Preparing to start University
One of the biggest changes between school/college and university is the way students are expected to work. Being able to take responsibility for individual learning is something that’s quite different to the structure of school and college with emphasis on time management and working outside of lecture hours, which can be both daunting and incredibly rewarding.
Our degree programmes at Swansea are designed to encourage independent learning. We expect students to adapt to their degree by acknowledging that teaching time should be supplemented by independent study.
University courses are generally a mixture of lectures and seminars. Depending on the subject studied, there may also be laboratory ‘practicals’ and fieldwork, with most courses depending on students to support their work with wider reading and research.
Balancing study time with socialising is absolutely vital to succeeding at university. Students typically have around 12 weeks to complete coursework and prepare for exams. Deadlines are strict and students need to be able to submit work on time.
A university teaching block. In most universities semesters run from September to January and February to June with examinations at the end of each semester.
When students arrive in September, they’re assigned a personal tutor who will provide academic support and guidance during their time at university. The personal tutor can help students with any academic concerns and also maintain contact with lecturers/seminar tutors.
One of the main differences between assessments at school/college and university is the grading system. At university, students typically receive a percentage mark, which then translates into a grade bracket. For example, a student receiving a mark of 65% will have achieved a ‘2:1’ grade. In some cases students will panic that their results are perhaps lower than what they were receiving at school/college and, if this is the case, it is important to encourage your child to communicate with their assessor in order to receive a breakdown of specific marks and feedback along with understanding how the grading system differs.
There are many ways in which courses are assessed at University and it depends entirely on the type of course your child is studying and it’s usually a combination of different types of assessment per academic year such as presentations, exams, coursework, practical work etc.