How is university different than high school?
There are lots of ways your academic life will change from high school to university. Here are some of the things you can expect to come across:
You’re the boss of your own time
You will get to build your own class schedule, which means more flexibility. Some students end up with a schedule that’s similar to what it was in high school, while other students have something completely different. Depending on your program, you could find that you only go to school four days a week, or you have large gaps of time between morning and evening classes. It’s important to stay focused and take advantage of your free time by finishing assignments, studying and doing your readings.
Class sizes can vary a lot
At some institutions, you will attend classes that might only have a few dozen people while others could have hundreds (not at MSVU). It depends on your program, the course, and the size of the school. Sitting in a lecture hall with a hundred other students can be a tough adjustment from high school if you’re not ready for it.
You have to motivate yourself to go to class
In most of your classes, you won’t be graded on attendance. You will likely get a list of assignments early on so you know what’s expected of you. You might get a few reminders, but for the most part it’s up to you to manage your time. Every course and professor is different, so make sure you know what the rules are and don’t take anything for granted. Remember that you pay tuition, and that money will go to waste if you don’t show up. Even if there is nobody counting your absences, it’s still in your best interests not to miss too much class time.
How do I find the right ‘fit’?
Finding the right fit doesn’t need to be difficult. Ask yourself some questions:
- What is the university’s culture? What values are important at the school?
- Do you want to live close to home or do you want to move ?
- Do you prefer to live in a city or a rural area?
- Is it better for you to live on a large campus with a lot of students or on a smaller, quieter campus?
- What other programs and activities does that university offer? Schools will have different societies, sports teams, volunteer opportunities and more for you to consider.
After you answer those questions, take some time to visit the schools that seem to be a good fit. Book campus tours (universities often have a link to their campus tour website like msvu.ca/bookatour). Do your research and ask people who go to those schools how they like it. Getting to know your university will go a long way toward ensuring your success, both inside and outside the classroom.
Take a campus tour
When you take a campus tour, you are able to get a better sense of the layout of the campus, and what the lifestyle will be like at a university. Universities offer a variety of different methods of taking a tour, from taking a physical tour of a campus, to self-guided digital tours. Many universities offer campus tour videos, so you can get a preview of the campus that you can watch at any time. Campus tours are often lead by students, so you can ask questions and get advice from someone who might have been in a similar situation to you.