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O’level to Undergraduate Journey – What Universities Expect of Students

The undergraduate years are a period when students enjoy more freedom than in O’level, while also having to handle more responsibilities. These responsibilities range from setting own schedule to deciding what class to take based on general or major requirements, working out your game plan and scheduling important time for studies. Additionally, it is a time when students will choose on a career path. Hence students will require support on making some decisions, big or small.

There are certain differences between the university and secondary level. What is very much common within the university settings, is that in addition to the aforementioned, a student is treated as an adult and it’s up to them to be responsible and follow through on their commitments. Understand where it is they're are struggling, ask others for help and acquire the assistance and clarification needed. The university is a whole new ball game with different expectations and policies and this presents a really unique expectation on the students. These expectations include;

MEET YOUR ACADEMIC ADVISOR

Academic advisors sometimes called Student Service officers or University councillors are one of the greatest resources for university students because they'll help with your entire university career—from classes to programs, to career preparation. The best way to help you is by having them know you. So when you meet with them for the first time, tell them about yourself. Tell them your passions, your career aspirations, what you’re interested in becoming. The more they know about you, the better equipped they will be to assist you.

WORK HARD & STAY MOTIVATED

A focus on your academics with proper diet and exercise can be very instrumental in helping you meet your expectations. While there's no rule book on how to get there, an important starting point is to possess self-awareness, confidence and a healthy mind. If you're studying for the semester exam or any professional exams, you could use a little motivation from time to time. When you put in long hours studying, each week can be enough to make you want to quit pursuing your dreams of passing the exams.

PLAN YOUR TIME & USE IT

Time management for imminent graduates is extremely important. Plan and write down every single thing you need; assignments, projects, outings, free time etc. and review the list daily to ensure that you are working on the most important task at any time. This will help you to remain focus and use your time well.

GO TO LECTURES & KEEP UP

It’s true that some of the things you get from lectures, you can get online or with textbooks but attending lectures will help you draw connections between different content/data and/or provide valuable context to the material that might be in the textbooks or internet. This is why a Professor would take his time to make his lecture engaging and interesting. Lectures in the university sometimes tend to sneak up on you especially with impromptu lecture notifications or postponement. Hence you will need to

ASK QUESTIONS & GET HELP WHERE YOU ARE STRUGGLING

Most lecturers welcome questions at any time but it’s a good idea to check with your lecturer first, they may prefer that you wait until a certain point in the lecture where they stop for questions or until the end of the lecture. If you are not sure, wait until the end of the lecture and ask your questions. The University system is a compassionate and collegial environment and it’s a place with a lot of wonderful resources to help you when you are struggling. Don’t hesitate to seek help when you need it – visit health services when you are sick, or talk to your academic advisor if you are having difficulties with your programme. Most importantly: know what services are available ahead of time.