Every September, high school graduates must prepare for the drastic transformation from high school to university. High school is a teaching environment which a student acquires facts and skills. University is a learning environment in which a student must take responsibility for thinking and applying what you have learned. This step in life students will either adjust to or struggle with. High school students are told university life is exciting, unpredictable, and entertaining.
Also, students are informed university life is costly, demanding, and stressful. In order to adapt to the transition, students must understand and recognize the different teaching styles, testing, and grading. Teaching styles change as class sizes vary. Teachers in High school cover course material in depth and over a long period of time. Professors cover textbook material quickly. High school teachers check homework, remind students of incomplete work, and approach students if assistance is needed.
Professors do not check completed homework and will assume students can complete the same tasks on tests. It is left up to the student to communicate with their professors in order to receive extensions ensuring the student will not be penalized. Professors do not approach students or notice students who are struggling. Therefore, students may approach professor in given office hours for one-on-one help. Finally, in university due to large class sizes and minimal lecture time keeping up with assignments and readings is critical.
Cramming the night before a test and receiving a good grade is more likely to occur in high school, where testing in subjects is very frequent. Preparation for testing becomes more crucial in university because tests are infrequent, covering large amounts of material. Also, students in high school may be awarded a make up test normally without an explanation. Whereas in university, in order to receive a make up test a reasonable explanation must be given.
Review classes are given in high school to help prepare students and give them a clear idea of the material that will be tested. Rarely, are review sessions provided for university students, if they are, professors expect participation from students who attend. Success on tests can be mastered by applying acquired knowledge to new situations or to solve new problems. The grading system becomes very important as students enter university. High school students are used to courses that are usually structured to a “good-faith effort”.
In high school grades are given for most assignments. Students are also given grades for consistently good homework, which may help boost marks when test grades are low. Students who may not have a good overall mark occasionally have the opportunity to complete extra credit projects. Comparing this to university grades on tests and major papers usually provide most of the course grade. Extra credit projects are not normally allowed to raise a grade in a university course.
Therefore, the “good-faith effort” is important in regard to the professor’s willingness to help students achieve good results; it will not substitute for results in the grading process. Adjustment is required for a high school graduate to be successful in university. Before entering university, high school students must be aware of these differences. Therefore, they must know how to adapt to new teaching styles, to successfully prepare themselves for testing, and the changes in grading systems. Recognizing these differences before entering a university can help prepare students for greater success.