Think about the following statements and consider whether you agree, then click the statement to reveal further insights.
1. University is just about attending lectures, getting to tutorials and passing your modules
Not true – it is about living a new life, finding your own independence and learning to take responsibility for yourself (and sometimes others, in student societies, in your living situation, and in leadership positions as a student representative).
2. I am excited about starting university
Good – be excited! It can be an amazing experience.
3. I do not think my university experience is going to be very different from my previous school or college experience
The answer to this depends on your own previous experience, of course, but for many it will be very different. Bigger, more exciting, and a chance to learn more about yourself.
4. Personal development is something which I do not really need to think about very much
The more you think about this, the better placed you will be to demonstrate the skills you need for succeeding in the workplace afterwards.
5. I do not really have much of an idea about what I will do after I finish university
Many students are not sure what they want to do – that is OK, but try not to let this disappear from your mind completely.
6. I want to do as much paid work as I can during university
That will help you develop the skills you need for future employment to some extent, but should not interfere with your studies. Many institutions put a 20-hour per week maximum on employment, and overseas students will have a limit according to their UK visa (which will likely be no more than 20 hours a week).
7. Lectures are where all my learning will take place
In fact, most of your learning should take place in the time given to ‘independent learning’ – discussing ideas with others, reading around the subject and so on. Lectures provide only the basics, but there is not enough time in these for all the material to be covered.
8. I am committed to getting the best grades I can; I do not want ‘just to pass’
That is good. The best way to do this is to get interested in the subjects you are studying, and do some thinking and reading around them.
9. I expect that most of my assessments will be by examination at the end of the module
This is true in some universities but is less true in others. Group work, presentations, written assignments and very practical research assignments are also used.
10. If I can, I would prefer to live outside of the university and study as much as I can
That is a personal choice (and may be based around financial factors of course), although you may be isolating yourself a little from the social aspects of study and university life.
11. Universities exist solely to teach students
This is a big part of what universities do – and the proportion will vary from university to university – but it is not everything. Research, consultancy and contributing to the local/regional economy in some way are other activities that universities undertake.
12. I do not really need to think about getting a job or start a career yet, I need to focus on my studies
The earlier you start to think about your career, the better. This does not mean that you must necessarily make a decision immediately, but it does mean that you must start to think about the kinds of things you want to do, and the kinds of skills you will need to develop.
13. My parents are really interested in my university studies, so I am likely to talk to them about my progress
That is good. They can provide encouragement and support.
14. My learning will depend on my own effort and the work I put in
Absolutely correct: it will. It is your degree and the results should be yours. Students who put in less effort usually do less well.
15. I think I am going to find it easy to manage my budget
This can be a challenge for some, but if you have worked out how much money you have to spend, and have some priorities around what you need to spend it on, then that is good.
16. I know how to use the internet well and am comfortable with using it for my learning
Good: most universities will have online materials for your modules and courses, so being familiar with that – and how to use the internet well for wider searches for information – will help you. If you are not familiar with this, then the university will give you some guidance.
17. Study skills are simply skills which teach me how to study; when I finish university, I will have no need for such skills
This is not correct. As you will see, many of the skills you develop during your university career will help you beyond your time at university.
18. I intend to use my time at university to have as much fun as possible
Fun is an important part of being at university, but if that is your sole aim, then you will quickly realise that you will be wasting some of the most important years of your life.
19. I will always ask my lecturers if I have some questions about university
This is important. They – and the administrative members of staff around your department – are there to help you, so use them.
20. Lecturers will always be available for me when I want
This would be a fantastic situation, but is not usually the case for all lecturers. Lecturers sometimes have important activities elsewhere (including overseas), so be sure to make an appointment in advance if necessary.
21. My university will always understand that I need to pay for university by working, rather than attend
classes– if there is ever a clash
Many universities will be sympathetic to the need to gain income by working, but few will rarely permit you to miss class because you are doing so, so make sure your university knows what your situation is, and also make sure that you know what the rules are.
22. If I have domestic duties (e.g. looking after children), then I will need to give those up in order to develop myself
If you have domestic duties, then adding the role of ‘being a student’ to these will make life very busy, so ensure that you have as much support around you as possible.
23. Every employer will be looking for the same skills from the university graduates they take on
There will be some significant overlap between employers and similar jobs in similar organisations will likely require similar skills, but it does depend on how similar those organisations/jobs are. Working in the marketing department would probably require a different set of skills from someone working in accounting, for example.