University education opens the doors to a bigger, better and opportunity-filled world for its graduates. According to the UN, not only are university graduates better paid in the workplace but compared to high school graduates, they have longer life spans, better access to health care, better dietary and health practices and increased economic stability and security.
Most of us have expectations of what university is like based on what we see in movies and TV shows. But actually, the incredible thing about university is that it can be anything you want it to be!
It can be a creative outlet for artistic expression or a hub for intellectual debate. It can a place for you to discover your strengths and abilities or to discover something completely new about yourself. It can be a place to meet new people from all around the world, and a place to have plenty of fun while also studying something you are actually passionate about.
With this being said, there is also no doubt that transitioning from a high school graduate to a university student can be a little daunting, especially if you are uncertain of what to expect. To help you make a smoother transition from school to university and to help you get the most of your university experience, we have listed 8 useful tips below.
Choose your university courses carefully
Consider your interests as well as which courses would be best for your career choice. Avoid choosing courses because they appear to be an easy option as you may not like or be able to engage with the content. Moreover, avoid choosing courses just because a friend is doing it – you will definitely meet new people and make new friends in every course you do. Take your time doing your research about various courses and ask for advice from academic counsellors to make well-informed choices.
Be the master of your fate and the captain of your ship
Your first few weeks at university will be a little daunting as you juggle various assignments and keep up with numerous classes. One way to overcome this is to view university as a great big ocean with endless wonderful possibilities. You have the chance to try different academic programmes, learn from experts and the best minds in your field, and explore your academic passions. Think of yourself as the captain of a ship navigating through these waters. This means you need to be in charge and take control of this journey or else you run the risk of being swept away by heavy storms. You can do this by keeping track of your deadlines, attending classes and tutorials regularly, and taking a proactive role in your studies. This will make university a calm sea to navigate.
Immerse yourself in student life
University is usually one of the only times in your life where you will have the chance to move out of your comfort zone, try new things, be exposed to new opportunities, and connect with people of diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. Don’t be afraid to push your comfort zone and be open to the many social and networking opportunities that are available for you to get involved in. If you are not sure how to get involved in campus life, get in touch with your university’s student council. Student councils often lead various student associations, societies, and initiatives like sporting clubs, cultural societies, debate teams etc.
Always prioritise your studies
Whilst it may be easy to get distracted by the social and fun aspects of university life, it is very important to remember why you are there. At the end of your undergraduate career, you will need to graduate with a degree, and with good grades as well. It is therefore important to maintain a balance between having fun and studying. Do not risk an assignment deadline or studying for an exam to attend a party or a social event. The wonderful thing about university life is that there are always social events throughout the year, so study first and have fun later.
Attend extracurricular lectures and seminars
Most universities invite guest speakers and lecturers who are subject-matter experts and leaders in their respective fields. These guest lectures are usually freely available and are unique opportunities to learn something new in your field or in a completely different field and to meet some really interesting and innovative people who will be a great source of inspiration. These events will also be a great opportunity for networking.
Make use of university resources
Universities offer their students various resources to help them excel in their studies including well-equipped libraries, study rooms, free internet access, state-of-the-art sporting facilities and so much more. Find out what your university has to offer and instead of spending your own money on expensive services outside the university, you can utilise the excellent free resources your university provides for you.
Be open to new opportunities
Most universities offer opportunities for students to apply for bursaries, university exchange programmes or to earn money whilst studying. Find out about these opportunities and don’t be afraid to apply to be a part of them. These opportunities are great for preparing you for the working world and exposing you to new cultures and ways of thinking.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Universities offer a plethora of health and wellness resources on campus to help students who feel overwhelmed, homesick, stressed or who are just simply in need of a friendly ear. Your mental and emotional health is as important as your physical wellbeing, so reach out to people you trust or your university’s student health services for guidance.
As a final word of advice, don’t forget to enjoy your journey through university. The movies and TV shows got one thing right about university- they are usually some of the best years of your life!
GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.