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EVENT: The Difference Between High School and College - 12.7

Grade 12 - High School vs. College

This event engages pairs to explore some of the major differences between college and high school. Pairs will also discuss how the difference between high school and college impacts their relationship once and how their relationship may need to evolve. 

Event Overview


Pairs will:

  • Reflect on and assess their relationship in high school.
  • Discuss ways their relationship can improve to close out their senior year.
  • Discuss ways their relationship may need to change after high school.

Guiding Questions:

  • What are the major differences between high school and college?
  • How can I best adjust to college?
  • How will our relationship change after high school?

Lesson Resources:

Entry Point

Welcome and Opening (15 minutes)

Chunk One: Welcome

  • Staff formally welcomes all participants. 
  • Staff thanks everyone for showing up on time (it'll be important to emphasize punctuality as part of event success).

Chunk Two: So Social

  • Staff will print out logos and place one deck at each table.
  • In table groups, participants will discuss the following question:
    • If you could only use one social media tool, which would it be and why?
  • Staff will facilitate share out.

DISH: Connecting Over Dinner (30 minutes)

Chunk One: Food Ritual

  • Staff will instruct pairs on how they will get food and return to their seats
  • It is important that staff set strong rituals for how participants get food to maximize efficiency

Chunk Two: Conversation Starter Deck

  • Staff ensures DISH conversation starter card decks are on the tables. When pairs return to their tables with food, they draw cards and discuss the content on the cards. The cards are intended to be used if pairs do not already have a conversation to engage in.
  • For full list of conversation starters, check out this article on Conversation Starters.

Chunk Three: Seconds and Clean Up

  • Staff will signal that seconds are available (if applicable)
  • Staff will give pairs 5 minute warning to clean up and throw away trash

Community Keystone (20 minutes)


In this activity, participants will have an opportunity to express their opinion on the differences between high school and college by standing along an agree - disagree spectrum and sharing that opinion with others.


Chunk One: Instructions

  • Staff will designate two ends of the room as "Strongly Agree" and "Strongly Disagree" and middle of the room as "I'm not sure"
  • Staff will read a statement.
  • When staff prompts room to do so, participants will move to the spot on the imaginary line that best represents their opinion.
  • Once participants find their place, will pair/share for 1-2 minutes.
  • Staff can ask for a volunteer to share out to whole group.

Chunk Two: Statements

  • Openers (random topics, non-controversial, easy to decide)
    • Winter is my favorite season.
    • Basketball is my favorite sport.
    • Blue is my favorite color.
  • Topical
    • College is completely different than high school.
    • College is harder than high school academically.
    • High school is harder than college socially.
    • In college, you can reinvent yourself.

Chunk Three: Transition Back to Seats

Pair Keystone (35 minutes)


College PPPAIR: This activity revisits the PPPAIR lesson to reflect on their relationship and how it might change or need to change once the mentee graduates from high school. 


Chunk One: Reflecting on our Relationship

  • Staff will distribute Relationship Reflection document to each pair.
  • Using the document, pairs will:
    • Step 1: Reflect on and discuss their relationship in each of the five areas.
    • Step 2: Assign themselves a score for their relationship in high school.
    • Step 3: Discuss and write down what they can do right away to strengthen areas to finish high school on a strong note.
  • Staff can facilitate a brief share out after each step or share out after all 3 steps have concluded.

Chunk Two: Becoming a College Ready PPPAIR

  • Staff will distribute College Ready PPPAIR document
  • Pairs will:
    • Review the PPPAIR framework (if pairs did not complete lesson 12.1.4, staff may want to review)
    • Discuss and write down what they do currently for each of the 4 categories in column 1:
      • Product - Process - Progress
      • Accept Feedback
      • Interact Frequently
      • Reliability
    • Discuss and write down what they think will still work after high school or what they might need to do differently in column 2.

Exit Ramp (5 minutes)

Community Debrief and Mentee Exit

  • Staff will facilitate share out of activity #2. 
    • ​Any pairs willing to share how they rated themselves? 
    • How they intend to get better this year?
    • How they intend to evolve once the mentee completes high school?

Mentor Huddle (15 minutes)


  • Staff will thank mentors for participating in the event.
  • Staff will make any relevant announcements and preview any upcoming milestones and curriculum topics.

Community Dialogue

  • Option 1: With College Program Introduction
    • Fist to Five: I want to continue my relationship with my mentee through their first year of college or after high school.
    • Staff introduce the college program, primary differences between HS and college programs, support structures of relationship, etc.
    • Answer questions.
  • Option 2: Without College Program Intro
    • Fist to Five: My mentee and I know how to immediately improve our relationship to finish the year strong.
    • Based on responses, mentees can share in small groups or share out with the larger group.

Closing Ritual

  • Staff should facilitate a closing ritual for mentors to build community and to leave on a high note.