One of the biggest differences between high school and college is the academics. High school classes are shorter, but occur more frequently than college classes. In high school, I was in class for roughly thirty hours a week Monday through Friday and my first class began at 7:50 am, whereas in my first semester of college, I’m in class for about twelve hours per week, Tuesday through Thursday and my earliest class starts at 9:40 am. As a result, I have three day weeks and four day weekends! Since college classes generally only meet a few times a week at most, nightly homework assignments are unlikely and long-term assignments are more common. In some of my college classes, there are Teacher’s Assistants (TAs) who are often graduate students. College professors sometimes allow their classes to refer to them on a first name basis—a rare phenomenon for any high school student. On a test day in high school, students are always told to quietly occupy themselves or begin the homework if they finish early, whereas in college, you are dismissed as soon as you finish the exam.
Technology use in my college classes is also very different from my high school academic experience. In one of my classes, the exams are posted online with a time limit of two hours and are graded immediately. In my lecture-style class, all the students purchased a remote control at the beginning of the year to electronically answer in-class questions for extra credit. This software benefits the professor because she can poll the class and identify any struggles with a certain topic and can re-teach it. The program helps her students as well because we’re given roughly 10 review questions to answer per class, which helps us study for exams. Additionally, this professor uses Tegrity, an online resource accessible via Blackboard to record lectures for those students who do not attend class or on days in which class is cancelled. Blackboard allows professors to communicate with their classes as needed, whether it is used for posting assignments, announcements, or grade updates. With such great differences between academics in high school and college, even though the courses are a lot more work, I much prefer college classes, especially with my schedule!