedom”. You are expected to become your own person, take hold of your schedule, and network with people. You are not simply lumped into a system, you create your own.



Choosing Between Secular and Christian Universities: The Critical Difference

When the time comes to select the college or university you’ll attend for the next four years, you may wonder about whether or not you’re making the right choice. Should you choose the Christian university that’s affiliated with your religion or a church that you really like, or is a secular school the right choice for you? By understanding the difference between secular colleges in Oregon and religious universities, you can set yourself on the right path to ensure academic success and a wonderful four years of education. Choosing Between Secular and Christian Universities: The Critical Difference

Encouraging Diversity? Maybe Not.

Many universities build their platform on the stance that they are supportive of individuals of all races and religions. They’ll cheerfully support people who are “out” as part of the LGBT community, and intolerance on the basis of race is quickly shut down at these colleges. There’s just one problem: that tolerance often fails to extend to Christian individuals. These same colleges and universities that would never dream of serving hamburger to an Indian student don’t bat an eye before insisting that Christian students “support diversity” by standing behind causes that might not meet with their personal beliefs.

Not only that, many secular colleges and universities refuse to allow the Christian Bible as a factual source, deny promotions to Christian faculty members, and offer tolerance to every faith save Christianity. This growing intolerance in favor of supporting diverse populations strictly excludes Christians, not because there is a fundamental problem with the religion, but because its members are perceived as being intolerant and hidebound. “Diversity” is the key guiding force for many secular universities until you are white, straight, and Christian.

Challenging Authority

Many secular colleges and universities, in their support of diversity, have created circumstances under which the individuals in authority–professors, deans, and office staff–are supportive of programs, concepts, and steps that Christian students prefer to stand against. Christian students are taught to respect and support authority, and at a secular university, that may be particularly difficult. Consider these potential conflicts:

  • A professor who fails to acknowledge a student’s faith as valid, forcing them to support a different side during a debate than the one that their religion requires
  • A professor who requires students to support causes that are incompatible with the Christian faith in order to attain passing scores in their classes
  • A campus that insists that the Christian student must be the one who is “wrong” in a conflict, simply because their lack of tolerance is assumed

These difficulties can make Christian submission to authority difficult if not downright impossible, placing the student’s desire to follow their faith in conflict with their need to answer to the authority of those in charge on campus.

A Safe Haven

Christian colleges and universities aren’t necessarily the “safe haven” that they’re built up to be, but they are certainly a place of safety and understanding for college students who want to be able to gain an education without having to fight for their beliefs every day. While there are strict, fundamental Christian schools that follow a rigid code of conduct, from forbidding alcohol on campus entirely to strictly regimenting the interactions that are possible between male and female students, there are many Christian colleges and universities where a different view on faith is utilized: one that weaves the threads of faith, belief, and adherence to gospel truth throughout every aspect of life on campus.

Attendance at the college chapel on Sundays doesn’t have to be mandatory for the college to recognize it as a day of rest, saving weekend activities for Friday and Saturday nights instead of filling up the schedule on Sunday. Prayer is used as a common part of the day, from important ceremonies to the simple prayer you’ll say before your meal. Not only that, your Bible is a safe reference and tool for all of your debates, papers, and interactions with professors and fellow students. Your faith is valued, rather than being disregarded out of hand. For many Christians, this makes a religious college or university the perfect place for growing their faith throughout their college years, rather than feeling as though they are torn between the need for a quality education and the need to build and grow those key elements of faith.

Making Your Decision

Does the lack of support for Christians at secular schools mean that by attending a secular college or university, you will be forced to hide your light under a bushel, practicing your faith in secret? Certainly not. Many secular colleges and universities continue to provide support to Christian students, and there are plenty of opportunities for practicing your faith in spite of growing bias against it. Not only that, Christian colleges aren’t always perfect. There will be rule-breakers, rebels, and those who question the authority of the organization. You will face trials and temptations no matter where you choose to go to school.

Attending a Christian college or university does, however, mean that you’ll be surrounded by those who share your faith. When you experience trials, you will be supported by others who can come alongside you in faith, rather than those who will encourage you disregard it. Your professors will teach from a solid Christian standpoint, not from a secular view that forces tolerance even when your faith doesn’t.

Choosing your college in Oregon is a very personal decision. Consider all of the relevant factors before you choose where to attend. Will you be going to school a long distance from home, or do you prefer to live at home and commute to campus? Are you able to adhere to the honor code of a strict religious university, or do you prefer a more forgiving code that governs your behavior while you’re away at college? Most importantly, does the college you’re considering offer adequate study in the major field that you’re considering? Ultimately, the college that offers the classes you need will be the one that you attend for the next four years.



Why Should You Go To College At All?

Chances are your parents don’t understand why this is even a question. Your teachers certainly assume it’s the next step. But maybe you’re conflicted. Maybe you have a sibling that dropped out, managed to get a job, and things are going smoothly for them. If they managed to do it, why can’t you?

First of all, if the latter is true for you, bear in mind that it’s extremely rare for that to happen in today’s world. A Bachelor’s degree is practically a prerequisite, and in lieu of a degree, you typically need 4-5 years’ experience in the specific work field you’re applying for. That’s not to scare you, just provide perspective on what the job world looks like.Why Should You Go To College At All?

But college is more than just getting a job, especially since there’s a good chance working an 8 to 5 job every day for the rest of your life doesn’t sound appealing. College however is more than education, more than a credential, it’s an experience to push you forward and make you the best version of yourself you can be.

Be Independent

Not to belabor you with financial reasons for why college is a good thing, but realistically this is high on everyone’s list. In order to be independent, you need to be able to pay rent, pay renter’s insurance, pay auto and health insurance, your phone bill, your gas bill, your electric bill, and – oh yeah – food. It all adds up and it’s one of the quickest ways to realize that a minimum wage job simply isn’t going to cut it.

But college enables you to have independence without the worry of bills and rent. There are numerous scholarships and financial aid programs to help you be independent. You can live on your own for the first time, moderate your expenses, and make those tough decisions between what you really need to buy and what you can live without. You get to be independent and ease your way into the real world rather than being plopped in the midst of it.

These financial aid programs are designed, not to scare you, but to show how much others believe (and are willing to invest) in your future. You matter and you should feel that way.

Find Your Interests

While it’s true that colleges in Oregon (and around the country) will make you take general education courses so you can be well-rounded in all aspects, this also has an additional effect, namely, you get to discover your interests.

From a young age, you may have had an interest in music, but maybe you’ve felt it drifting away. Maybe your instrument of choice doesn’t really appeal to you anymore and of all the things you brought with you to college, your guitar wasn’t one of them. College allows you to explore your options. Maybe now’s the time to take up a sport, join a club, or pursue a different passion altogether.

In college, all courses are explored deeply. As a result, you can see what you’re passionate about; what engages you; what makes you want to learn more. You may discover that you have a knack for business or that beaker tongs are becoming your “instrument” of choice.

Pursue Your Passions

This element works hand in hand with the previous two as your independence and new interests can motivate you to do things you never would have before. For instance, the freedom to make your own school schedule means you’re not restricted to the 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM time frame, rather you can make your own schedule, so if there was always something you wanted to do, but school hours conflicted, you make your own schedule.

If you wanted to actively pursue an internship during the day, take up afternoon hikes, or participate in theater productions during the evening, now you can!

Moreover, one of the benefits of attending a small college in Oregon is (with enough ambition) you’re able develop your own curriculum. Small colleges are open to new programs and they’re flexible to allow you to thrive. If you discover that radio broadcasting is your interest and you want to pioneer a radio show for the school, you can make it happen.


One of the beautiful things about college is people you socialize with. Just because you may be attending a college in Oregon, doesn’t mean you won’t meet people from all over the world. Even those from the same state as you come from different backgrounds and passions. These are people who can inspire you and sometimes challenge you, but all of it helps to mold you into a successful individual.

Plus, unlike high school where you have the comfort of familiarity, you’re in a new environment and a new stage in life. What’s more, so are the rest of your peers. It’s an era of growth you’re not going to want to miss out on.

What’s more, the people you meet in college are people you’re going to know for years. They’re not only your peers, but your resources long after college is over. If you are struggling to find a job, you can bet a professor or fellow student knows of an opening for someone with your qualified skills.

In short, college is the perfect place for you to start your journey; for you to become the person you were always meant to be. It can be an inspiring, uplifting experience and now is the best time to start. Change is seldom easy, but that’s why it’s so important. It will make you prosper.