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What is Student life Like ?

What is the main difference between Student Life at A Levels and at University
Reply 1
The main difference? Independence
"Main" difference? - such a broad question

As a tutor myself I would hope that one main difference is intellectual - but I teach a non-science area so this might be less true in other topic areas

You will move from 'taught material' in to 'contested knowledge', from learning the right answer (and applying it in the correct way to pass an exam) to being critical of knowledge and constructing balanced argument - you will learn to think differently
(edited 4 months ago)
Original post by respected-tutu
What is the main difference between Student Life at A Levels and at University


You have to do more independent study.

You have to be more proactive about your work rather than expecting to learn everything in class. You have to put in the extra time or work for understanding, to practise or to deepen your knowledge.

You also learn how to critically think and write.

Oluwatosin 3rd year student University of Huddersfield
Original post by respected-tutu
What is the main difference between Student Life at A Levels and at University

Hi @respected-tutu,

There are lots of difference both in the way that you are required to study and general life as a student whether you choose to live at home or move out. In terms of study, a lot more of it is independent when at university and you won't be taught all of the material that you need but rather are expected to independently read around certain materials and prepare for workshops which are much more a group discussion rather than directed study with a teacher standing at the front of the classroom. Of course, this does vary slightly depending on what you choose to study but I would prepare yourself to be a lot more independent when moving to university.

In terms of general life, every student experiences something different but I would say even if you choose to live at home you become more independent as your timetable does not reflect a school day with different hours and requirements. If you choose to live away from your family home then your life will become very different as you will become responsible for every aspect of your life such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting etc. It also is different in the sense that you live with other young people meaning I spent a lot more time socialising in my years at undergrad than I did in A levels because the opportunity to do so is much greater.

University is great fun and I wholeheartedly recommend going whatever you choose to study and wherever you choose to study it :smile:

I hope this helps and good luck!

Original post by respected-tutu
What is the main difference between Student Life at A Levels and at University

Hey there @respected-tutu !

It is basically as others have said, more independence. For example, at A Levels you're given set homework to complete whereas at uni level it's never specifically said that you have to go away and do something, you've just got to go and do your own independent study on the side. No one is really telling you what to do or what's expected of you because at the end of the day you're the one paying for it. There's also the opportunity to go on nights out and socialise with new people which I felt was never really pushed at A Levels. Student Unions are always renowned for offering opportunities for students to meet new people and get involved with outside interests and things they love doing. There's also the freedom of living alone which can be a big adjustment for some but it's basically like having one long-term sleepover with the lifelong friends you may or may not meet.

Hope this helped!
Lucy - Digital Student Ambassador SHU
Original post by respected-tutu
What is the main difference between Student Life at A Levels and at University


That's a good question, I think for me it's been the amount of responsibility. It has increased manifold from when I was in high school, and I feel it's way more given that I'm an international student too.

From the every beginning, I have had to take responsibility for everything as I don't have a familial support system to fall back on in the UK, unlike home students. All the way from moving to uni in first year to now trying to establish a career, it has been a lot of responsibility. No one tells you what to do, you just have to figure it all out. There is support available from the university and people are willing to mentor you, but you have to take initiative otherwise all that support means nothing. I can't say it's all been difficult though, as I have really enjoyed the independence aspect of it too. Getting a part-time job and earning money by myself for the first time was a great feat for me, and I like that I have my own room where I come back from a very tiring day and find peace.

The social side of it has been flipped too. I had way more friends in high school than I do at uni just because no one will approach you out of nowhere. Again it's all down to you- you have to go out, make effort to socialize, talk to people, attend events. Nothing in life will come easy from now- that's just the truth.

It's a mixed bag really, but I have really enjoyed my student life till now and am a bit sad that it's my last year as a student now!

Original post by respected-tutu
What is the main difference between Student Life at A Levels and at University

Hi @respected-tutu

The main difference I've found is the independence you have. Both in terms of studying as you have fewer contact hours and have to do more independent study but also in the sense you are living by yourself. It takes a bit of getting used to at first and learning to balance studying and living on your own but I've really enjoyed it so far. What I like the most is that you are living with people close to your age and its easy to be spontaneous and decide to do something with your friends as you are already together like going to watch the uni first teams play or going to the pub is something I've enjoyed. Being able to organise my own calendar and make sure I have time to do everything I need and want to do has helped my time management and helped me to become more responsible and able to be independent.

Hope this helped :smile:

Reply 8
I'm not sure about the balanced argument thing, at least not in philosophy. When I taught at A Level, the point there was balanced arguments. At degree level we explicitly teach that out of students - have something to say. Make an argument, but it certainly does not need to be balanced. Balanced = sat on the fence. Don't sit on the fence.
thanks gjd800, you are right, balanced is probably the wrong word, its about criticality, critical thinking and critical argument - though more so in some subjects than others (hey science folks :smile: )

Some of my students struggle to get that aspect of 'criticality' bit so I start with
(i) use quality citation to support your argument, then (ie Herzberg says)
(ii) use multiple citation to show balance / strength in your argument (ie Herzberg, Maslow, Mayo say)

Then the student will (hopefully) start to get what 'critical' means. They are able to delve in to the mental model of the citation/theory/theorist, they are able to draw out specific aspects of the cited work that are relevant to the argument. (ie this Maslow bloke, with Humansitic and Jungian leanings, back in 40s/50s corporate middle class America . . . )
Original post by respected-tutu
What is the main difference between Student Life at A Levels and at University

I would say the main difference for me in terms of academics is that first year of university is much less intense than a levels.

Yes the work is to a higher level but you are no longer studying three different subjects, and in my experience your teachers will ease you into assignments. They will be focusing at teaching you how to develop university level academic skills.

Hope this helps! Faye :smile:

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