How college homework assignments differ from those in school?

When you reach college, the homework assignments you face will be vastly different from those in school. Many students struggle at first coming up with a work strategy and a viable method for handling their new workload and adjusting to the differences. But understanding the key differences can help rectify these differences immediately. What are the key differences?

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The first difference is that more of the work must be done on your own time. This refers not just to the actual work, but to the learning processes and lessons which influence that work. In all previous years of study, students spend more time in the classroom receiving instruction but once a student reaches college, that instruction is severely diminished and often amounts to only a few hours per week. This means that students must complete the vast majority of their work on their own, without supervision and without the teacher going over multiple examples in class.


The second key difference is that in high school teachers will often remind those in their class of their responsibilities, the goals they have to meet, and the due dates. But this changes upon entering more advanced academic years. Instead, teachers will sometimes simply provide a syllabus at the start of the semester inside of which are all deadlines and assignments for the duration of the semester. This means that students have to take responsibility for themselves by looking over the work required of them and setting priorities to meet all deadlines.


The third key difference is the amount of free time students have. Each day students in all other grades will go from one class to another, hour after hour and receive small assignments each day. But in more advanced academics this changes entirely. Students instead have hours or even days in between the courses they must attend. Each course brings with it studies, reading, and work. This means that when only three hours re spent in class, the amount of work distributed at the end of each class period is significantly bigger because it is meant to be the same amount of work one might have previously covered in a six hour school day.

There are still other differences. In high school and previous grades, students are not responsible for knowing what they need to do in order to score well in class and to graduate. The courses and requirements are pre-established and students generally all take the same courses without having much freedom in terms of direction. This also means that any given student endures less responsibility for knowing what is required in coursework and homework. But in more advanced years the grading systems are complex and they change for each teacher and each course. In fact, students will often have different requirements year to year as they advance and each student is expected to know what new rules apply to them and what they need to do in order to receive the grade they want.

As a rule of thumb, in high school and previous years, students are often told what they need to do and what is expected of them. If students act or complete work that is out of line they are told so and corrected. However, things change in college and it is at this point that students are expected to take responsibility for the things they do and do not do, as well as for each of the consequences which results from work done or not done.