Difference between High School and College

Nervous about coming to college?? Wondering if college is going to be like highschool??

Here is some insight from UNE’s Dean of Students Mark Nahorney and two current UNE students James Muller and Heather McIlroy.

From the Dean:  

Freedom and Responsibility

  • There is no one to tell you to go to class or to get involved.  These are things you need to learn to do on your own and find ways to motivate yourself to do them.
  • You have the freedom to explore.  Take an Exploration class you are interested in or join a club to learn more about something new.

The syllabus is very important!

  • Things in class move very quickly.  There is a multitude of information you could be tested on and it may not be covered in class.  It is important to follow the syllabus to know when assignments are due, when tests are, and what material is being covered each day.

Approach faculty and staff members

  • Don’t be afraid to approach faculty and staff members of the community.  They are here for you and they love talking with students.  You will see them at campus events because they enjoy being a part of the community.


  • When emailing or talking to professors or other staff members be proper.  Address them at professor, Dr., etc, and start your emails with Hello or Hi, not Hey.

Living with other people

  • Living with other people can be a new experience for many when coming to college.  Utilize the roommate agreement, your RAs and other programs that are designed in order for you to be successful. Be open to discussion and talk things out with your roommate(s).

This is an extraordinary time in your life and UNE is a beautiful place to be.  It is a small community, and the staff and students are great resources.  Take advantage of all UNE has to offer.

From Junior UNE student James Muller:  

The biggest attraction of college for a lot of students (as it was for me) was the freedom. It isn’t exaggerated either – once you move your things in and say goodbye to friends and family, even if you live close by, there’s a feeling of disconnect that a lot of students have been craving for years (whether they come from a good place or not). That being said, it’s astonishingly easy to let it go to one’s head. The way I see it, college is twice the fun of high school with twice as much personal responsibility. As liberating as the change can be, it can be equally stressful to realize that staying on schedule, saying no to fun things and making sure you’re eating and sleeping is all up to you. The first two weeks of college for me were terrifying because of how abrupt the change was, but everything eventually settles and you get into the swing of things. A big difference academically between high school and college is that high school is a lot of memorization and basic learning skills, whereas college courses force students to work for themselves for the benefit of their own learning. You develop the skills you want to develop, and what you get out of each class will be proportionate to what you put in.  High school may have felt mandatory at times, but the fact that you’re here means you’ve applied, probably gone through Orientation and want to learn. I mean, what else would you be putting down thousands of dollars for? It’s easy to lose track of that thought when it’s the weekend after a big test and you want to let loose, but (and every student can attest to this) never go overboard. There are always resources on campus that can help enhance your college experience and make the most of that tuition cost, but a lot of them will be up to you to seek out and utilize. Ultimately, the residential aspect of college as well as the expectation of personal leadership sets it aside as one of the most challenging, rewarding and different things you’ll ever do. Don’t waste it!!


From Junior UNE student Heather McIlroy: 

One of the biggest differences between high school and college would be class schedules. It will most likely be that you will have free time between classes and for a good portion of the day. Some advice would be not to waste that time; try to get work done even between your classes so your work doesn’t build up. Time management is key in college, because in high school we most likely had teachers and/or parents doing that for us. However, in college  it lies on our shoulders to be responsible and manage our time wisely.


People always say that college is a chance to start fresh, to be whoever they want. This is true, college does give you that opportunity to start over. However, it is important to no matter what, be yourself. If you change who you are in order to make friends then chances are sooner or later you won’t be friends with those people any more. If you be yourself, it is much easier to make friends.


Ask questions. In high school, it wasn’t cool to be the one asking questions and not knowing whats going on, but in college it’s different. It is encouraged that people ask questions. The professors and faculty love it. Don’t wait for someone else to ask your question, because then you may never get it answered. Also, the Learning Assistance Center is open for everyone and trust me most people take advantage of it.


This year may be the first time some of you have shared a room together. Please just be respectful towards one another and each other’s property. You will get the chance to set ground rules that you and your roommates agree on, please take this seriously because it really can help out later. Always remember the golden rule, “treat others the way you would like to be treated.” If anything does arise, then use your RA, they are there for a reason.

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