University is a pretty big adventure, but it’s still a learning experience, so it shares similarities with school in a lot of ways. If you’re wondering what sets university apart from school, we’ve put together a list of the top differences between the two.
- Leaving home
For lots of people, unless you’re applying to a local institution, university will be the first time you’ve ever lived away from the comforts of home. Getting to grips with a new city or town and meeting your new housemates is a huge step and makes university feel really different because of your newfound independence, not to mention having to do your own shopping, cook your own meals and master the washing machine! It’s a good idea to bring a simple cookbook along with you, and ask a parent to give you some lessons in household management before you go – if that’s not your strong suit!
- Learning new things
Even if you’ve studied your subject before, university will introduce you to that subject in a more in-depth manner, with far more varied information than you’ve learned before. That can be daunting, not to mention if you’re studying a subject that’s brand new to you! The leap between university-style learning and high school or sixth form education can be quite dramatic, so it can come as a bit of a shock in the beginning.
To bridge the gap, you could always read up on what to expect on your university’s website, or even try a Cambridge summer school for an immersive university experience before you get there. Whatever you decide to do, be confident that you will be able to adapt quickly, and in the meantime just remember that everyone else is in the same boat and use this as a way to bond with your classmates.
- Being your own boss
When you were at school, there were consequences for playing truant or not doing your homework. At university, you’re an adult and you have to be the driving force behind your learning, as no one is going to discipline you if you don’t work hard enough. This can be a huge adjustment, so we recommend not becoming complacent as many students do. One way of ensuring you manage this is by treating your studies as a 9-5 job.
Moreover, you can also make big decisions about what aspects of the subject you want to further your knowledge in depending on what interests you personally, which is very freeing.
- Meeting new people
Many people go through primary and secondary school with the same set of friends – and then suddenly those friends are disappearing off to different corners of the country, perhaps seeing each other once or twice a year. Though that can feel really sad, it’s also a fabulous opportunity for meeting new people and making new friends.
Did you know, for example, that 1 in 5 British students meet their future husband or wife at university? And even if you don’t meet the love of your life, a longitudinal study undertaken by researchers at Purdue University showed that university was a unique time for forging especially close bonds, meaning that the friends you make when you’re there are likely to be the ones you keep in touch with for the rest of your life.
If not knowing the differences between school and university is still bothering you, why not try a Cambridge summer school by Immerse Education? These programmes are designed to give students a glimpse into university life and can provide a great crash course in what to expect from meeting new people in a University environment to gaining a better understanding of your University subject choices!