High School vs. College

Some differences between high school and college

Helping your son or daughter appreciate some differences in expectations between high school and college may smooth their transition to Thames Academy and beyond.

Broadly speaking, high school is a teaching environment where students acquire facts, build skills and reproduce what they were taught in the form it was presented. College is a learning environment where students are expected to think more deeply and apply what they learn to solve new kinds of problems.

These distinctions apply across the full range of academic and social situations, including the following:

High School College
The law protects a student’s right to a free and appropriate education.
The law only protects a student’s right to an accessible educational program.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act applies.
Students have right of access, not right of education.
ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 apply.
School is responsible for providing students with a good education.
Students are responsible for making sure they get a good education.
Special help is scheduled into a student’s program.
Accommodations are available for students, who choose when to use them.
School is responsible for elevating students and developing education plans.
Students are responsible for obtaining an evaluation and developing their own educational plan.
More than 1,100 hours a year are spent in class.
Only 340 hours a year are spent in class.
Students study for as long as it takes to complete homework or prepare for a test.
Students should study two hours for every one hour of class: that means 3 to 4 hours a day.
Teachers advocate for students, talking to others regarding their accommodations.
Students must be their own advocates. They must talk to instructors about the accommodations they require.
Students won’t be asked to leave the school for a bad grade. If a student receives a “D” or “F”, the student continues in school.
If the grade point average (GPA) falls below a “C-”, then a student will be placed as an “at-risk” student. If grades don’t improve, the student could be asked to withdraw.
Parents are involved in the process, attending meetings, and sharing in decision-making.
The college communicates with the student, not the parents (even if the parents are paying the tuition).

* From Handbook for students with Learning Disabilities; Hudson Valley Community College, Instructional Support Services.