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What are the main differences between school and college?

11 August 2022
- 3 mins


Starting college is an exciting step for anyone who’s looking forward to the new challenges and changes that come with it. We’ve answered a few common questions some of our students have as they’re preparing to move from the familiar school environment to the undiscovered world of college and further education.

What are the main differences?

Independence in a Different Environment

Many people say that colleges treat students ‘more like adults’ than in schools and sixth forms. You won’t be seen as a child, and your lecturers will expect you to be fully responsible for your own work, attendance and time management. This includes hours of independent study and self-directed learning, as well as your timetabled sessions.

At college you’re still expected to behave in a responsible and mature way, but things may feel less formal than school. You can call your lecturers by the first names (no more ‘Miss’ or ‘Sir’), and unless your course requires specific kit, there’s no uniform to stick to. 



One of the biggest differences from school are the facilities. At Gloucestershire College we have the latest equipment and build working environments to learn and develop in. This includes:

  • Engineering and construction centres
  • Professional catering kitchens and commercial restaurants
  • Air Cabin Crew room
  • Hospital Ward and Early Years classrooms
  • Hair and Beauty Salons open to the public
  • Fashion and photography studios
  • Motor vehicle workshops
  • Recording studios; theatres; Mac suites and more.



Coming to college means that your learning will be a lot more hands on - whether you’re studying art, games design or engineering you’ll be given lots of opportunities to learn practical skills in workshops and studios, alongside traditional classroom based learning. We’re also really proud to support a huge number of work experience opportunities every year, with national companies and a number of well-known local employers. Some of the companies our students have recently worked with include Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire County Council, Renishaw and Spotify!


The people you meet

There’s a reason that so many people who make friends at college stay friends for years afterwards! The bonds you form at college can be so much stronger than the ones you make at school. You’ll meet people who you have a lot in common with; they may have a similar work ethic or career goal or you may have a lot of shared interests.

Having the opportunity to meet new people and expand your social circles can make your time at college feel a lot more worthwhile – so take the chance to enjoy it!


A chance to study something new

With a huge range of courses to pick from, college gives you the opportunity to study and learn about something completely new, whilst giving you the best insights and specific knowledge you need to decide on your steps afterwards, whether that’s university or the world of work. A lot of our courses cover a huge range of modules that give you the opportunity to further-specialise later on, so don’t worry if you’re not 100% sure which career you’d like yet – just make the most of the opportunity to learn about something you’re passionate about.


Whatever you decide, it’s most important to make a choice that suits you. If you want to find out more, you can come along to one of our events or contact our friendly Student Services team who’d love to help.


Why Gloucestershire College?

We guide any ambitious and motivated person on their journey through education and their career, by providing the right environment that encourages and nurtures individual talents.

Our industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching team provide our students with the skills businesses truly need.

We are here to help

0345 155 2020

90% of students would recommend GC and 95% said that the teaching on their course was good.

Ofsted has rated us good.

  • We offer industry relevant facilities
  • Our lecturers are passionate subject specialists
  • Employers value our students' skills

We'll look after you. We have dedicated teams to help you and a great Learning Mentor scheme.