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DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE
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Academic Environment | Responsibilities | Stress/Support | Legal | Physical Environment

ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT

High School College
- Instruction more experiential

- Student learns by doing and experiencing

- Instruction often provided via lecture

- Lecture may cover different information than textbook

- Instructors rarely suggest ways to learn material

- Effective reading comprehension skills more important

- Good note-taking more important

- Few visual and study aids provided

- Identifying main ideas more important

- Effective communication skills more important

- Student must independently seek additional and supplementary sources of information

- Student must initiate requests for additional help

- Student needs to self-monitor progress

- Paying attention in class more important

- Studying more important

- Most classes meet every day
- Most classes have 25 to 30 students
- Classes meet less often
- Much less direct teacher contact
- Less time in the classroom
- Classes have from 20 to 500 students
- Evaluations done by other people
- Student relies on external motivators
- More self-evaluations
- Motivation must be internalized
- Tasks more structured
- Step-by-step instructions given
- Grades based on a variety of activities
- Tasks less structured
- Student held responsible for developing a method to complete tasks
- Grades based on fewer tasks or larger projects
- Harder work required for earning a grade of A or B
- Simple completion of an assignment often earns a grade of C or lower
- Semester grades sometimes based on two or three test scores
- Student progress usually not monitored closely by instructors
- More major writing assignments
- Student must be flexible and learn at pace established by instructors
- Teachers more readily prepare students for exams
- Exams tend to be objective
Just memorizing facts may be sufficient to pass tests
- Teachers trained in teacher education programs
- Homework requires limited time
- Homework assigned on a daily basis
- Exam questions more difficult to predict
- Exams require more writing and essay exams
- Less frequent exams cover more information
- Instructors trained in content/skill areas
- Student spends two to four hours on study and homework for every hour spent in class
- Long-range, comprehensive assignments

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Responsibilities

High School College
- Fewer responsibilities
- Career decisions not expected
- Student assisted with decisions
- Limits set for student by parents and teachers

- More independent living (car, insurance, gas)
- Student expected to know career goal
- Increased number of decisions
- Student expected to make independent decisions
- More self-evaluation and monitoring required
- More independent reading and studying required
- Student more responsible for managing time and commitments
- Student establishes and attains own goals
- Student determines when help is needed
- Student must locate the appropriate resources
- Student accountable to whoever pays for education
- Interest in learning generated by student
- Motivation to succeed generated by student
- Attendance and progress well monitored· Student's time structured by home and school
- Special education teacher liaison between student, other teachers, administrators, and parents
- Attendance and progress not monitored
- More "free" time during day
Time management and organizational skills critical
- Student responsible for self advocacy
- Student must self-identify disability and request services from post-secondary institution
- Student required to provide documentation (less than five years old)
- Documentation must clearly support requested accommodations
- Help readily available
- Student need not seek help
- Student must independently seek help using effective communication skills
- Services must be requested well in advance (i.e. you cannot wait until day of test to ask for accommodations)
- Student labeled as "special education"
- Student possibly served separately from other students
- Student not labeled or served separately from other students
- Other students and faculty will not know about student's disability
- Faculty only notified of required accommodations
- Special education personnel talk freely with parents and teachers about student progress and planning
- Personnel cannot discuss student without student's written permission

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Stress/Support

High School College
- Lighter work load, slower pace, and less stress
- Increased work load, faster pace and generally more stress
- Entire course completed in 10 to 16 weeks
- Fewer social distractions
- More contact with instructors
- Less academic competition
- Environment more accepting
- Student given structure
- Live at home with family and friends for support
- Student experiences new and increased social pressures and expectations
- Relationships with family and friends change
- Personal support network different
- Less contact with instructors
- Less individual feedback
- More academic competition
- Behavior problems not tolerated
- Environment often impersonal
- Student given little direction
- Student more independent and accountable for behavior
- Student experiences increased financial responsibilities
- Student expected to know what he/she wants from post-secondary education, classes, life, etc.
- Student may leave home where family and friends not readily available for support

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Legal

High School College
- Services provided under IDEA or Section 504
- Services provided under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act
- School district responsible for identifying and evaluating disability at no cost to student or family
- Student must self-identify and provide documentation of disability
- Student must pay cost of evaluation
- Post-secondary institution responsible for costs involved in providing accommodations and/or essential auxiliary aids based on documentation of disability
- Post-secondary institution not legally required to provide special programs with comprehensive support services

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Physical Environment

High School College
- Most high schools have one building
- Home environment with set eating and sleeping patterns
- Possibly many spread-out buildings with several floors
- Eating and sleeping routine altered

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Academic Environment | Responsibilities | Stress/Support | Legal | Physical Environment

Adapted from:

- Claire E. Weinstein, Karalee Johnson, Robert Malloch, Scott Ridley and Paul Schults. Innovation Abstracts (vol. X No. 21; Sept. 30, 1988.) National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD); the University of Texas. Austin, Texas 78712.

- F. Shaw, L.C. Brinckerhoff, J. Kistler, and J.M. McGuire, 1991, Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 2, 21-26.

- The Postsecondary Learning Disabilities Primer, Learning Disabilities Training Project, Western Carolina University, 1989.

- Brinckerhoff, L.C., S.F. Shaw, and J.M. McGuire, 1993, Promoting Postsecondary Education for Students with Learning Disabilities.

Adapted from Missouri AHEAD

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