The Differences

In university, there is more responsibility on YOU to make sure you understand the material, to finish the assignments and hand them in on time. You'll also notice other differences from high school:


  • How you earn your marks will change
  • You will have more written assignments (papers, reviews, reflections, etc.)
  • You will be expected to study more outside of class
  • Your instructor will likely provide less guidance and instruction
  • Reach out to your professor if you’re unsure of something
  • Speak to them after class, set up an appointment or visit them during their office hours
  • Does your textbook explain information differently? Perhaps it will make more sense to you than your instructor’s lecture
  • Study with a classmate. They might understand what you don’t and vice versa
  • Reach out to a peer tutor (these are students who have previously taken the class and done well!)


There will also be a difference in how you are taught:

  • You will be required to attend class and take notes from your instructor’s lecture
  • It is YOUR job to take good notes 
  • The lecture material is the #1 place from which instructors create their test/exam questions
  • So, your notes are simply answers to future test questions
  • If you miss a class, it is up to YOU to get notes from a classmate 


You will experience a greater degree of freedom in university:

  • YOU decide how you spend your time outside of class
  • University is less structured than high school or working fulltime
  • You will be in class for 9 – 15 hours a week… What are you doing with the rest of your time?
  • Your instructors will not check up on you to see where you are with assignments
  • This freedom is wonderful and exciting!
  • BUT, due dates have a nasty tendency to sneak up on us

If you find that managing your time is difficult and you are rushing to finish assignments, please check out the information on Time Management, attend a time management workshop or make an appointment with the Learning Strategist (who I must say, is a pretty cool individual)