5 Ways University is Different Than High School


The transition from high school to university can be both exciting and challenging. You’re being thrown into a whole new environment and with a new set of rules, and you’re ultimately in control. If you’re wondering what some major differences are between high school and university (other than the fact you don’t need to ask to go to the bathroom) check out my top five list below!

No One Is Checking Up On You

You’ve probably been told this a million times, but it’s important you hear this again. When you come to university you’re on your own. You’re making your own class schedule, which you’re expected to stick to and hand all your assignments in on time. Your professors don’t chase you for your projects or essays, so if you don’t get those in you can expect a 0.

You Have Way More Free Time

Instead of going to school five days a week for seven hours a day it’s not uncommon to have maybe three days a week with 12 hours of class total. That’s less than half the time you’re used to! With all this free time you can expect to make that up with the extra amount of homework you have and extracurriculars you’ll be doing.

The Work You Do Is Important

Now, I’m not trying to say the work you did in high school wasn’t important – it’s what got you here! However, the work you’re doing in university (inside and outside the classroom) is going to determine your career. Your grades are based on what you hand in, not how much the teacher likes you. Your portfolio is based on the quality of your pieces, not how hard you tried. The work you create in university has a lasting impact that can take you farther than just your undergraduate degree.

You Don’t Know Everyone

My high school had roughly 250 graduates in my grade 12 class, my first day of school at Ryerson had 500 students in the lecture hall. The fact is, you’re not going to know everyone here, and that’s ok. University really is an opportunity to re-invent yourself and try different things, and because everyone else is doing that no one else is judgingย you. You’ll still make friends and I guarantee someone will look familiar every time you pass down Gould St. but not knowing everything about everyone has its perks too!

You Want To Be Here

The main difference I find between university and high school is that you truly want to be here. It’s your choice and your money that’s put you here, and you have chosen to further your education. Students in university are generally pretty happy to be where they are because the school, program, friends, clubs…etc. are all their choice and are tailored to their interests.

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