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Studying at University

Whether you are planning to come to university straight from school / college or returning to academic life after a gap year, you will find that being an undergraduate student is very different to anything you have experienced before.

The main difference between school and university is independent study – at university you have to learn to work for yourself, set your own deadlines and keep yourself motivated as, ultimately, you are in charge of your own education. Unlike at school, your tutors aren’t there to make sure you’re working hard, it’s down to you to make sure that you get your work done and handed in on time!

Teaching at university consists of lectures, workshops and tutorials, however on many courses this lesson time only accounts for 8 – 12 hours per week, the rest of the time you’re on your own or working in groups with other students. This doesn’t mean you can slack off though, if you want to get a good grade you’ll need to spend your time reading, researching and working on your assignments.

Most university courses are assessed using a mixture of essays, reports, exams, presentations and in some cases practical assessments, however some courses rely more heavily on certain assessment methods than others so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Each academic year is split into two semesters, the first runs from September to January and the second from January to May / June. After this the summer is all yours to do whatever you want, with many students choosing to get a summer job or go traveling for a few months.

People often study at a university in another city but it is also common for people to stay and study at home, either way it is often the first time in your life that you get to live independently. Most students will agree that at university you learn as many lessons outside of the classroom as inside – adjusting to a new life amongst thousands of other people from all over the world, some you may make life-long friends with, others you will spend your three years avoiding. But whatever, or whoever is thrown at you, it is sure to be one of the most exciting times of your life!