There are many reasons why college is different than high school; however, the main reason is the different way you will be forced to think.
High school teachers preach that you will think critically in their high school courses, but most students are not fully introduced to this type of thinking until college starts. High school classes do require some critical thinking, but not nearly as much as colleges do.
The entire course curriculum can be different. High school classes rely on memorizing dates, definitions and other facts. However, college challenges students to know and apply the knowledge to the professional business world or everyday life. High school classes involve a lot of tests and tedious (sometimes mindless, thoughtless homework), where as college classes usually forego the repetitive homework in place for essays and other larger projects.
Colleges do have tests; however they are not as frequent, and they are usually larger exams. Some classes only have a midterm and a final. Others will have three to five tests, rather than weekly or biweekly tests or quizzes. Also, the structure of the tests will be vastly different. College tests will utilize a lot of real world examples that are applied to their corresponding definitions, rather than the actual definition. Therefore, students need to not only memorize the definition but also understand its meanings and applications.
Also, college professors love to assign group activities. College professors believe these are essential to the college learning experience because people will need to work well in groups in the professional world. Also, some professors will even assign groups knowing that there will be intense problems within the groups. It’s crude; however, professors get a kick out of watching students work out their differences. They believe that it is vital for students to be able to work with people whom they do not get along with. Furthermore, sometimes a group project will be the only assignment for that class, and a student’s entire grade will depend on that one project. Usually this project will result in a class presentation that will last the entire length of the class, which could be anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. College professors will engineer this project to be something very similar to what a young professional would accomplish in the professional work environment.
This is not true for all classes, however. There are a lot of 100 level courses where students will find themselves memorizing trivial information. However, it is rare that a student will only do so. Most of these classes will be an introduction course that students will take during their first quarter/semester at college. Also, the further students get along into college curriculum the less they will memorize. Applying knowledge is especially prevalent in the upper-level classes that will pertain directly to students’ respective majors.
Also, many college students and professors find it necessary that students go outside the classroom and get involved in organizations. These organizations will be a great asset to any student, and they will force him/her to further apply the knowledge he/she learned in the classroom. These organizations will not force students to memorize mindless dates and figures, but it will create an opportunity for students to transcend classroom knowledge to their respective majors. This is a great way for college students to display their abilities to their prospective employers and how they can apply it. Also, this benefits underclassman immediately because they can learn beyond the introduction courses within their majors and be better prepared for the larger class projects. Also, it ameliorates resumes and portfolios, which are vital to internships and entry level jobs.