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Going to university is an experience of a lifetime, but it's a little different to school

3 min read

Think university is just more school? Think again.

University offers the chance to study topics that interest you most, work more independently and learn in all kinds of new ways.

Will uni be the same as school?

Wondering if uni will just be three more years of school?

At University you can enjoy more independence than you've ever had before and study topics that interest you the most.

How lessons compare

At school, you’re probably used to learning in a classroom with a teacher giving information, some individual or group activities and set homework.

At university, students learn in a number of different ways depending on what they are studying, which year of study they are in and the topic they are currently working on.


If you’ve ever spoken to a university student, you’ve probably heard them mention ‘lectures’. Lots of people think this is just a different word that uni students use for ‘lessons’, but lectures are actually a different type of lesson.

Lectures are usually focused on information delivery. They are big group sizes, perhaps 50-100 students. The teacher, or ‘lecturer’, will stand at the front of the room and deliver a presentation to students, giving them the information they need about a particular topic.


Uni students also have seminars on their timetable. These are an opportunity to work in a much smaller group, more like the classes you’re used to in school, and they give students a chance to discuss what they learnt in their lectures. This is also a chance for students to ask their lecturer questions about the topic, and to get support with their learning.

Lab work and specialist spaces

You may have done some lab work in school before, perhaps in Chemistry or Biology when you’re working on experiments. Just like at school, uni students sometimes need to work in labs or specialist spaces to do experiments, testing, or to create specialist pieces of work.

They'll be given instructions and demonstrations from a member of staff, but unlike school, they'll often be able to work on their own experiments and use the labs in their independent study time, not just in lessons.

Explore the labs and specialist spaces available to students

Explore some of our key facilities at the University of Portsmouth

Take a look at some of the specialist spaces our students can use whilst at university. Including our motion capture studio, Future Technology Centre and interpreter training suite.

Is the leap from school to uni too big?

Making the leap from school to university can feel like a big step. But don’t worry, everything you’ve been doing at school and college will help you work towards studying more independently – which is a big part of life a uni.

Studying independently also doesn't mean studying completely alone, because you're never alone. Universities will support you to adjust to the new level of study and will always have support services available if you need them.

Coping with university studies

Unsure how you would adapt to studying at university?

The step up to studying at University can seem daunting. You shouldn't worry though as it's a gradual process and there's plenty of support along the way.