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From veterinary school to consulting for Google, see where our most recent graduates are headed and what they had to say about the Keuka experience.

The Other Differences Between High School and College

As prospective and incoming students, you’ve all heard it before – college is different from high school.

I’ve heard it as well. I saw several PowerPoints, read several online lists/blogs (just because I was a nerd and way more exited about college than I should have been), and I even received handouts regarding the issue. But seriously, of course college is different from high school. It’s a whole new world.

But these resources only outlined the academic differences. And all of these differences made college seem so intimidating. As an avid learner, I felt that I could handle those challenges, and I have handled them so far. But what about stuff other than academics?

Yes, college life. You’ve seen it everywhere from John Belushi in Animal House to the hit TV series Greek. Fortunately, there are a lot of (good) things that make college life different from high school that only first hand experience can really let you in on.

High School College
All you get is a little milk carton. All the coffee you could want, juice, soda, tea, hot chocolate, cappuccino, and yes, milk.
You and your friends claimed a table to sit at every day for lunch. You text your buddies to see if they want to go with you on a late night Chinese food run or order a pizza.
Even casual dances are a big deal and a majority of the student body attends. Casual dances are usually put on by a club or Campus Activities (CAB at Keuka), and a much smaller portion of students attend.
You ask your parents to have your buddies over to your house. Your buddies just stop by your room whenever.
Group projects are rare and all the work can be completed in class. Group projects are common and all the work happens outside the classroom (this is a pain for students with busy schedules).
You can go to the computer lab during a free period, but you have to sign out and all the good sites are blocked. You can go to to a computer lab whenever it’s open. Facebook is not blocked, and you also have access to really cool programs such as Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop. Don’t know how to use them? Classes are usually offered in various design software (they are at Keuka!)
Carrying around your book bag from class to class was geeky. Carrying around your book bag from class to class is common sense (unless you have only one class that just requires a flash drive or a notebook).
No one emailed. Except teachers. You can’t survive without checking your email at least once if not two or three times a day.
The morning announcements. Wanna know what’s going on? Check your email. Read bulliten boards. Lok around campus for interesting events. Attend senate meetings.
Gym class. Need I say more? Options. Yoga, boating, badminton, aerobics, camping, dance -you get the idea. At Keuka, all that is required is a 3 credit Health course. Dance and Boating are offered for 1 credit, and most community college PE courses can be transferred in.
You have several week long breaks, aside from Summer break. You have several breaks that are shorter than a week and 2 (Winter and Summer, which is longer than in high school) that are suuuuper long.
You cringe at the thought of returning after summer break. You can’t wait to get back to school (this was true of myself and everyone I talked to).
Everyone has a clique of some sort, some more than others, depending on the school. Cliques? What? I was just hanging with my roommate and Chinese friends, now I’m going to go eat lunch with my friends from Drama Club, two of which are a mixed ‘race’ gay couple, one who’s a hip hop dancer, another who cheer-leads, another who’s Jewish, another who paints like its her job, and some new freshmen. In college, you grow up and realize that people are people. Whoever knew that that was all there ever was to the equation?

Hopefully after reading these personal observations, you can take it straight from the horse’s mouth: college is indeed different from high school, but experiencing it is so much better than just reading a flier that outlines how difficult college classes will be compared to high school ones. Trust me, college is better.

Hopefully, you not only have seen some more light shed on real college experiences, but this knowledge will hopefully look at your new or upcoming college experience in a different, better way.

Exciting things are just around the corner.

About Erica Ruscio

Hey, all you prospective Keuka students! My name is Erica Ruscio, class of ’13. I have a double major in English with a concentration in creative writing, and visual & verbal art. I also have a minor in communications.

I am the chief blogger and wordsmith for the admissions blog, Eye on the Storm, here at the Keuka Communications Office. I am in charge of posting pertinent information that will help you, as a prospective student or member of the Keuka College community, grow in understanding of what it’s like to a part of this wonderful and exciting college.

Just so you can get to know me a bit better, here are some fun stats:

Hometown: Middlesex, N.Y.

Career Goals: To become a children’s librarian and publish and illustrate children’s and young adults books

Campus Clubs: Arion Players Drama Club, Sigma Tau Delta, Lambda Pi Eta (Treasurer), Women’s Center Advocacy Club (Co-President)

Work-Studies: Admissions Blogger, Lifeguard, TeamWorks! Facilitator, and A.S.K. Writing Tutor

Most Recent Field Periods: I worked with Youth Services at Penn Yan Public Library this past summer, and I worked at Lightner Library this past January.

Activities I Enjoy: Going to concerts (any genre, mostly rock), playing guitar, camping, art (painting, drawing, design), drinking coffee (like it’s my job), running, blogging and designing websites, reading, and creative writing

Favorite book/movie: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (the books and the movies)

Why I love Keuka: The amazing and abundant opportunities and the amazing and personable faculty and staff!

View all posts by Erica Ruscio →

2 Responses to The Other Differences Between High School and College

  1. Peter Bekisz says:

    The “you can’t wait to get back to school” thing is very true!

  2. Christen Steinkamp says:

    Love this article, Erica! Very informative, and very accurate to life as a college student. I guess I never thought about the “social” differences between high school and college, but there are many. College is absolutely a time to grow and gain new experiences. Right on!

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