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Activity 9 - School vs. University

Activity 9 - School vs. University



Welcome to activity 9! This activity will give you the opportunity to brush up on one of our key study skills we were introduced to in one of the earlier online activities, and this is taking notes. Taking notes is an incredibly important skill to develop at school and at University, so what better way to practice our note taking skills than to look at key similarities and differences between school and university! 


Make sure to watch all of the videos linked below from the Brilliant Club and follow along with each of the four corresponding tasks as you do so. Once you have watched each of the four videos and made your detailed notes, scroll down to task 5 & 6 where these notes will be put to the test. 


School vs. University | Subjects

First we will consider the similarities and differences between the subjects you study at school and the subjects you might study at University.

Task 1 - Subjects at School vs. University 


* Watch the video linked above and make detailed notes. These should look a little bit like this ...


School : At school you will study a range of subjects, usually 12 or more. These are guided by the National Curriculum. All children in the UK will be expected to study the same subjects.


University : At University you will chose one or two subjects to study in depth. Universities have a lot more subjects on offer for you to chose from, in the UK alone there are over 50,000 degree courses. 



School vs University | Timetables

This video will compare the way your timetable from school might change when studying at University.

Task 2 - Your Timetable


* Complete detailed notes whilst listening to the video above. This should look a little bit like this...


School : 30 plus hours at school a week with a minimum of five teaching hours a day.


University : Your timetable will differ greatly. This can also depend on what subject you are studying. You might have a lot less "contact time" with your teacher/lecturer and will be expected to spend a lot of time carrying out independent study. However, some subjects (science for example) may involve a lot more "contact time" with a teacher, because a lot of the content on the course must be delivered by an academic or done practically, in a lab. 

School vs. University | Teaching methods

In this video you will understand how teaching methods differ at University.

Task 3 - How will you be taught?


* Whilst watching the video, make sure to record your notes carefully. It should look something like this ...


School : Pupils have lessons with around 20 - 30 other children, led by a teacher. This is often taught by one teacher and a teaching assistant. At secondary school, you should have a different teacher for each subject you study. 


University : You will have different teachers for different modules in your course, as they are all leading experts in their field. At University, your "teachers" are not called teachers. They are called lecturers, or academics. They will usually have a PhD (the highest level of degree you can achieve) or will be studying towards attaining one. This means they are an expert in the specific part of course they are teaching. 


At University you will not have lessons, you will have lectures and seminars. You may also take part in a placement, where you will apply what you have learnt on your course to a real life situation, such as nursing. You could also take part in laboratory sessions, so you can test out something you have learnt in your science course in an experiment, for example. You will also have to take part in a lot of independent study, including research using the internet and reading lots of books at the library. 


Lectures - for 50 to 300 plus students. Usually an hour or two hour talk by your lecturer. Lectures are not interactive, you will listen and make notes on what your lecturer is talking about.


Seminar/Tutorials - smaller groups of students (10-30 people). You will sit around a table and interact with your lecturer and fellow students, to discuss readings and ideas. 



School vs University Extra Curricular Activities

After watching this video you will understand which extra-curricular activities are available at University and how this compares to school.

Task 4: Extra-Curricular Activities 


* In this final video, continue to make detailed notes. Your notes might look like this ...


School : You may have after school clubs to take part in. These could be during the school day, possibly at lunch time or after school. There will often be a variety of clubs you can take part in. You will also socialise with your school friends during the school day.


University : Clubs are called "Societies". Societies are ran by students and not by teachers. There are 100's of societies that exist at University, more than your school will probably have. You can set a society up yourself if your University doesn't have something on offer you would like them to. At University, you will often not know any of the people around you. So, societies are a great way to make friends and get to know new people. There are lots of societies that are in place for you to voice your opinion and have a say on important matters, and by getting involved you might make a change in society. 

Task 5: Quick Quiz


* Once you have completed your detailed notes after watching the videos above, put your knowledge to the test by completing the quiz below. Make sure you write down your answers!


1. What are after school clubs called at University?


2. Why are societies a great thing to join?


3. What will your "teacher" be called at University?


4. Are University lectures interactive?


5. How many students are usually in a seminar?


6. What degree subject might have to go on a placement?


7. How many subjects will you study at University?


8. What are laboratory supervisions/sessions?


9. How many students will be in a lecture?


10. What is a seminar?



Task 6: Pick Your Side


Considering your notes on the School vs. University topic, I would like you to write a paragraph or more considering whether you think studying at school, or studying at University would suit you best. There is no right or wrong answer, this is simply your chance to be creative and put your PEEL skills into practice. Consider both sides of the argument and remember to provide plenty of evidence explaining WHY you think either school or University would be better for you.


  • Timetable
  • Subjects
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Teaching methods


Feel free to refer back to the videos and corresponding tasks above for some additional guidance. Once you have completed your paragraph, share this with a parent/carer or sibling in your household to see if they share your view point. You can also reflect on the paragraph you have written to see how you can improve or add on to it. 



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