The Differences Between High School and University

By University of Waterloo Modified on May 04, 2022
Tags : Academics | Community | High School | Student POV

Of course university life is different from high school; but how, exactly? A Waterloo student walks you through what to expect.

The Differences Between High School and University

Life in university is definitely different from life in high school, but many of these differences will help you grow and become more independent. Here are some key differences to consider so you can start to prepare yourself.

Way more freedom

University students experience more freedom compared to high school students. You will have the ability to decide whether to attend your lectures or not (of course, it's strongly recommended that you attend your lectures for the best learning experience!). If lectures are mandatory, the professor will give marks for participation.

With the amount of freedom you'll have, you can expect more responsibilities. You'll be in charge of your own work and there won't be teachers or parents reminding you to complete your assignments. It will be important to be mindful of managing your time and freedom so you can stay on top of your assignments.

Schedules are flexible

You are probably used to having a set school schedule in place for the term with back-to-back classes. That is not the case for university students — you might have free time between classes to hang out with friends or to catch up on some studying!

In university, you'll receive a syllabus for each course at the beginning of each term, which you can use to plan how you want to study for tests and complete assignments. This offers more flexibility than high school — instead of waiting to hear from your teacher what assignments and tests are coming up, you'll know all of this ahead of time.

More ways to get involved

There are a lot more clubs and teams you can join in university. Participating in clubs is a great way to get involved in the community, meet new people and gain new experiences. It's a win-win situation!

"As a second-year student who wasn't really involved in clubs in high school, joining clubs in university has allowed me to meet new people, open myself up to new experiences and learn more about Waterloo." says Aksaya, a Science and Business student at Waterloo.

Overall, university will allow you to grow and experience many new things. It can be stressful, but by following tips from our guide to deal with stress and being aware of the challenges that come with the transition, you will be set for university.

Check out our top tips on time management

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