University Tips Blog
Image of a student relaxing in their university accommodation
A headshot image of the author, Erin Wilson

by Erin Wilson

Masters student, podcaster and education freelancer

posted on 10 Feb '23

A parent guide to university student life

At university, students will spend most of their time studying, working hard and admittedly also enjoying some much needed down time outside of their studies. However, dependent on the student’s degree, their contact hours can vary. Someone studying History may have 8-10 contact hours per-week, compared to someone studying Medicine who could have between 15 and 20 contact hours.

The mathematicians amongst you will have noticed that these teaching hours do not amount to a full working week, so what are the students doing in the meantime?

Independent Study

Given the varied contact hours of a course, all students are expected to undertake independent study as part of their working week. This will typically include preparation for lectures, seminars, and workshops. Outside of independent study, students may also receive assignments throughout the year and undertake revision leading up to exams.


Placements can offer exciting opportunities for students to learn more about their area of study, as well as gaining work experience in a specific field which they may wish to pursue after graduation. Most commonly, students get involved in placements by selecting specific modules or even opting to apply for opportunities alongside their studies both during and out of term times.

Part-time Work

Working part-time can also be something worth considering whilst at university. Both inside and outside of institutions there are opportunities for students to engage with the working life of the university and community, for example working as a student ambassador or working in a local coffee shop or restaurant.

Image of a group of students chatting at a university

Clubs and Societies

University is not just all work and no play; the other big part of university is making friends and meeting people from all over and having fun whilst they are there. Every university will have a myriad of activities for students to get involved in – some rather quirky ones, for example Octopush, or underwater hockey, a limited-contact sport in which two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team’s goal.


Last and certainly not least, students’ time will also be spent socialising with friends and flatmates. The main assumption of socialising within a university culture is drinking and clubbing, but this is not for everyone and there are plenty of alternatives if this is the case.

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