From school to university: What’s different?

An image of the university of Kent libraryBeing a student ambassador, I am lucky enough to meet prospective students throughout the year and help guide you into choosing the university and course that’s right for you. At nearly every open day I attend I am asked: what is your timetable like? Or what is the work load like? As you can imagine, the contact hours you receive in terms of lectures and seminars differ depending on the degree programme you choose.

I study English Language and Linguistics, and as an average we have six to eight contact hours scheduled a week. You may be reading this thinking that’s not bad at all! To be honest you’re right, I have a pretty easy-going timetable. However, I hate to break it to you, but those remaining hours of my week are not spent clubbing by night and nursing a hangover by day. Nor am I lying in bed binging on my new favourite series. Though I can’t lie, a little of that does happen. Nevertheless, before you get too comfortable in your schedule you need to factor in the hours of independent studying that are expected of you, and this isn’t just homework or revision.

The independence that you acquire at university, particularly in terms of your studies, is one of the biggest adaptations. You will have to work out your own time management throughout the week, and complete the recommended reading; which I can assure you, is recommended for a reason. Not only is this expected of you, but I cannot encourage you enough to commit to furthering your reading and studies with the hours you have at your disposal. When it comes to completing your assignments or exams, it is the work you put in outside of your scheduled hours that makes all the difference to the work you produce.

Though you are expected to take on a more independent approach to your studies, that does not mean you cannot find help and support here on campus. Each lecturer and seminar leader have their own office hours every week, where you can meet them for one to one help with anything that you are finding a little too challenging to tackle alone. Additionally, each student is also assigned an academic adviser who you can arrange to meet with for any support you may need. You will also realise you have officially become an adult, when your incessant instant messaging turns into regular emails to lecturers and seminar leaders, as they are always happy to answer questions via email.


Some of you may think this whole independent scenario seems like a real hassle, and for others you realise that is what you’re signing up for; crazy I know. Nevertheless, there are huge benefits to applying yourself to your studies. Not only are you going to receive better results, you’re also going to achieve more than just a degree. You will acquire a multitude of transferable skills, like time management, organisation, work/down-time balance, problem solving and more! And it doesn’t have to be one huge bore. You can get your friends, get your snacks and a decent playlist and head over to our new and improved library, where you can settle in for a ‘good ol’ library sesh’ as I like to call it.

An image of a university of kent lecture theatre

Get ready to take a hold of your life.

Good luck

This post is by Becky Rye.