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What is university actually like? Everything you need to get ready for the transition

Going straight from high school to university can be thrilling and daunting all at once. Classrooms are replaced by lecture rooms, teachers are replaced by academics, uniforms are replaced by comfy clothes and canteens are replaced by nearby cafes… You’re crossing the threshold into a strange new world, but a bit of prep work and organisation will help you leave Year 12 in the dust.

How to prepare for life at university

  1. Write a checklist

Don’t wait for the start of semester to get your affairs in order. Before you even set foot on campus, write a checklist to get organised and geared up. If you’ve moved out of home to attend university, you don’t want to leave accommodation, finances and, in some cases, visas to the last minute. If your campus is a car, bus or train ride away, plan your travel route now. No matter where you’re headed, consider the following when it comes to your checklist:

  • Public transport and concession cards
  • Parking permit
  • Student ID card
  • Enrolment requirements
  • Subject selection
  • Class timetables
  • Backpack and stationery
  • Required textbooks
  • Laptop

 

  1. Go along to Orientation

An introduction to uni life, Orientation is a window into your future. This is your first opportunity to get familiar with your uni and classmates. Through events and information sessions run by students and faculties, any questions you have relating to study expectations, career planning, campus facilities, course requirements, support services, etc. will be answered. Orientation is a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with the campus and meet key faculty staff, academics and fellow students/coffee dates in your course. Go in with an open mind and a fresh perspective – you’ll open yourself to more opportunities and get among the new environment.

  1. Get a head start

Say goodbye to rigid high school curriculums and class structures that last an entire year. At uni, you’ll switch up subjects and electives over each study period. With so much to take in, it pays to get across your coursework now. Much of your study will take place outside your classes, so expect to perform a significant amount of independent reading and research. To avoid nerves on your big day, get your hands on course outlines and unit guides and familiarise yourself with subject content and online resources. Better still, get a head start on your subjects’ weekly readings. Being a couple of weeks ahead of schedule will give you a competitive advantage – and perhaps even the confidence to contribute come your first class. Not to mention, you’ll settle your nerves and be well prepared to tackle those new subjects. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later for putting in the effort.

How to be successful at university

  1. Write down some goals

Success doesn’t necessarily come in the form of High Distinctions. Consider why you applied for your course and what you want to get out of your tertiary experience. If big-picture goals are too daunting, break it down – think about what you want to achieve in three, six and 12 months. Personal or academic, big or small, anything goes. Work experience, internships, extracurricular activities or simply completing your assignments on time, committing your goals to paper means you’re more likely to achieve them. It’s also a great way to track your progress. Start with small, achievable goals which will also challenge you during your first year. Knowing that you can accomplish a task that’s propelling you in the right direction is a real confidence booster.

  1. Manage your time

Life at uni is a balancing act. Academic, work and social commitments make for one busy bee. Keep your cool by drawing up a study schedule. Apps, diaries, journals, planners, calendars, whiteboards – whatever your platform, you’ll want to block out your classes. Next, mark assignment deadlines and exam dates, then include outside obligations, such as work, sport and social activities. Fill in some of those gaps with study sessions – and much-needed study breaks. Your best bet? Grab an A3 sheet of paper and create a monthly calendar filled with all of your commitments, then stick it up on your wall. As soon as something new comes up, add it to your calendar. Having a visual reference will give you a quick and clear understanding of how you’re tracking with uni, sport, work and social life.

  1. Embrace your independence

It’s true what they say: at uni, you’re treated like an adult. The onus is on you to make the most of your education. From the electives you choose and the classes you show up to, you’re in charge of your learning journey. Unlike high school, nobody will chase up your homework, monitor your attendance or call your parents to report on either one. But with greater independence comes greater responsibility – especially now that you’ll most likely be juggling study with part-time work and a new social circle. Self-directed learning requires motivation and discipline – get those down pat and you’ll take on uni like a boss. And remember: this is a special time in your life. Make the most of learning, say yes to social events and really get involved in the uni experience – it’s one you’ll look back on with great memories.

Team up with other students

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, but rest assured you’re not the only one. The good news is there are plenty of people who can offer support, starting with fellow students and teachers. Make use of online university resources that connect you with support services. At Torrens University Australia, you’ll find support information on Student Hub, plus dedicated Success Coaches are available to guide you through your transition into uni right through to graduation.

Diploma or degree, whatever your academic journey looks like at Torrens University, remember the old saying: the harder you work, the luckier you get. So, with your effort and our tips, you’ll not only set yourself up for a smooth transition into uni, you’ll be well placed to take advantage of any opportunities that come your way.

Are you an international student? Check out this blog which has specific tips for you.

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