• Question: How difficult was university compared to High School?

    Asked by RhysM on 20 Nov 2023.
    • Photo: Mary Richardson-Slipper

      Mary Richardson-Slipper answered on 20 Nov 2023:

      I personally found it quite a jump – you are required to self-motivate your learning and it is your responsibility to learn. I went to a college for my A-levels so had a taste for this already, but going to university you need to organise your time yourself and you won’t have so much contact with your lecturers that you had with your teachers at school. That being said, if you love the subject you are doing and can get into a routine you can do well. Learn good study techniques, ask questions and be curious!

    • Photo: Kay Dewhurst

      Kay Dewhurst answered on 27 Nov 2023:

      I found the first year of uni to be about the same difficulty (content-wise) as A-level. But after first year, I found things got a lot harder. Mostly because there’s less contact with your lectures than you typically have with teachers at school/college. I think that makes it more difficult to know whether you’re really on track or falling a bit behind.
      I would advise you to make use of any workshops, tutorials and ‘office hours’ (which is when your lecturer will be available in their office for you to ask them questions) at your uni. Use these opportunities to ask about areas where you are unsure, to check your understanding.

    • Photo: Joel Goldstein

      Joel Goldstein answered on 13 Dec 2023:

      The jump in academic level can vary a lot, depending on your school education. For example, if you have done Further Maths A-level, you will probably find first-year physics at university quite straightforward as you will have seen much of it before. However, then you will find the jump to the second year quite a shock. If your maths is not as strong (e.g. “just” an A in Maths A level) then even the first year will be quite a jump.

      However, the most difficult adjustment for most students is not the academic level, but having to cope as an independent adult, both in your studies and in your personal life. It is not quite as drastic as leaving home and finding a job, but you have to manage your own time and finances, motivate yourself to do your work without a teacher threatening you with detentions etc.