University Tips Blog
Image of students at university
A headshot image of the author, Jon Cheek

by Jon Cheek


posted on 12 Mar '21

A school and college guide to the transition from school to university

UniTasterDays Note: This blog was provided for the UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University by Laura Haveron, whilst she was working for Teesside University.

The transition from school or college to university can be a big step for students, and the uncertainty of the present climate may make that step feel even larger for some.

University study is very different to how many school students are used to learning, particularly as many universities are offering online and again in the future hybrid teaching models (combining online and on-campus study) to manage social distancing regulations.

To develop independence, it is important for students to do plenty of research before applying for university. There are lots of things you can do to help your students with this, which I will outline below.

Study skills

Encourage your students to hone their independent study skills. Reviewing study skills guides provided on university websites or through UCAS can prepare students to develop efficient solo study skills.

Time management

Time management is important, especially as students may be studying at home more often. At university, students are required to take much greater control over when, what and how they study. Make students aware of this and encourage them to think about how they study best, what kind of learner they are and how to create study schedules.


Although university colleagues will be extremely supportive both online and in person, new undergraduates need to be aware that they must take responsibility for their learning. Choosing a subject they are passionate about will help with this.

Academic writing

Academic writing is a skill many students need to develop at university. Written assessments can be very different at university to what students are familiar with, particularly in terms of research and referencing. Students may find that their university offers free academic writing sessions before or when they begin their course. At Teesside University for example, sessions are offered online and through our library.

Universities also offer resources and learning tools to help students manage their learning to aid their transition to undergraduate study. Teesside University provides all new full-time undergraduates with support through its Teesside University Advance scheme – giving students the latest Apple iPad, keyboard case and £300 of credit to spend on course resources and/or data to ensure they begin university with access to all they need to succeed.

Student life

Your students may have preconceptions about student life. Inviting universities to speak online or in-person when restrictions ease to your students will help them build an accurate picture of this. Here at Teesside University for example, our staff and student ambassadors deliver presentations online and at schools and colleges to debunk myths about student life.

Things may be a little different in the current climate but universities and the students’ union are working hard to make sure there are many safe and accessible activities, online and on campus for their students. Encourage your students to make the most of what’s on offer.

Top Tip #1:

Most universities have dedicated outreach teams who will be happy to deliver helpful online or in-person sessions for your students on study skills and more.

Top Tip #2:

Check if universities have any online resources your students can access.

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