About university life

Studying as a higher education student is definitely not just a case of ‘more of the same’.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the increased focus on self-responsibility and independent learning. Here are some of the main differences that our students have noticed when they started their degree:

Higher education

School or further education

You are treated as an adult who is fully responsible for your own learning and progress, and for the consequences of your decisions.

You will usually be told what your responsibilities are and be corrected if your behaviour is out of line.

Achievement is measured by your ability to apply what you’ve learned to new situations or to solve new kinds of problems.

Achievement is measured by your ability to reproduce what you were taught in class or to solve the kinds of problems you were shown how to solve.

You have more control over how to manage your work and time.

Your work and time are usually structured by others (e.g. teachers).

Content is more dynamic and goes beyond that of any assigned textbook. Some modules may only offer a general reading list.

Content usually reflects a more structured, textbook-focused curriculum.

You have greater responsibility for extracting the main information and ideas by yourself. You may, also, be presented with a variety of ideas, to discuss and evaluate.

Teaching specifications will tell you the most important information and ideas.

Lectures take up less of your learning time. In your first year, you will have between 12 and 14 hours of ‘contact/lecture time’ per week. Aim to do two hours of self-directed study per each hour of lecture

e.g. background reading, or research.

Lessons make up most of your learning time and your timetabled contact hours are fixed.

Most assessments will be submitted online via Turnitin, and are marked anonymously.

You will hand in your assessments personally, and your teacher will know whose work they are marking.

If you miss a lecture, it is your responsibility to find out and catch up on anything you have missed.

Teachers will provide you with the information you missed if you were absent.

You must pass your first year to progress to the second year, (usually at a pass mark of 40% per module), but your first year (Level 4) grades do not count towards your final degree classification.

Most of your grades count towards your final mark.

Assessments tend to be longer, more varied, and less frequent.

Assessments tend to be shorter, of a similar type (e.g., essay) and more frequent.

Academic integrity: using references and citations, and acknowledging the source of your information is very important. It is checked in all your assessments by Turnitin, the text-matching software used by UCM, and the University of Chester.

Using referencing and citations, and providing a Reference List is less common.