High School vs. College

Difference Between High School and College

Most people often confuse the terms High School, College and University. In some cases, College and University are used synonymously. The terms all refer to academic institutions and agencies that teach students at different levels, and they are all different from each other in terms of type of students being taught, the type of knowledge imparted to the students, and the ability to grant degrees or certifications. More often than not, most have a hard time differentiating High School from College.

High School refers to an educational institution which caters to students prior to them entering College or University. The term “High School” was first coined in Scotland to as an alternate label to secondary school. The grades covered in high school will vary from country-to-country or state-to-state. In most areas in America, high school is used to define upper secondary school which teaches students from grades 9 to 12. However, there are certain states that cover only grades 10- 12 whilst others choose to teach either grades 6- 12 or grades 7- 12. No matter what grade an educational institution teaches, High School is a pre- requisite to entering College or University.

When a student successfully completes high school and is awarded the high school certificate, he or she is now eligible for entry into college.

The term “College” may refer to an academic agency of higher level than that of high school. The use of the term may once again differ from country to country. It may be an institution which may award degrees, an institution in the University or connected to it (eg: University of the Philippines, College of Nursing), or a vocational institution. Again, most confuse University with College, both offer the public undergraduate studies and grant degrees, but Universities have the privilege of offering post- graduate programs not present in Colleges.

In countries like UK and Commonwealth countries like Australia and New Zealand, College loosely refers to any academic institution whether it’s high school, a vocational agency, or part of a university which has no degree- awarding powers and instead become educational grounds in preparation for University. It acts as a bridge that connects secondary school to a degree- awarding institution.