Big changes…

The difference between high school and college is considerable. In secondary school, the student finds himself in a structured and regulated environment where the responsibility is largely assumed by the school. At the college level, students must take charge of themselves, show initiative and develop their autonomy.

Behind the appearance of great freedom, there are new responsibilities: managing an agenda, meeting teachers outside of class, taking the initiative to access resources, etc. College studies are demanding and require one’s serious investment from the start. Remember that this learning will serve your young adult throughout their life.

Shorter education period

College courses are spread over a 16-week session, which is significantly shorter than a school year.

Students must get to work from the first week, to avoid falling behind, which could have serious consequences.



  • Compulsory up to 16 years old
  • Choice to pursue college studies
  • Daily routine is structured
  • Greater freedom, but more responsibilities
  • Support by the school
  • Student must develop autonomy and initiative
  • School year
  • 1 session = 16 weeks
  • Lessons last 50 – 75 minutes according to a pre-established schedule
  • Courses run nearly 3 hours with a break, according to a personalized schedule of approximately 25 hours/week
  • Class work: 80%
  • Personal work and study: 20%
  • Class work: 60%
  • Personal work and study: 40%
  • Smaller homework load
  • Heavier homework load
  • If a course is failed, retaking the course “erases” the failure
  • Final grades and failures remain on the transcript even when a course is retaken
  • Teachers and resource personnel address the student as soon as academic difficulties are observed
  • Students should show initiative, as faculty and resource help are available upon request

The schedule of a college student averages 25 hours of lessons per week. For each hour, approximately one hour of work must be done outside of class for assignments, reading and exam preparation. This number may vary depending on your child’s strengths and difficulties in certain disciplines and the time of the session.

A frequent mistake by new cégep students is maintaining high school habits, which allowed them to succeed without doing too much work outside the class lessons. There is a reason that college is part of higher education: the requirements are much greater.

To manage their time, your young adult will have to juggle all the elements of their new life:

  • course hours
  • hours for assignments and preparation for exams
  • the hours to devote to paid employment
  • hours spent in extracurricular activities (sports, cultural activities, etc.)
  • hours devoted to friends and romantic partners
  • hours for sleep!

Research taken from the Practical Guide to College Studies in Quebec 2008 by the Regional Admission Service of Metropolitan Montreal (SRAM)

High school results

Secondary grades are the best predictor of college success. Students with an average of less than 70% have a graduation rate of around 40%, but even with low high school marks, it is possible to succeed in cégep by combining motivation, effort, perseverance and good work habits. Strong high school grades don’t necessarily guarantee easy college success either.

High school study time

The key to success is undoubtedly the time spent studying. An average cégep student must devote about 15 hours per week to schoolwork in addition to class hours. Work habits acquired in high school and particularly the time spent studying, have an influence on success in college regardless of the overall grades obtained in high school.


Students who say they are highly motivated do much better than those who are slightly or not at all motivated. This motivation can increase, by more than 10%, the chances of passing all courses and graduating with a diploma.

Encouragement from parents

Students whose parents have a positive attitude have a 15% better chance of passing all their courses and graduating. This variable takes on the most importance in the success of the first term and in perseverance until graduation. The attitude of parents towards their studies can be a decisive factor.

The gap between girls and boys

Girls enter college in greater proportion (57%) than boys and they arrive on average with higher secondary school grades, which partly explains their superior college success and graduation rates.

Here are a few reasons:

  • They spend much more time on their work (25% of girls compared to 11% of boys study two hours or more per day).
  • They spend go to the library more often.
  • Female students ask for more help from their teachers, relatives or friends.
  • They show more motivation to succeed in their studies.
  • Girls have a clearer idea of ​​their future.

The importance of the first session

The success of all the courses in the first session, without being a guarantee for the rest, contributes significantly to their success. About 90% of students who do not fail in the first semester graduate.

Acting together for success

Even if high school grades were the best predictors of success, for both the strongest and the weakest students, it is possible to increase the odds. Students can prepare themselves by developing good work habits and devoting more time to study. Teachers can make them aware of the importance of studying, help them acquire proper methods and guide them to a choice of program that interests them.

Finally, parents who value studies, who are interested in their children’s progress, who recognize their successes and encourage them to persevere despite any difficulties, also play an important role in their success.

In addition to being a place where knowledge is acquired, college is a very enriching environment.
The socio-cultural, artistic, sports and community activities offered to students promote their intellectual, emotional, social and physical development.

Students can also find a range of services to meet their different needs. Their participation and engagement in campus life are solicited by:

  • the student associations
  • campus radio
  • college newspaper
  • science clubs
  • ecological clubs
  • other college services