Ask a Collegiette: College Workloads vs. High-School Workloads

Are you a smart and savvy pre-collegiette looking for answers to some of your most personal questions about college? You know, the ones about boys, classes, roommates and parties that your school’s guidance office can’t help you with? Jen is here to answer those questions! Whatever your concern, she’ll do her best to help you so you can make sure you don’t just survive college, but rock it!

How does your college workload compare to the workload you had in high school? Do you think your high-school work prepared you for college work? – Elena


My college workload has definitely been a lot harder than my high-school workload, but it hasn’t been unbearable! Just like you, I was concerned about how different the work would be between high school and college, but thankfully it all seems to balance out because your education to this point has prepared you for what’s to come.

Before I started high school, I also remember being super nervous about the difference in the workload between middle school and high school. I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, those big high school kids really seem to know what they’re doing; I don’t know how I’ll keep up with them.” Eventually, it worked out well because even though the high school work was much different, I was still prepared enough for it and was mature enough to be able to take it on.

I think the same will be true for you as you move on to college: Whether or not you think your high school has prepared you for a college education, you’re probably at a point academically and emotionally where you’ll do just fine in college. The workload will be harder because the subject material will be a bit more challenging. Since you’re paying a lot to be at college and receive a quality education, it’ll be good for you to be challenged. Even though things will be different, you will have a lot of extra time in between your classes to get caught up on work and get a handle on your schedule. No matter how much is on your plate, it always seems to work out in the end!

In terms of actual homework, my workload in high school was mostly worksheets, problems to solve from a textbook or other busywork assignments. In college, you’ll have to write a lot of longer papers and read more instead, which could average around 40 or more pages of reading per class. Your homework will also reflect whatever you major is: Art and music majors need to devote a lot of time in the studio to paint or in the practice rooms to practice, English majors might have to read a whole book in two days and math majors could have a lengthy set of problems to solve in a short amount of time. Keeping these differences in mind between the various subjects you might study will help you to be prepared for what’s to come.

For the times when you’re struggling academically, your college will have plenty of academic resources available for assistance. Talking to academic advisers, who assist you with selecting your classes and can give you advice related to your major, is a good place to start. They can do more for you than just signing off on your courses; they are trained academic professionals who want to see you succeed and help you if you’re struggling.

You’ll also have your RA (resident adviser) on your hall to guide you in the right direction, and you’ll have peer tutors who can give you tips for surviving a tricky class that they’ve already had to deal with. Of course, you’ll have your professors as well, who have office hours designed for you to stop by and ask any questions you have about the course material. You don’t have to face anything on your own!

Even though all of this sounds so overwhelming and daunting, your college workload can be manageable. As long as you utilize the academic resources available to you, stay confident and hold on to your drive for success, you will do amazingly!

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