Transitioning to University

At Carleton University, we understand the challenges students face making the transition from high school to university. While you may already have a good mental picture of what university is like and how it may differ from your high school experience, the staff at the Science Student Success Centre will ensure the that you are not surprised along the way.

To help put things into perspective, here are five major changes that students can expect when they move from high school to university.

Greater Responsibility

In high school, your schedule was probably planned completely for you. Breaks occurred at approximately the same time daily, you knew exactly when to go to class, when to eat lunch, or when to do your homework. In university you have full control of your own schedule. You will need to set your own priorities and manage all your own responsibilities. You can no longer count on your teacher to remind you of due dates for assignments, test dates for each chapter or to come to class on time.

Different Class Structure

Unlike high school where your class size is often only 30 students, first year university classrooms may hold over 100 students in some courses. Your professor will not approach you if you miss class or do poorly. It is now your responsibility to seek out help when needed. As well, your professor will not remind you of assignment due dates. Instead, they expect that you consult your syllabus and turn in assignments on the proper date.

Faster Pace

University classes tend to move a lot more quickly than high school classes. You will cover more material, in greater depth, over a shorter period of time. Be prepared for that challenge. Professors expect you to keep up with what was taught in class, and they also expect some of you to take good comprehensive notes. They may cover up to three chapters of textbook material in a week.

Fewer Tests

There are often fewer tests and assignments in university compared to high school. Although this may seem like a good thing for you, remember that more information will be covered on each test. In addition, the exams in many courses often build on each other so all of the material taught in a semester may be tested in the same exam.

New Living Arrangements

Travel time for those at home can sometimes take up a total of 3hrs of a school day should be used wisely to do readings or flash cards. Those who move out for post secondary education also experience changes such as making their own meals, more household responsibilities and increased freedom which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how self motivated the individual is. Having a good support system in place is key to your success so make friends with similar goals and seek out help when you its needed.

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