The Average College Time Put Into Homework vs. High School

It’s common enough to see a student doing homework. But the difference between what the high school student is doing compared to the college one is often staggering. Those who have studied how students spent their homework time have often said that the average time spent on homework in high school is less than what is done at college. About now, high school students will be contradicting this. Read on. There are good reasons for this, and they’re not all horrifically bad.


The Assignments Become More Difficult

Some assignments carry on from high school into college. Just like you wrote an essay before, at university you’ll get to write them, as well. But it’s more than just choosing from a list of topics and jumping in. To start with, essay topics for college students (you can find many examples are usually much more complicated than those that are given to high schoolers. The further you get from high school, the more complicated doing those “basic” assignments will become. Papers can quickly turn into a dissertation.


Classes Are for Learning, Not Homework

Another significant difference between college and high school is the class structure. Often, learning in high school is more devoted to briefly teaching students a lesson, then assigning them classwork or homework to be done. Things become different later on. At universities, you’ll find that now, the classes are more focused on the learning aspect than in giving you pointless busywork. That’s great for those who don’t like to write an essay or twelve. That does, however, mean that all of your homework must be done on your own time.


Hours of Class Hours of Outside Study
1 2-3
2 4-6
3 6-9


Studying, Studying, and More Studying

So, how long is the average high school day? Eight hours? Ten or eleven hours, with homework? That would be right, depending on the school. However, as we mentioned above, there is no chance for college students to get work done during class. So it has to extend to their free time. Outside of that, there are other things that have to be done. This includes studying! There is a ratio of two or three hours of studying to every hour of class time, which is usually touted as a good estimate for the appropriate time.


Credits Per Week Hours of Studying Per Week
3 6-9
6 12-18
9 28-27


Tests Become Harder

There’s nothing more nerve-inducing and stomach-churning than a test. Particularly if it’s a big one. But, compared to those that the younger crowd takes, university exams are all “big ones.” There is also a great deal riding on every test many college students take. It isn’t just their parents that they’re worried about disappointing if they don’t make a good grade. A bad grade in college and you might find yourself back at home, enrolling in an online school because you couldn’t keep up academically with the old one.


The Assignments are Different

Sure, there will be plenty of old standbys, as mentioned above. Things such as essays or picking between topics will never die. That doesn’t mean that they don’t change, though. Beyond becoming more difficult, more work goes into them. If you make it all the way to a doctoral dissertation, you’ll find that lab work is essential to finishing up what you’re writing. Doing your own research is often a big change for those new students coming into the school. So is being given a more open-ended assignment and having to figure it out for yourself what has happened.


The Pressure to Succeed

This is the biggest cause of the difference between homework times for a lot of students. The desire to succeed is often great. You get ideas about your future, and you really shoot for them. In high school, it’s often seen as an abstract. Once you start your classes at college, it can become all too real. The desire to do as good as possible, to get as close to the perfect score as you can, can leave you spending days in the library.

There is a significant difference between the time spent on homework in high school and in college. Between the increased difficulty, the heavier workload, and the desire to succeed, it can take its toll on those seeking an education.

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