How different is University life from college or high school?

18 March 2019

Living away from home, becoming independent and meeting people from around the world. In this blog, James discusses what he found to be the biggest changes between school and university life.

The resources available to prospective students through the WBS website, social media channels, brochure and open days gives a real flavour of the Warwick experience. However, some students may still be wondering how university truly differs from life as they know it. Ultimately, how different is life at Warwick from college or high school?

There are the obvious differences. For many students, this will be the first time living away from home. Living away from home means there is no parent checking up on your homework progress or regulating your bedtimes. School offers a rigid schedule that is easy to follow and gives you a helping hand through your studies. Whilst there is a wealth of support at Warwick, there is a greater focus on individuality and independence, allowing students to work in a style that is best for them.

For students at WBS, there are exciting opportunities to explore new ways of learning. This includes partaking in the creative modules that are on offer, or experiencing the flipped classroom techniques that many enjoy. There is also a greater focus on making mistakes and asking questions. This allows students to grow and ensure that content being learnt is retained in the long-term.

Another distinct difference between school and university is the relationship students enjoy with their lecturers and seminar tutors. In school, it is common to learn in a rote fashion, learning with the main goal to pass exams. This could not be further from the truth at university. WBS focuses on questioning common beliefs and challenging yourself, with seminars offering a dynamic environment to question some of the best minds contemporary management has to offer.

An example of this occurred in my first term. I was surprised that lecturers wanted you to question and check their work, rather than take it at face value. WBS undergraduates are shown a wide range of historical and contemporary viewpoints on specific topics, giving students the tools to make up their own minds. This ensures that the learning experience is more engaging, and critical thinking is treasured as a core component of this approach.

Perhaps the biggest difference I have found is the need to be self-motivated, unlike at home, where your parents will be there to push you to get up and attend school, at University you have to do that yourself. This can be particularly difficult when you have looming deadlines or exams. However, a huge benefit of this need for self-motivation is the ability to shape your studies. School offers a strict curriculum, where academic success is underpinned by reinforcing this content. At university, the curriculum extends infinitely. Many lecturers take a holistic approach, whereby management is placed in an interwoven web of branches of academia. It is common for modules to draw on insights from psychology, politics and many other fields. This scope of study ensures each student graduates with unique perspectives, something that is in high demand in the professional world.

On a lighter note, WBS is a truly multicultural institution. In a second-year project, my group consisted of working alongside students from three different continents. With 29 nationalities represented on my course, BSc International Management, WBS is so much more than a prestigious Business School. It gives you an opportunity to learn about different cultures and build networks across the globe. It gives you a chance to explore how business is conducted across the globe, and potentially even a way to travel during the holidays!

While it is obvious that school and university are different, this should be reassuring. With the right perspective, WBS offers an exciting challenge where you can explore new avenues of studies, question traditional approaches and gain friends from across the globe.

You can find out about all of the WBS Undergraduate Programmes here.