Transitioning from high school to college is a BIG deal because high school and college can be very different for many students Here we will help ease some of those anxieties of change and hopefully answer some questions you’re wondering about the transition process!

Understanding the differences

Course levels in college can be divided up into different levels such as:

  • Elementary (introductory classes)
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

GER: In order to successfully graduate from college and earn a degree, you have to complete a certain courses to fulfill certain requirements. Colleges typically require students to complete minimum courses, also known as general education requirements (GER). Colleges will list what is considered general education requirement courses at their institution. 

Major requirements: In order to complete a major, to get a degree in the major, you will need to complete the major’s requirements. You might spend time completing the elementary or introductory courses in order to take the major courses. These are typically the last classes you take to fulfill your major/degree requirements.

School/College: Many four year colleges split and categorize their majors into different disciplines which can be be housed in different “schools” or “colleges” at your institution. For example, the major Chemistry can be housed in the College of Letters and Sciences at your institution. How each different majors, minors, certificates are grouped into the schools and colleges will be dependent on your institution.

Requirements and Prerequisites: Similar to high school, in order to take advanced classes or the next class in sequence, you will need to fulfill the requirements to taking that course. For example, you’ll need to take algebra before you can take geometry, therefor algebra is the prerequisite or required class in order for you to take the geometry course.

Course structure



Schedule structure

Frequency of classes (2-3 classes per day)


Career oriented



HS: Lots of close support, after school help, during lunch, etc.

College: Tutoring, group tutoring, peer learning, writing centers, academic services, TA’s. professors, faculty, student organizations, etc.

Prepare for:

You can get some serious culture shock when you transition to college. There are differences in:

Learning culture

Social culture

Socioeconomic culture 

Class culture

Extracurricular culture


Professional relations with:






Lots of new independence and free time

Different learning and studying styles required for different classes