4 Ways College Hasn’t Prepared You for Uni
It’s the final stretch for college and sixth form students all over the nation. Students are sitting exams that may determine the university they’ll go to, if they’ll go at all or any alternative route students may take. For many, September will roll around and students will head to uni with full cars and adequate A-Level results.
On the surface, you’re as prepared as you can possibly be. But in what ways has college failed to prepare you for uni?
You may be mollycoddled
Often colleges and sixth forms operate much like a school does. Teachers play a very active role in coursework and exams; they are a core part of your A-Level. Generally, university lecturers and tutors, however, are less involved in your university experience.
Independence and persistence is key as a uni student. These are skills you may not be used to practising in an educational context. If you’re struggling with your work, a teacher at school or college will probably pick up on it.
At the very least they’ll offer their help frequently and more generally. At uni, unless you voice your concerns and ask burning questions, your worries may go unheard. As a result, your work will suffer.
So how can you ensure you’re receiving the kind of help you need with your degree?
- Attend extra classes outside of your timetable. At college, revision sessions are probably compulsory or strongly advisable. At uni, it’s not unheard of that no student will show up. Set your alarm early and attend these sessions. If few others show up, it means more focused time on your questions and the areas you struggle with.
- Ask questions after lectures. If your lecturer hangs about once the lecture has ended, take full advantage! If you spent even just a little while throughout your lecture very confused, ask the questions you need to ask and note down what your lecturer says.
- If your lecturer doesn’t hang around after lecture but you’re still very confused, send them an email.
- And if they don’t reply after a few days? Email them again.
- If you’re struggling with your uni work, don’t suffer in silence… or in the library staring at a textbook that makes no sense to you. Arrange a meeting or many meetings with your lecturers or tutor.
It’s important to push forward at university when you’re struggling to understand course material. If you don’t exercise independence and a determination to get help, your degree is likely to suffer in the long run.
You’ve no idea how to seek help
Not only are you unaware of how to seek help academically, but colleges and sixth forms don’t prepare students to ask for help medically. NHS emphasises that it’s “important to look after your health when moving away from home for the first time.” Especially without family close by, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your health.
It’s important students take their physical (including their sexual) and mental health as seriously as each other. Whether it’s a cold that has lasted weeks too long or you’re not feeling quite yourself, get yourself down to your GP and insist you’re listened to. Whether it’s physical or mental, a student’s well-being is of the utmost important.
You’ve never learnt how to budget
Education might have taught you how to write an essay but it probably hasn’t provided you with life skills like budgeting. Students can blindly move out of home and into their new, independent life without exercising much control over their finances.
It’s important to have some kind of plan when it comes to your money. Or, soon enough, you may be deep into you overdraft and struggling to buy a food shop.
Which? University outline how to budget as a student. They explain it’s important to consider the necessary degree material costs (for example, textbooks), travel costs (the bus to uni) and keeping money aside for a a healthy food shop.
“Four in ten first-year students said they’d found managing money trickier than expected.” Although college and sixth form probably didn’t provide classes on budgeting, students should draw up and follow a budget.
You don’t know how to deal with “adult” things
Much like education failing to teach young people how to budget, students can arrive at uni without the life skills to match the adult life they’re entering into.
College and sixth form hasn’t prepared students for:
- Dealing with breakages in their halls/student house
- Writing a complaint letter/email
- Looking for a property to rent at uni
While colleges and sixth forms provide students with a place to complete qualifications, they often don’t prepare students for the realities of university. So swat up, do you research and ensure you’re prepared for when September rolls around.