How Is Graduate School Different From College?

To most students, college is a very fun time; a time where many young people encounter social, intellectual, even sexual, freedom. In many cases, going to college is the first time students are at a great distance from parental control. It is also considered as a period of transition to emotional and social maturity. It will be your first time to pay your own rent, make sure your bills are paid, set up your social schedule. In other words, it’s a young person’s first opportunity to truly manage his or her life.
Graduate school, on the other hand, is a whole different bag of responsibilities. It involves people who have more experience in the real world, able to work for a few years before going back to school for an advanced degree. A great deal of them end up having an academic career while others go back to the corporate world armed with that advanced degree. Graduate school is clearly a different world than college.

Let us list the differences:
1. Emotional Maturity. Most students mature during his or her college years. There are many experiences you can encounter that will force you to grow up fairly quickly. In graduate school, however, most people are already mature. This may not be true across the board but the law school program itself expects a certain level of maturity in its students. If you haven’t got all your partying and carousing out of the way, graduate school may shock you.
2. Married Life. A large number of graduate school students already have a wife or husband. In many cases, they also have children. This truly changes the dynamics of graduate school compared to college. Having children means you have to work in a fixed schedule and that your sphere of responsibility is much larger.
Most people in college are involved in serial relationships. Not in anyway emotionally serious, they move from one relationship to the other. All of these go out of the window in graduate school where a lot of students are married. This raises a lot of consideration you don’t normally see in college. The social values of commitment, dedication, sacrifice and self-discipline changes how you look at certain interpersonal relationships. These are all the dynamics that come from being married which is very different from a college student’s values.
College and graduate school not only differs in academic difficulty, focus and intellectual rigor but also in your personal values and expectations and the social environment itself. It goes a lot deeper.
So, if you are looking to go to graduate school, research carefully. You might be in for a surprise if your expectations are not grounded on objective reality.
This guest post was written by renowned guest blogger, Chris Walker. He works for and is available for a wide range of guest blogging offers. Contact him at to make an offer.