If you’re planning to leave for college soon, you might be wondering what life after high school is like. Having some idea of the differences can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed once you arrive on campus.

When you get to college, you’ll notice that everything from academics to your social life will change. Here are just a few examples of the changes to expect.

More Freedom

When you’re in high school, you are legally obligated to go to school. That’s why your parents and teachers insist that you only miss school when you’re really sick or have a family emergency. That’s also why you need permission to miss school and why your school will call your parents if you’re not in class.

In college, this is not the case. If you wake up feeling like taking the day off, or maybe only want to go to a few classes, you can. Some professors do take attendance, in which case you can get kicked out of their class for missing too many classes, but your parents won’t face legal consequences for not sending you to school.

Of course, there’s a downside to all this freedom when it comes to life after high school. You need to learn how to handle it, which means limiting the number of classes you miss. You also need to set your own study and sleep schedules.

For some college students, the temptation to go out every night and sleep through morning classes proves too much and they never learn how to manage their new found freedom. Often, this leads to flunking classes and, sometimes, even dropping out of school altogether. You have to be self-disciplined if you want to graduate from college.

Increased Social Opportunities

If you plan to move out of your parents’ house for college, expect to have a roommate. This is usually the case whether you live in the dorms or get an apartment or even a house. Most college students live with other people, which forces them to be social, even if they were shy in high school.

Having a roommate is just the beginning of the social life you can look forward to in college. While colleges might not have as many dances as high schools do, they have plenty of other on-campus social events and activities. You’ll find this out your freshman year of college when you’re told about mixers, Greek life, intramural sports, and more.

Fewer Tests and Homework Assignments

When you’re in high school, you tend to have daily homework and tests every few weeks. So prepare to be surprised when you get to college and find out that many professors only plan a few tests per semester.

In addition, it’s pretty unusual to get daily homework in college, which is another way life changes after high school. Instead, your professors might give you a date by which they expect you to finish reading a book or a section of a textbook. The same goes for papers, which you might be assigned once a month or a few times per semester rather than daily or weekly.

This doesn’t mean college life is a breeze, though. The fewer assignments and tests you have, the more each one is worth. So if you fail one of the three tests you have during the semester, it will be hard to get an A in the class. That’s why studying for tests and working hard on papers is so important when you’re living the college life.

If you’re in college already, can you add any other ways in which life is different than it was in high school?

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