6 Ways University is More Challenging than School

by Sara Vazquez Shaw

On the academic front, the move from school to university can be a challenging one, as there are significant differences. These differences include the level of study, long-term projects, working in groups and getting your work done.

The Level of Study

Although you learned a lot in school, every topic that you study in university will be more in-depth. The simple concepts learned in school evolve into complex ones and study is more advanced. Expect to have to put in more study time to attain a good grade. In addition, your professors are going to look for a higher level of analytical and critical thinking skills than many of your school teachers ever did.

Long-Term Projects

Many university courses entail long-term projects that require motivation, discipline and organisation. You'll have to start early, stay on task and organise the project. Keep in mind that a long-term project cannot be completed in a short period of time. And if you're not feeling especially motivated, you'll still have to dig deep to find some motivation.

Working in Groups

It's not uncommon for university students to have projects that are assigned to groups. This means that you will have to coordinate your time and effort with other students, even if you don't like some of the students in your assigned group. While university isn't exactly the real world yet, it's fairly close to it.

School Teachers and University Professors

Most school teachers try to keep students on track with their academic work. They offer extra help to students who are struggling. Often, they come to you. It's not like that in university. If you need extra help, you'll have to ask for it. And if you miss a test or need to do extra work for extra credit, those opportunities won't be available like they were in school.

Note-Taking Challenges

School teachers follow the subject textbooks very closely and write everything that should go into your notes on the whiteboard. In university, you'll be mostly taking notes on what is said during a classroom lecture and also on reading assignments that aren't talked about in class. Plus, much of what is tested may not even be in the book.

School Tests and University Exams

In university, tests are administered less frequently than school. College tests and exams cover more months of material. The exams are also more challenging. Not only will you be expected to demonstrate learned facts, but you'll be required to apply them to individual circumstances. For this reason, university tests are generally more stressful.