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What Changes to Expect in College

Many of our Mission Society graduates make the decision to attend universities across the country after high school. In support this life transition, our programs emphasize college readiness and focus on enlightening students about the post-secondary experience. Ensuring that young people understand and are prepared for some of the most significant changes is pivotal to building their confidence - an invaluable foundation for students as they navigate brand new learning journeys.

In the list below, the Mission Society's Senior Advocate Counselor, Huilin Wu, highlights a few of the ways in which high school and college differ. She emphasized details that are easily overlooked in the excitement of graduation and newly-discovered independence, from increased schedule management responsibilities to shifts in grading and testing.

Take a look to learn more about the changes you can expect between high school and college, and what to keep in mind for a successful transition.


In college, students are expected to create their own schedules. This means that while there is more freedom, there is also a greater responsibility to organize your time.

School Materials

Students are often more responsible for determining the supplies they need throughout college. Additionally, young people and their families may need to account for an increased cost when it comes to acquiring college textbooks.

Class Size

Daily class periods in high school often include twenty-five to thirty peers. In college, your classes can vary – from an intimate group of five students to large lecture halls with hundreds of students.

The Day-to-Day

In high school, you proceed from one class directly to another, spending six hours each day in class. You often have hours between classes in college, and start times vary throughout the day and evening.

Managing Assignments

College students are more responsible for tracking assignments and deadlines. The syllabus, which outlines the entire semester of a particular class, can be an extremely helpful tool for accomplishing this task.

Grades and Testing

Missing one assignment in college can have a heavier impact on grades than it might in high school, where there are more frequent quizzes, tests, and papers.

Asking for Help

High school educators and counselors are often able to actively check-in on students' academic and emotional well-being. In college, responsibility shifts to students who are empowered to seek out this additional support when needed.

Congratulations to the Class of 2022 for all of your hard work and incredible accomplishments! We are so excited to see where you go next. Thank you to Huilin Wu for your time and contributions to this piece, and for sharing your advice with our community.

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