Top 3 Differences Between High School vs College Life

Wow! I remember back when my high school graduation was forthcoming — it happened really fast. I didn’t even have time to think about what high school vs college life would be. All I could think of was staying far away from my parents, leaving my friends (not-so-nice people though) and of course, leaving my comfort zone.

Honestly speaking, I was so unprepared for a four-year college program. It seemed a bit scary to change from high school vs college life. But it’s one of those fears I had to face head-on.

It’s pretty obvious that most high school graduates have never experienced what it feels like to be on their own, so freshman year is more like a double-edged sword. It’s a time to see what life has to offer without parents and also a huge wake-up call to adulthood.

I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly how it felt to me.

Why Did You Make The Change?

Like I said earlier, I wasn’t entirely prepared for the new life, but it’s something I had to do to shape my career. It’s pretty obvious that every high school graduate has to prepare for a college life. You have to leave behind the free food, free digs, allowance, money to buy clothes and stuff.

To be honest, my high school experience wasn’t all that fun. It felt like a nightmare sometimes. The thing is, I had super annoying friends who didn’t care much about how I felt. They made me feel little, and I even ended up doubting many things about myself. They were just a bunch of toxic people!

Moreover, I’ve always been pretty insecure and hanging out with those people only made matters worse.

What Was the Transition Like For High School vs College Life?

1. Fresh start: It was both happy and sad. That being said, leaving high school behind wasn’t much of a problem no thanks to my toxic friends. I actually felt a bit sad leaving some of my amazing teachers behind, but I was ready for the new life and adventures college had in store for me. There was no turning back. So, it wasn’t a change I had to make. It was rather a change that had to happen. I was totally fine with it.

2. New social circle: Freshman year in college was pretty fun. There were lots of frat parties and stuff. Well, the thing is, I wasn’t very much involved in them. As an introvert, I didn’t talk to many people. I recall that my roommate and I went to our first college party. And it was pretty crazy.

I mean, I didn’t go to a lot of parties in high school, so I was pretty surprised to see how many people showed up. I couldn’t help but become a wall hugger and literally went to the corner of the room and sat down for quite some time. That was pretty weird, but I couldn’t help it.

The good news is, things got better during my second semester. I started to make friends with people in my class. It felt really great. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged.

The best part? That was the time I met my two besties who made me feel special and loved. Life became super awesome from that point on!

3. Tough classes and grades: So that’s about the parties. My next challenge was the classes! My first class in college was filled with nervousness since I didn’t know anyone in my class. This made me think about some of my friends in high school.

When I was in high school, I was among one of the smartest students in class. Now, almost everyone in this class was as smart if not smarter than I was. It was like finding a way to defeat many clones of myself. I had to study extra hard to get a good grade, or even just met the mean of the curve.

On the other hand, one major difference in terms of grading was absolute vs. curved. In high school, if you got 90+% on all the quizzes and exams, you would get an A.

It’s not the same in college. In college, you compete with everyone in the class. For example, if most people get only 30% on the exam, then 30% is the “mean,” and that usually equates to a C. If you are 1 standard deviation above that, let’s say you scored 40% on the exam, you will probably get a B. 2 standard deviations above mean is an A.

So it’s possible that you will get an A+ even if you only score 50% on the exam.

That being said, anybody in your class can be your friend or foe. Sometimes, you need to partner up with your classmates to help each other out and study together.

Otherwise, it’s impossible to understand and finish all the challenging homework, not even mention to hit the mean on the exam. Finding some strategic study partners is the key of success.

What Was the Outcome of the Change from High School vs College Life?

For starters, I became much more confident and comfortable with who I am. All thanks to those two girls. They helped me eliminated all the negative feelings and made me realize how wrong I’ve been about myself.

Honestly speaking, my relationship with my BFFs made me feel unstoppable. I’m so happy to have such beautiful people in my life.

I also realized that I had more to offer and even stated to value my own work. It was like the real me emerged, and I was totally loving it. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind or express how I feel!

Moreover, college also made me more daring. I become more risk tolerant. I also noticed that I was not as afraid to leave my comfort zone or take on challenges as I used to be!

What Lessons Do You Learn for High School vs College Life?

For starters, the transition from high school to college can be pretty scary, but it only gets better with time. I became the strong and confident woman I am today because of my time in college. It’s one of the most wonderful things that happened to me.

I also learned that it’s never a good idea to hang around toxic people, as they only drain your energy and make you feel like you’re not worthy. I suggest you disconnect yourself from such people without a second thought. Remember, you only live once.

Finally, be open to meeting new friends regardless of how you’ve been treated in the past. There are still beautiful people in the world. Remember, my life became awesome because of my two BFFs — who knows what could have happened if I didn’t meet them?

Just don’t be scared of leaving your comfort zone or trying new things. Trust me, these years will definitely make you discover new things about yourself. You’re going to love the new you!


One big thing sometimes I did encounter in college life was exam fear. Here are the Top 3 Actions to overcome exam fear to help you stay above the curve.

I’m sure you may have different experience than I have. Comment below or even better, share your journey of change with others!

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