What will my child have to deal with at University?

Workload

student standing in room

Your child’s workload at university will vary depending on their degree. Parents are often shocked when they look at their child’s first timetable and notice that it only seems to have about 10 hours of classtime for the whole week! However, by the time that study, assessments, group work, research and admin are all factored in the average student is generally very time poor. On average it is expected that a student will spend 25-30 hours per week on various aspects of their degree.

Workload will also vary heavily depending on the time of semester. As different university courses within a degree do not communicate, it is common for students to have 2-3 large assignments due within a week. This can be very stressful for the student.

Grades

You’re no doubt proud that your child has successful gained entry to university. It’s a feat only a small percentage of the population achieves. However, that small group is a rather smart group. This means there is a lot of competition at university. Subsequently, students who performed at the top of high school may now find themselves getting Passes and Credits in their first year of university. This can be upsetting to the student, particularly if they have high expectations of themselves. It is important for your child to learn that many of the skills required to succeed in university are very different to those used in high school. Encourage your child to visit the Learning Centre where the skills around research and university essay writing are taught.

Independence/Self-Management

The biggest difference between high school and university is freedom! But this also means that your child is the only person responsible for keeping track of their studies. In fact, due to the large number of students attending lecturers and the self-directed nature of university study, attendance is not monitored.

In addition, lecturers often have first year classes that can exceed 1000 students and will not have time for individual issues. Tutors may have more time, but overall the responsibility is on your child to manage their time, seek assistance when needed and learn how the university operates. Encourage your child to ASK for assistance whenever they need it.

Change

Expect change whilst your child is at university. This may present itself in many different ways: clothing, changes in degree, or new positions on social and political issues. And these things may all change more than once throughout their university career. This is all a natural and healthy part of developing independence.

If your child has been living away from home whilst at university, they may also view some of your house rules as unrealistic when they return. Being able to discuss their views and compromise with them as adults will help to strengthen everyone’s relationship and ensure the time you have with them is positive.