Understanding the Difference between High School and College

Successful college students seriously pursue the understanding of ideas, cultivate a spirit of curiosity, ask questions, and maintain a positive attitude towards learning.

Student Responsibility

High School "Teacher Supported"

College "Student Directed"

High school and teachers require attendance.

Successful students attend all classes although attendance may not be required.

Teachers remind students of assignments, tests and make up work.

Students complete assignments and take tests on time.

Teachers tell students what to learn.

Successful students determine what to learn and know how to study using their own learning styles.


  • Summarize main ideas.
  • Outline notes.
  • Provide study grades
  • Formulate questions.

Successful Students…

  • Use effective textbook reading skills to learn content.
  • Take effective notes & study them regularly.
  • Create their own study guides, maps and graphic organizers.
  • Generate questions and answers from varying perspectives.

Teachers guide research and the location of information.

Successful students possesses library and internet research skills

Teachers give students supplementary information.

Successful students seek background information or supplementary resources.

Teachers monitor student performance by providing grade sheets.

Successful students monitor their own performance and set improvement goals.

Teachers discipline inappropriate talking in class.

Teachers do not tolerate inappropriate talking in class.

Teachers usually require less outside studying than in college.

Successful students study 2-3 hours for each one hour of class time.

Teachers provide in-class study time and students often study with many distractions.

Successful students use study areas on campus and create a study area at home.

Others schedule a student’s time for classes, sports and work

Successful students must develop personal time management systems for college classes, study time, work and social life.

Students often choose elective courses based on internet.

Successful students choose courses based on program, degree or transfer requirements.

Academic Environment

High School "Student Focused"

College "Content Focused"

Teachers give short lectures that often duplicate reading assignments.

Teacher’s present extended lectures that supplement assigned readings.

High school classes are usually limited to 30 or fewer students.

College classes are usually larger than 40 – 100 plus students.

High school classes meet daily.

College classes meet 2-3 times per week.

Teachers provide necessary background knowledge.

Teachers assume students have background knowledge and skills.

Teachers focus student learning with questions.

Teachers expect students to generate questions.

Teachers cover all content in class.

Students are responsible for all material whether or not it is presented in class.

Teachers provide organization.

Students must have systems of organization for assignments, notes and handouts (notebooks/folders).

Resources & Support

High School "Teacher/Parent Directed"

College "Student Directed"

Students have daily contact with teachers and receive regular feedback.

Successful students have limited contact with teachers and must seek feedback.

Teachers and parents direct academic accommodations and services for students with special needs.

Successful students seek out academic accommodations and special assistance.

Teachers provide extra help.

Successful students seek out peer tutoring and further academic assistance

Friends and family support students.

Students may not be in contact with a family support system and need to create a new support system.

High School "Teacher Structured"

College "Student Structured"

Teachers usually give structured assignments with explicit directions.

Successful students organize and interpret assignments and conduct research independently.

Teachers often use T/F, multiple-choice and short answer test formats.

Teachers give complex exam questions requiring analysis, application, and synthesis of ideas and theirs using multiple-choice and essay formats.

Teachers give frequent tests and provide make-up tests and retakes.

Teachers give fewer tests (2-3 per semester) and generally do not allow for make-ups or retakes.

Grades are based on quality, completion, and effort given to all assignments.

Grades reflect the quality of the product and adherence to college-level thinking and writing.

Teachers offer extra-credit opportunities to improve grades.

Teachers may not offer extra credit.

Classroom Tips

1. Attend all classes:Arrive on timeDo not leave early

2. Be prepared:Read and process text before class – formulate questions to have clarified.Review previous notes.Do problems, brainstorming, outlines.

3. Sit close to the front:Listen activelyTake notesAsk questions

4. Seek assistance:Visit instructor during office hours with questions/concerns.Get peer tutoring assistance.Get a sturdy buddy.Go to learning centers – reading, writing or math

5. Hand in work on time and do not miss exams:Have work college-level ready to hand in on due date.Do not use excuses to rationalize lack of preparation.

6. Be realistic, use a calendar, and follow course syllabi:Schedule assignments, tests, projects.Schedule study time – 2 hours of study for each hour in class.Honestly account for family, social life, work, class, study and transportation. A 15-credit semester load = a full time job

Preparation Tips

1. Take 4 years of high school math.

2. Take college preparatory, enriched and honors courses.

3. Take elective courses that develop background knowledge such as sociology, psychology, geography, anthropology, philosophy, biology, chemistry and physics.

4. Develop strong communication skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

5. Take college preparatory courses in critical reading and study skills.

Source: MNADE Publication

Test Anxiety

Do You Experience Any of the Following During Tests?

  • Does your mind "go blank" during examinations?
  • In exams, do you fell like you are "thinking through cobwebs?"
  • Do you find it difficult to "recall" information you learned before tests?
  • After exams, do you "remember" answers to test questions?
  • While taking tests, do you notice your heart pounding, shaking, sweating?
  • Do you experience "negative thoughts" during examinations?
  • What are you telling yourself about the test?
  • Do you feel that your performance on tests reflects what you have learned?
  • Do you have any difficulty with concentrating on the exam questions and answers?
  • To what extent do your answers to these questions interfere with your performance on examinations?

What Causes Test Anxiety?

  • Poor preparation for examinations is the most common cause of test anxiety.
  • Lack of interest in a course or dislike of the instructor can result in low motivation to study for examinations.
  • The exaggerated importance of an examination can produce increased anxiety and possibly, panic during test taking.
  • Individuals with learning disabilities (reading, writing, math, concentration) will probably experience increased anxiety on tests.
  • Below average or low average intellectual functioning can result in increased anxiety concerning exams.
  • Standardized tests (MCAT, LSAT, DAT, GRE, and GMAT) tend to be associated with increased levels of anxiety due to their importance to test takers.
  • Board examinations for professions (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy) tend to be associated with increased levels of anxiety due to their importance in certification and licensing.
  • Specific life events (death, illness, injuries, divorce) can result in temporary peaks of anxiety during examinations due to the impact upon emotional states.

Diagnosis of Test Anxiety

  • Self-ratings of anxiety during examinations indicate the perceptions of severity for cumulative effects of test anxiety.
  • Using a scale from 0-100, cumulative anxiety rations can be taken for the following situations: overall life stress, during study, during preparation for exams, immediately before the exam, during the exam and at the end of the exam. A comparison of these ratings provides an estimate of the relative distress, due to anxiety, experienced in these situations.
  • The Test Attitude Inventory (TAI) can also be used as it identifies "worry" and "emotionality" as two major components of test anxiety. The TAI uses measures of both components, compared to college undergraduates, to estimate the severity of test anxiety. This test can be taken by contacting Counseling Services at 280-2735.

Treatment of Test Anxiety

  • Replace worry and negative thinking with thoughts that are positive and relaxing.
  • Deep abdominal breathing can be used to reduce anxiety before, during and after examinations. The breathing method can be a distraction from negative thinking and enhance control of the situation. Usually, three breaths in a row are needed to produce a decrease in anxiety and the breathing pattern can be repeated if necessary.
  • Test preparation, test-taking skills/strategies, study habits, interest in courses and motivation should be evaluated as possible contributors to anxiety during exams. Start studying early. The night before a test, review the material and get a good night’s sleep. Cramming increases test anxiety.
  • Good self-care is important-eat right, exercise and get enough rest.
  • If a technique for reducing fear has been learned previously and proven successful, use this technique or consider a modification of that technique. Mentally practice going thorough the testing experience. Close your eyes and see yourself walking confidently into the test, answering the questions correctly, and receiving the grade you want.
  • Simple stretching exercises, such as shoulder shrugs, extending the arms, or pulling the arms back can be used to reduce muscle tension during exams.
  • Short prayers can be used for calming effects.
  • Learning new positive thinking patterns have been used to counter negative thoughts during examinations. These patterns include repeating a specific phrase, countering negative thoughts with positive thoughts, imagining a relaxing place and visualizing a more relaxed test taking experience.
  • If test anxiety reaches panic attack levels in severity, consideration of a referral for medication is appropriate.
  • Walk into the test with your head up and shoulders back. How you act can affect how you feel. If you act confident, you just may find that you feel more confident.

Please contact Counseling Services at 280-2735 if you are interested in receiving help for your test anxiety concerns.

Possibilities for Increasing Academic Effectiveness

The information provided below is based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Preference. If you would like to find out your type, please contact Counseling & Psychological Services at 280-2735 and indicate your interest in this.

Extraverted Students

  • Create or find a study place conducive to concentration and free of distractions.
  • Consider studying in sorter, more frequent study sessions.
  • Get active with learning (Possibly walk and talk while studying).
  • Do some studying with others. Use others to clarify ideas or get unstuck.
  • Manage sufficient time for studying; cut back on other activities if necessary.

Introverted Students

  • Speak out. Share your ideas and thoughts with instructors and other students.
  • Beware of too much isolation; get involved with at least one campus group.
  • Consider doing some studying with other classmates.

Sensing Students

  • Create visual learning tools which show overall picture AND facts.
  • Study with students who like theories, concepts, overall pictures, etc. (Intuitive types)
  • Learn strategies to increase reading speed and reading effectiveness.
  • Use effective test taking strategies to make the most of time allowed for tests.
  • Beware of changing test answers.
  • Take practice tests under test-like or timed conditions.
  • Remember that being confident of material can decrease the time needed on tests.

Intuitive Students

  • Create review tools that show "big picture" AND specific facts (charts, diagrams, etc.).
  • Study with students who do well with specific facts, details, etc. (Sensing types)
  • Beware of reading test directions and questions too quickly.
  • Beware of making careless mistakes on tests, review work before turning in.

Thinking Students

  • Whenever possible give positive feedback BEFORE giving constructive criticism.
  • Try to present facts tactfully.

Feeling Students

  • Get to know your instructor and other students in the class.
  • Find ways to make class personally meaningful
  • Don’t take instructor’s "critique" of work as negative or personal criticism.

Judging Students

  • Make time for fun; beware of too many "oughts" and "shoulds"
  • Increase adaptability; work on being flexible.

Perceiving Students

  • Find ways to make the class and assignments interesting.
  • Select innovative instructors wherever possible.
  • Consider creating a general routine build in some flexibility.
  • Learn to prioritize and do most important tasks first.

Betty Hall, UK Learning Skills Program

Psycho-educational Evaluation

A psycho educational evaluation is a formal diagnostic assessment by a psychologist or under the supervision of a psychologist. The purpose of this assessment is identification of a learning disorder and/or ADHD. Tests used measure cognitive functions. There is a $200 fee for an ADHD assessment and a $400 fee for the diagnostic learning assessment and it will be billed to your tuition statement. If a diagnosis should be made, the psychologist will determine if the nature of the learning disorder qualifies the student for reasonable accommodations under the American Disabilities Act.

If a disability is diagnosed after psychoeducational evaluation, a psychological report and comprehensive documentation will be prepared and released to Creighton University’s Office of Disability, with the student’s express written permission. This process enables the s student the use of reasonable academic accommodations within the University only.

If you experience any of the following, you may want to consider an evaluation.


  • Do you read materials more than once to understand their meaning?
  • Were your reading skills evaluated during the elementary grades? Or, during high school?
  • Do you find yourself rushed during written multiple choice examinations?


  • Do you require a calculator to perform basic mathematical operations?
  • Do you experience difficulties understanding mathematical concepts?
  • Do you experience difficulties with mathematical calculations?
  • Do you experience difficulties with mathematical story problems?


  • Do you experience difficulties with expressing your thoughts or ideas in writing?
  • Do you find it difficult to bring the right words together to form a sentence?
  • Do you sometimes make grammar errors in your writing?


What do I do if I think I have ADHD / ADD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder/ Attention Deficit Disorder)?

Students with concerns about attention disorder, ADHD:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is found in children, and a percentage of these children continue to manifest symptoms as adults. The Center for Health and Counseling can provide evaluation and management for students with attention issues.

Accurate diagnosis is important because the medications used for this disorder are often controlled substances. The following steps are required for students without previously diagnosed attentions problems.
1.  Call 402-280-2735 to schedule an appointment with counseling services for a psychological evaluation.
2. Diagnostic testing will be done. The fee for this testing is $200.
3. If ADHD is diagnosed, exam by medical provider, which may include labs and EKG, will be needed.
4. An appointment with a medical provider will need to be scheduled every 3 months.

How do I get a refill for my ADHD medication?

Student previously diagnosed with ADHD:
1. A copy of previous records with diagnostic testing needs to be sent to counseling services, to the attention of Dr. Kevin Powers. Fax: 402-280-1859.
2. If documentation is sufficient, Counseling Services will forward a recommendation to Health Services.
3. If re-evaluation is needed, the student will be notified to schedule an appointment with Counseling Services at 402-280-2735. The fee for re-evaluation is $200. Results of the evaluation will be forwarded to Health Services.
4. Exam by medical provider, which may include labs and EKG, will be needed.
5. An appointment with a medical provider will be needed every 3 months.

Completion of psychological evaluation and receipt of previous diagnostic records are required for transfer of your care for ADHD to the Center for Health and Counseling.

If you would like to be evaluated for ADD or ADHD. Complete the Academic Packet and return to Counseling Services in the Harper Center, room 1034 and make an appointment to meet with Kevin Powers, Ph.D., the Academic Success Counselor.

Anti-Procrastination Plan

  1. Name an academic task that you are currently putting off.
  2. Monday - Make it Meaningful.
    • Why is the task important to you?
    • What are the benefits of completing it?
    • How will you feel when it is complete?
  3. Tuesday - Take it apart.
    Break the task into smaller parts that take 15 minutes.
    List at least 2.
  4. Wednesday - Write an Intention Statement as to what you will do to get moving on the task. Be very specific as to what part of the task you will do and by when you will do it. Sign & Date it.
  5. Thursday - Tell everyone. (When you tell people, you feel more accountable). Tell the other two people in your group what you are going to do in #4.
  6. Friday - Find a reward for completing #4. Be specific, moral and legal. Don't use something you were going to do anyway. Choose something you are willing to withhold if you don't get it done.
  7. Saturday - Settle it now. Jump in. Just do it. Slow immersion can be torture. What could you do between now and 5pm today to get started?
  8. Sunday - Say no. Be honest. If you are not going to do it, say NO. Are you REALLY going to do it? If not, admit it and then you are no longer procrastinating! (i.e. recognize presence of the dragon & it disappears!)