You'll need to learn how to learn at degree level before you can truly take on the intellectual challenge of your course work.
It is important that once you start first semester you allow yourself some space to learn how to learn, otherwise you could become unnecessarily frustrated.
The good news is that every new undergraduate student, regardless of their previous study experiences, also has to make these intellectual adjustments; you will certainly not be alone.
Some of the new skills you will have to be able to develop include:
At this point you may think to yourself that you already know how to do all of these things. The difference is the level and depth to which you have to be able to master these skills in order to succeed at degree level.
What is expected of your lab report or essay at degree level will be different to what you are used to right now in college. Understanding the difference is the first step to being a successful undergraduate.
During your undergraduate career you will no doubt become a regular visitor to one or more of the University libraries.
It is vitally important that at the start of your career as a student that you become familiar with the various library buildings.
In order to become confident in using the library facilities it is a good idea to go on a library tour. These are often run the week before the start of term.
Even after attending the library tour you may still feel a little unsure of what you are doing. If this is the case then do not worry, everybody else will no doubt be feeling the same. Feel free to ask a member of library staff for assistance, they are happy to help.
"It pays to know where the other libraries are within the University. I had to rely on a friend to show me, but can honestly say my marks would have been much lower if I had depended on just one library." Katie Nevans, Community Education Student
If you are having a specific problem with an aspect of your coursework then do not hesitate to ask for help.
You can ask the staff member running the lecture, tutorial or lab sessions for assistance or go to your Director of Studies (DoS). This member of staff is assigned to you at the start of semester one and via appointment is there to offer advice and guidance.
Remember, if you do have a worry about your work, please don’t sit on it or be embarrassed. You must be motivated and confident enough to seek out those that can help sort things out.
"At college we were well warned about 'independent learning' at university. It is down to you to apply yourself, however I didn't expect the range of support that is available." David Dalgleish, Community Education Student
The University also has a Study Development Adviser who is based at the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Centre (TLA) at Holyrood.
This member of staff can help you develop an effective study pattern and learning style through one to one meetings.
You may also find the TLA workshops on learning and studying useful, all you need to do is turn up to these classes run throughout the academic year.
This article was published on Aug 31, 2009