There’s no two ways about it: University is a completely different experience from high school. No uniform, classes at various times of the day, study periods where you are your own boss, and even things like having to cook for yourself! There's a lot to learn and get used to before you're fully settled in.
Now whether you're in Year 9 or Year 13, it's best if you're prepared from the start. This applies to both academic areas as well as the life skills that can come in pretty handy when you're out there in the real world. It's going to make your transition that much smoother.
To save you the time and effort (and any freaking out), we've gone ahead and made a couple of pointers that can help you prepare for University.
Organisation is key!
As a high school student, your life can get pretty hectic from time to time, so we're hoping that you've got a schedule in place. It's probably not perfect, but we’re guessing that you might have a set time for homework, a sleep schedule, and then you've allowed yourself some free time. That’s probably all you need at this point in time (because it works!).
At University, that schedule will be blown to bits. You'll have to attend lectures at various times of the day (some early and some late) then go home and juggle through your piles of assignments. If you’re working part-time, you might have to rush to work before your shift starts.
Now’s the time to practice getting your time in check before you go to University and you’re responsible for planning your entire semester. If you don’t stay on top of your assignment due dates, we can guarantee there’ll be a few late nights!
As with any schedule, we recommend you keep it flexible. Yes, make sure you know where the important parts are, but keep it loose and with room for adjustment. This way you can get all your work done but still enjoy life along the way. Which means yes, you can attend your best friend's birthday party since you've completed your study for the day!
Read! Read! Read!
Most of the reading done at school is either in class or for English homework. You're going to have to do a lot more to prepare yourself for what's ahead!
Pretty much any course you might pick at University will come along with a ton of reading material. Don’t let the label ‘reading’ fool you, though: you’ll also have to fully understand it and grasp the concepts if you want the top marks.
We recommend getting a head start on your reading abilities now. If you're in the earlier years of high school (9, 10, or 11) you’ll probably have a bit of time on your hands. Use some of that time to get stuck into a habit of reading.
What should you read? Anything that interests you! It could be your favourite novel series, business books, or even history books. The faster you can learn to read and understand the contents of the book, the quicker you’ll be able to burn through your assignments in the future. This won't just help you become a lean, mean reading machine – you’ll also be learning new things constantly, which isn't a lousy side effect!
Job? Savings? Student budget?
If you're on the younger side of high school, your parents probably pay for most of your stuff. If you're more senior, you may have a job to pay for certain things you want. Either way, it’s always useful to think about whether you want a part-time job. Admittedly, it is harder to get a job if you're fifteen (especially with no experience), but it's not impossible.
Try going into local cafes, restaurants or retail shops to see if they have a position available. This way, you will have a fair idea of where you may or may not like to work. Write up a CV and cover letter and start applying!
A job won't just bring in the dough – it’ll also give you an opportunity to enhance your social skills, which is a great plus point. Work experience is just another positive to write on your University application when the time comes.
When you start to see the money roll in, try setting up a student budget. Sure, have some fun and live a little, but keep track of how much you spend and where; try and save some too! Through this, you'll know exactly where your money is flowing, and chances are you'll have a reasonable sum of money saved up by the time University rolls around. Like always – the earlier you start, the better.
Learn to cook!
No matter how young you are, it’s never too early to learn to cook a decent meal!
If you plan on moving out for University soon, you're going to start to miss home food real fast. Plus, getting takeaways every night is both expensive and unhealthy. Use your time at high school wisely and find a moment to ask your parents for some good recipes.
Even a few months is more than enough time to get a few good dishes under your belt. Take the opportunity to learn an essential living skill that can save you a ton of money in the future. It’s also one of the most satisfying things you can do!
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