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Is college generally more laid back than high school?

I've heard that college is a lot less stressful and 'fast-paced' in comparison to high school. Is this true?

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Danielle’s Answer

"Less stressful" is relative. There is no one making sure you are where you supposed to be. If you need help, it'll be your responsibility to ask. So you have A LOT more independence. Depending on your studies your course work can be a lot more stressful, but there are tools to assist you with managing.
Thank you comment icon I see, thank you so much! Anita S.
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Katherine’s Answer

Hi Anita – That is a great question, but the answer will likely vary depending on the college you attend and your area of study. You might find college different than high school in the following ways:

Time management - Like others mentioned, college typically offers a lot more independence than high school. It will be up to you to follow the syllabus to keep track of assignments and exams, and your professors likely will not take attendance in large classes. You will spend a lot less time in the classroom each week than you did in high school, and there is often flexibility when scheduling your classes. For example, I attended Georgia Tech and was able to schedule several classes for Tuesdays and Thursdays for larger blocks of time instead of attending three days per week. I also took some evening courses, which allowed me to work part-time.

Teaching style – In college, professors will typically spend the majority of the time in class lecturing. They may teach in a more abstract way than you are used to learning in high school, and they expect you to apply your learnings on exams and assignments. Often, you will be assigned readings between lectures. Professors may not formally check that you have completed the homework, but you will likely find the assignments necessary to keep up and participate in class. For example, during my last year in college, I was taking mostly marketing courses in smaller classrooms, and professors expected everyone to read the assigned case studies before each class and come prepared to discuss.

Success metrics – You might find you have far fewer exams in college as compared to high school, and the exams will cover a lot more material. You will want to discipline yourself so you are not trying to study for a big exam in a short amount of time. If you need help in a class, your professor may have office hours or he/she may have a teacher’s assistant, but you will have to be proactive in seeking his/her help. For example, during my first year in college, I took a course called Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Though it was considered to be one of the easier science courses offered at Georgia Tech, science was a weak area for me, and I attended many sessions the teacher’s assistant offered to get help on assignments and prep for exams.

In summary, depending on the college you attend and your major, you may find college more or less fast-paced than high school. In my experience, college was faster paced and required more analytical thinking and discipline than high school, but it did offer a more flexible schedule and independence. I hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon This is great, thank you so much! Anita S.
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Lauren’s Answer

I agree with the other answers that the stress is very relative. It depends on how good you are at time management and what you prioritize. I found college a lot less stressful than high school academically, as I wasn't as concerned about a 4.0 and put my focus on the actual learning. However, in college there's a lot of outside factors that may not have affected you in high school, like finding internships and taking care of your house and organizing your own transportation. These are also stressors, and depending on your situation, could make college more stressful.
In general, I do think college is more fast-paced than high school, at least in my case. I go to a competitive college, and even though my high school was relatively competitive, it was still an adjustment. The students are more driven, the professors have higher expectations, and the course material flies by. You're meant to keep up on your own, and a lot of the reviewing and studying is self-driven but expected.
All in all, it depends on your situation and your school!
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Anita S.
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Bill’s Answer

It all depends on your situation. For me, high school was a joke. I barely tried and I sailed through all my classes. Then I went to community college and I thought that was even easier. Then I wen to University and got smacked in the face. I did terribly my first semester. I had to apply myself more, no one is there to make sure you're turning in stuff or going to class, you're out partying, etc. It took me a good year to adapt. Then it never really got easier but it just became normal. Then I went to grad school. Grad school makes undergraduate look like high school.

As I said earlier, it all depends. If you aren't driven and you take a difficult major, it's going to be hell. If you're a hard worker and dedicated, it will be challenging but not insane. Then again, you could take a crazy hard major and it would still be difficult. Each person is different though.
Thank you comment icon This is perfect, thank you! Anita S.
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Angela’s Answer

Hey there! College is completely different than high school. I would not consider college to be "laid back". I say that because of the impact the new responsibilities makes on your life. Living away from home/on campus or even if you're living at home but attending college, you will see how much more independent you have to be. College is more fast paced because you have to be on top of things! Everyone in college is focused on themselves and if you need to slow down and ask for help, that is completely your responsibility. Ex: you may be excited to study with your friends but you may come to realize that the way they study is not how you study best. So, you'll need to adjust... but no one else is going to tell you to do that on your own. Use your best judgement and keep yourself as your priority!
Thank you comment icon I see, thanks so much! Anita S.
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Paul’s Answer

Let me answer this question Anita:

I would have to say that high school is an environment that you are required to be in, because the government says that they must educate you until you reach a specific age (18 or 19). After this you are on your own.

I observed that when I got into college, many of the students, who did not want to be in high school, and were disruptive to the classes had all disappeared. No one was requiring them to go to college.

College is a very self motivated environment, and the environment becomes about as stressful as you want it to be. As a college advisor, I observed many students placing a great amount of stress on themselves, because they wished to achieve lofty goals, or get into a specific prestigious college. This happened to a certain extent in high school, but it is much more prevalent in the colleges and universities. This is especially true with the health sciences and pre-medical students. Many of them were taking chemistry, biology, and anatomy and physiology courses at the same time. This schedule resulted in a great amount of stress in their lives, because they needed to get good grades to get accepted in a good health sciences university. So they needed to structure their time around these courses. Subsequently they were moving at a faster pace.

Other students were enrolled in other majors, which were not as stressful, and allowed them more ample time to pursue multiple interests on campus (clubs, college sports, international studies etc...). This included many of the social sciences (like sociology, history, business, economics etc...)

I think the pace you set, will depend a lot on your class schedule, college activities, and other events you participate in. Students who join a lot of activities and attempt to structure this around their class schedules, tend to be more stressed and moving a lot faster around the campus than others.

So, really, the pace of college is pretty much up to you, and the goals and objectives you wish to achieve in your education. High school and its structure is determined by what the system wants you to achieve and the schedule they set up for you.

So college is controlled by you, while high school has the input of the educational system. I thought high school was much more laid back than college. This is my opinion.

I hope this has been helpful in answering your question.

Paul

Thank you comment icon I see, thank you! Anita S.
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Teresa’s Answer

College has been more laid back than high school for me personally because there is a lot of freedom. However, you have to depend on yourself to stay on track with your academics.
Thank you comment icon I am really grateful you took the time to answer this question. Anita S.
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M’s Answer

Hi Anita! This truly depends on the high school you went to and the college you are going to. For me it definitely was, I went to 1 of the top 100 high schools in the United States, and ended up going to a Cal State University. The competition and drive amongst the group of students was so different. I was used to students taking mostly AP and IB classes to surrounding myself with people that came from a less privileged environment. So it truly depends on your circumstance, but it is most important to continue to work hard and stay persistent and organized regardless of where you go. Wishing you all the best!
Thank you comment icon I see, thank you so much! Anita S.
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Nicole’s Answer

College is more laid back and assignments are not an everyday thing, but I can tell you that it is about Time-management with assignments. Assignments are usually a weekly based, just because its weekly though you still can get a load of assignments from one professor (It sucks!), but it all depends how you time things and manage the assignments. But in general yes college is more laid back, it's all adults .
Thank you comment icon Thanks, can't wait to put this advice into action! Anita S.
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Olivia’s Answer

I found that college can be a lot more laid back based on the habits you introduce. I struggled in high school and felt that I was constantly overwhelmed with the work load. I got recruited to a competitive school for sports and was nervous about making the transition based on my time in high school. However, being able to build my own curriculum (especially the ability to pick professors), having more time in between classes, and having personal stake in my education made a huge difference. I felt I spent the same energy on my education but had a much better experience with insanely better grades.
Thank you comment icon This is great, thank you! Anita S.
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