->'''Title Card''': ''This is an Iowa State College production.''\\
'''Tom Servo''': Iowa State College, the high school ''after'' high school.
-->-- [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]], ''The Home Economics Story''.

The transition from high school to college is typically one of the biggest transitions you'll make in your entire life [[note]] although arguably not as momentous as transitioning from elementary school to high, if only because [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore the change seems a lot scarier]] when you're four years younger [[/note]]. Abruptly gone are things like principal's offices, standardized school scheduling, and forced/required teacher compassion. Similarly, "popular crowds" are mostly relegated to certain dormitories. And bullying becomes PassiveAggressiveKombat if anything. In college, no matter how athletic or smart you are, you're basically a nobody in the midst of a large and culturally-diverse student body. And, unlike in high school, your instructors and parents will not determine your general course of action. Your life plan is now completely up to you. On the plus side, it is easy to make friends by finding groups that match your interests, although cliques ''typically'' are much more flexible (if not entirely nonexistent) and people don't ''entirely'' define themselves by music or fashion, and thus lifelong outcasts can finally have a place where they belong.

Many television and movie writers, however, seem unusually clueless about how different college life really is from high school life despite the fact that most of them are college-educated themselves. Thus, they'll apply many popular high school tropes to university settings. Sometimes this makes sense, and a few, such as the SadistTeacher, are if anything ''more'' plausible in a college setting. Far more often, however, the opposite is true, because they're either unrealistically below the maturity level of your typical college student, or simply not feasible within the general structure of university life. For example, a team of thuggish [[JerkJock football players]] [[BarbaricBully perpetually bullying a shy/awkward freshman]] is ''highly'' unlikely in a university setting since they will not live in the same building, attend the same classes, or have remotely the same schedule. Just as unlikely is a close-knit group of students having the exact same class schedule each semester.

One could argue that the reason why this trope exists is because most college-themed works are aimed at a high school audience (or, perhaps, because [[TheCoconutEffect college students are imagined to]] ''[[TheCoconutEffect look]]'' [[TheCoconutEffect like high-school students]] thanks to DawsonCasting). And, since most people would be uncomfortable watching "naive" high school students (for example) engaging in raunchy/anti-social behavior, writers instead use a college setting, while implementing enough high school tropes that their works will still be relatable to the average high schooler. In other instances, it's simply a matter of [[CriticalResearchFailure not doing the research]], especially if the author is himself/herself a high school student who has only the most vague idea of this whole "college" thing. Sometimes, however, this trope will be justified by depicting the work's respective university as a sub-par school where all the burnouts and slackers go. Some countries, particularly any that have ever been communist, actually do have universities that are like super high schools in that they lack freedom and choice; also, the students themselves will probably be a lot more innocent due to their education ''in general'' having been throttled (think of Cultural Revolution-era China, where ''no one'' was educated for several years until the schools were finally reopened) and thus will probably have the social skills of teenagers or even younger children.

This trope occurs in college-themed comedies a lot. Also, expect to see this trope in television shows starring a group of high schoolers that go off to [[CaliforniaUniversity college]] mid-series.



* In an old Dell ad, the "Dell Guy" was in a college lecture hall, plugging the latest product and eventually angering the professor. The bell soon rings and the professor has the Dell Guy stay after class to write sentences on the chalk board (a punishment fitting middle school more than even high school).

* Averted in ''Film/GoodWillHunting''. Gus Van Sant took great care in making sure the mathematics used in the movie was both accurate and sufficiently advanced for MIT students.
* ''Film/AnimalHouse''. College professors don't typically grumble about students not handing in papers. An extension can sometimes be granted, depending on the circumstances and the professor, but in college, no one hounds you for not doing your homework. You just fail.
* ''Film/RevengeOfTheNerds''. Despite having all the standard college stuff (fraternities, dorms, etc.), it feels more like a high school movie with its depiction of students and how they behave. Realistically, in a college setting, the nerds should actually be ''looked up to'' for their intellect rather than ridiculed for it.
** Though, this is inverted in the third film with the nerds in control at the beginning of the film until an alumnus of the [[JerkJock Alpha Beta fraternity]] sees what's happened to the college and wants to bring it back to the way it used to be.
* The 2008 sex-comedy ''Film/{{College}}'', which depicts college students as doing nothing more than non-stop drinking and partying (ie. having little concern for their studies, etc.). An attitude that might ''just barely'' get you by in high school but will definitely get you nowhere in college.
* ''Film/{{Accepted}}'': Actually Justified and enforced, as it is a fake college for people who couldn't get into any real college due to a variety of reasons, mostly personality disorders, and are acting like immature people because that's what they believe college to be like.
* ''Film/TheWaterboy'', in how it depicts both the Cougars and Mud Dogs as constantly picking on Bobby [[ForTheEvulz for no actual reason]] and depicts college campuses as being unusually close-knit.
* Nearly literally in ''Film/OrangeCounty'', shown by carbon-copy characters doing exactly the same things he hated about high school.
* It's basically Part 3 for Elle Woods in ''Film/LegallyBlonde'' since she's in ''graduate'' school. Elle's LimitedSocialCircle is confined to maybe six people (two aren't even students) even though there are about 560 students in each incoming Harvard Law class, and Elle's particular section would have had ~80 of those. In that social circle, we see every typical high school personality type (jock, bitch, princess, nerd, go-getter...) When Callahan [[spoiler:makes a pass at Elle]] it's almost like a VerySpecialEpisode of a teen show.
* In ''Film/IllBeHomeForChristmas'', the lead goes to a California university, yet everyone still uses hallway lockers to hold their belongings and jocks still stuff the nerds in said lockers.

* Both averted and lampshaded in Creator/StephenKing 's ''Literature/HeartsInAtlantis'': The first-person narrator of one story comments that he and his friend were wishing college were more like high school without even realizing it. Also, the narrator's sentiment that it is much more difficult to catch up in college once you've fallen behind is a lesson many a freshman has learned the hard way.
* ''I Am Charlotte Simmons'' by TomWolfe. The students at the fictional Dupont University are part of a rigid pecking order with jocks at the top and brains at the bottom. Even the graduate students obsess over their place in these high school style cliques.
* ''Literature/ElmerGantry'' hints at an [[UnbuiltTrope unbuilt]] version: Elmer's alma mater, Terwillinger College, is a heavily religious football school which adheres to the ''in loco parentis'' model, so it doesn't quite resemble either a high school ''or'' a modern college -- but the narration mentions that it has "a standard of scholarship equal to the best high-schools."

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BoyMeetsWorld'', which even went so far as to have school teacher Mr. Feeny follow Cory and his friends to college.
* ''Series/FamilyMatters'' continued using the same stale "big jocks and snobby girls perpetually pick on scrawny nerd" trope when Laura, Urkel and Eddie went off to college, even though it made almost no sense by that time.
* ''[[Series/SavedByTheBell Saved By The Bell: The College Years]]'': the main characters usually shared the exact same classes and still found the time to remain as close knit as ever.
** Also, things like romantic relationships seem to be a much bigger focus for them than their studies.
* ''Series/BeverlyHills90210'', for the exact same reasons as SBTB.
* ''Series/{{Undeclared}}'' did a pretty decent job averting many of these conventions. However, the show's main characters seem unusually carefree and unambitious for college students.
** On the other hand, we've all known at least one or two students like that in college. So, in a sense, that may be TruthInTelevision.
** One oddity about Undeclared: There are no teaching assistants on the show. Given that UNEC is clearly a large scale university with both Bachelor's and Master's degree programs, it's strange that we never see any TA's teaching some of the classes on the show.
* Averted in ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch''. When Sabrina moved on to college, the show introduced an entirely new supporting cast and wrote the new characters more like college students than high schoolers. Also, Sabrina had been something of a TeachersPet in high school and had some difficulty adjusting to the higher standards and indifferent professors.
* On ''Series/{{Friends}}'', when Ross delivers Girl Scout Cookies to the NYU dorms, they refer to him as "Cookie Dude!"
** Also, most of the students at NYU (where Ross eventually works as a college professor) seem unusually immature for college students, let alone students at a school as prestigious and selective as NYU.
* ''Series/ThatsMyBush'': The episode "A Poorly Executed Plan" has George's old college buddies come over for a visit. Let alone 50 year olds, these guys act immature even by HIGH SCHOOL standards!
* Averted on the ''Series/FreaksAndGeeks'' episode "Noshing And Moshing." Neal's brother briefly comes home and discusses at the dinner table how different college is from high school (in a good way).
* Played completely straight on ''Series/{{Community}}'', though this is likely just a byproduct of all the ''other'' weirdness on the campus (and in fact, the fact that Greendale has high school style lockers is frequently mentioned as evidence that it's a strange school).
* On ''Series/{{Glee}}'', the fictional NYADA (New York Academy of Dramatic Arts) is this trope to the letter. We see {{Alpha Bitch}}es picking on Rachel, and Kurt feeling just as alienated as before. He even flat-out calls college "High School Part 2." Coupled with the extremely unrealistic admission processes, it makes you wonder if anyone on the creative staff has ever ''been'' to college.
* Averted in one episode of ''Series/{{FamilyTies}}''. Alex is given an F on a college term paper because the professor felt he was just regurgitating the arguments of well know historical figures instead of coming up with an argument of his own and backing it up with facts.
** On the other hand, Alex is of the opinion that Grant College, where his sister Mallory attends, is High School Part 2.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In ''{{ComicStrip/Luann}}'', [[http://www.gocomics.com/luann/2014/06/15 Luann's father invokes this trope with regard to Luann's future in junior college]].

* The play ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}''. Glinda and Elphaba are in college, despite Glinda singing about the Pop U LAAAR and Fiyero being the big man on campus.
** However, going by the book, they were actually all about 17 years old when they got to Shiz - so it makes sense that a college filled with high school-aged students would be high school-ish.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The University of Grimsborough, in the Facebook hidden-object game ''VideoGame/CriminalCase'', contained several features one would normally associate with high schools, such as a parent-teacher association and a prom, among others.
* Blackwell Academy from ''VideoGame/LifeIsStrange'' does its best to blend both college and high school tropes:
** On the college side: there are dorms, even used by people who come from the town where the academy is; Max is effectively taking a major in the niche subject of photography; she is taught by a world famous photographer, who you'd expect would want to teach at the university level.
** On the high school side: Max's age (turned 18 just at the start of the school year) corresponds to the last year of high school; there's a popular clique which dominates most social events; the corridors are lined with lockers.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Homer had this opinion in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS5E3HomerGoesToCollege Homer Goes to College]]". He's proven [[SubvertedTrope dead wrong]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLooneyTunesShow'': In "Rebel Without a Glove", Daffy ends up teaching a political science course at the local college. Bells ring to mark the start of classes, and Porky acts likes a typical high school teacher's pet.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Somewhat literally true for community colleges in the U.S., as many of them offer [=GEDs=] or other kind of high school equivalency testing. They also offer high school-level courses in subjects like mathematics and English for people who otherwise lack college-level academic skills. Community colleges are sometimes derisively called "13th grade", not to be confused with the actual "grade 13" that was formerly a part of [[CanadaEh Ontario]] high schools.
* With the UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem, college is literally this trope, because what many in the world call "college" is what British kids refer to as university. Think of college as another few years of high school in a different building.
* YMMV, but this trope can be TruthInTelevision, depending on the individual. In particular, some small liberal arts colleges/universities in the US have been referred to by students as "high school all over again." It depends on the person and the college, but this trope does happen in real life.