College classes aren’t your typical 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. kind of high school day. I asked some Nebraska college students to compare their high school and college classes. Here’s what they had to share:

What is the difference between college and high school classes?

Zahra 2Zahra explains, “High school classes are slower paced, and you receive a lot of support from the teacher. College classes may require some self-teaching and they move fast.”

How many classes do you take each day in college? What is your schedule?

“Are you a morning or afternoon person? This is essential to know,” says Elizabeth. “You don’t want to take 8:00 a.m. classes if your brain can’t function until 10:00 in the morning.”

And don’t expect to be in class all day. “Freshman year, I had three classes every other day,” Zahra explains, and then a couple classes on the other two days. But don’t take classes back-to-back. “You need a break in between to relax and eat a snack. Otherwise, you will be exhausted and you won’t focus on your other classes.” The time you’re not in class? You will study, or work, or participate in activities. There won’t be a lot of “downtime” if you are really invested in your college experience.

How difficult are college classes?

“It depends on what classes you are taking,” says Zahra. Some classes will be more difficult based on your interest and comfort level with the subject, and even how the professor teaches. Zahra advises, “Do your homework, study daily, and watch video tutorials.”

What kinds of high school classes should I take to prepare for college coursework?

There are three kinds of classes you may have the opportunity to take at your high school:

  • Honors or Differentiated Classes – These follow the similar curriculum as regular classes, but are more in-depth and faster-paced. If you do well, they typically boost your high school GPA.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) – You learn the same information in a college course, but at the end of the course, if you take the AP exam for that subject, you can earn college credit – as long as you score well.
  • Dual Credit – Earn college credit through a participating college and get an idea of what college coursework is like. It’s more manageable than you might think!

Also, consider taking career education classes. Andres took construction and CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) because he wants to be an architect, and those classes would allow him to get a taste of the work.

How have those tough classes helped?

Pat says, “One of my college English classes was almost a repeat of what I took in high school. So I was at an advantage because I remembered the concepts I learned. It was less overwhelming.” Daniela says “I took dual credit psychology in high school, so I didn’t have to take and pay for it in college. And I was able to get into upper level psych classes.”

Elizabeth 1Elizabeth explains, “These classes give you a better idea of what college classes are going to be like, but also push you to work harder, which helps you get into the habit of studying.”

College classes can be tougher than high school ones, but aren’t as overwhelming as you may think. Take the tough classes in high school to be prepared. View more student stories and share how you are preparing for college classes.