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Student FAQs

Is University like High School?

University is high school minus the discipline, minus the hours and with coffee, lots of coffee. It also moves away from the hierarchical social systems that remain such an integral part of the high school experience. The environment of a university is far more open than that of a high school, the main difference being that the focus of study becomes the student’s responsibility rather than the teachers. Routine is no longer forced upon students, but merely offered. University is a relative choice and that means that most students are more inclined to enjoy their time studying and make the most of it.

What if chose the wrong course?

Many students do make the wrong choice about a course. I spent 3 years studying a degree I never completed still that gave me knowledge I then used in my next course and subsequently in my work life. So in hindsight regret is not something I felt about choosing the wrong course. Having said that if you decide early on that the course you have chosen is not right for you, you are able to change to a new degree which your OP entitles you to do.You can also get credits for any elective subjects you have already completed.

What if I fail an exam or subject?

Failing an exam is ok, most subjects have multiple assessments which include things like essays, assignments, group work, tutorial attendance and short quizzes, so failing just one element is ok. If you fail a subject you will have to do the subject again or order to get your degree. Some universities have special rules regarding sitting a subject again so be sure to ask your course adviser if any such rules apply if you’re worried you might fail. If you’re struggling with a subject get help early on. All universities have facilities to assist you if you’re not doing well – but do it early!

What if I don’t show up for a tutorial or lecture?

You don’t have to show up for lectures or tutorials. Sometimes universities will make lectures available online so you can see them later (no role call is taken). However tutorials often take a roll to see who is attending and this may affect your marks (sometimes 1% per tutorial for attendance). If you can’t make a tutorial for medical reasons and can supply a medical certificate you won’t have a mark deducted. It is advised that you attend all lectures and tutorials though as there is often important and examinable information given at these times.

What services are available for students with disabilities and what if I have trouble accessing them?

These days having a disability should not hinder your ability to get the degree of your choice. Both physical and cognitive disabilities are well catered for at most universities. If you have any concerns speak to your Student Services. On all campuses you’ll find people with a great many differing handicaps and they’re all doing just fine so don’t let that put you off chasing your dream job.

What if I lose interest in studying, and would prefer to work?

That’s fine, you can always defer your studies and take a year or two out for work and then come back to your studies. If you find that you prefer working and your job doesn’t require a degree then of course just keep working. However, keep in-mind the long-term effects of not having a degree and whether that may impact on your ability later in life for career advancement / promotions etc. Furthermore, not having a degree (formal qualifications) may cause problems if you decide grow out of your job and want a change. These two points not-withstanding though there are many benefits to also getting out there and gaining work experience – like all things do it strategically and with some forethought and think of the big picture. Finally, before you stop your studies check with your university how long your credits (completed subjects) remain valid for. There will be a time (usually several years) after which they no longer are valid and you’ll have to do them again if you return to uni.

What if I am unable to sit an exam or submit an assignment?

If you’re sick or have a pressing family commitment such as a funeral then the university will offer a special exam that can be done at a later date. You will need to provide evidence, such as a doctor’s certificate, supporting your inability to attend the exam. In most cases you will be advised at the start of semester what to do and who to see. If you have any concerns go and talk to your lecturer.

What if I am not smart enough?

For starters ask yourself why you don’t think you’re smart enough. It its because you didn’t do well at school or not as good as your freiends then now’s a good time to have a re-think. Remember, being smart isn’t about what you know, its about what you find out. Most people are smart enough to do most things, its just a matter of applying yourself (yup that means hard work) and developing the right study technique. Know Einstein? His school teacher told him he would never amount to anything – and he went on to be one of the most brilliant physicists of our time. So, before you decide you’re not smart enough do some investigation, find out about the course you want to do, the entry requirements and have a go at learning some of the material – chances are, if you apply yourself, you’ll be able to do it. Have a go!

How many hours a week do I need to study?

The amount of study time required depends on the individual student and of course the results they want to achieve. Some students are happy to get by on passes, others want to get the highest grades possible. There is a strong link between study time and grades and, as with most things in life, you get out what you put in. Most universities suggest that you treat studying like a full time job, so that means you should spend about 40 hours per week for your studies. This includes, lectures, tutorials and personal study time. While you can get away with less than this at the beginning of the semester you can count on it being more than this as you head into exam time. Again, it all depends on what you want to get out of your time at uni – top grades that will support you for the rest of your life or plenty of quality couch and TV time.

Can I ask somebody to help me or look over what I’ve done?

Yes. Most universities offer a variety of resources to help you with any academic concerns you’re having. These include peer (student) study groups, academic tutors and advisers and of course you can go and talk to your lecturer. At the beginning of every semester every class will begin with all these types of administration topics and you will be told about all the facilities available to you.

Do I need to enroll for each semester?

Yes, each semester you will need to enroll in your classes. These classes will either be elective subjects (subjects you chose yourself) or core subjects (subjects you MUST do for your degree). Usually you can enroll in your subjects before the semester starts and have several weeks in which to finalise your selections so you have plenty of time to change courses if you decide one is not suitable for you.

Can I work and study at the same time?

Many students do part-time work while they study. Generally speaking, if you are studying full-time then you need to allocate 40 hours per week to your studies. The time after that can be used for work, relaxing or socialising. Some people however have greater financial needs, especially if you’re living away from home, and may need to work a lot more. In this case you can enroll in only 3 subjects and still be classified as a full time student. As many universities now offer summer semesters you can make up the extra class over summer. Not all classes are offered in summer semester so be sure to check availability when making your plans.

What if I feel like I’ve been mistreated on campus?

University is a place for learning, growing and also having fun. It’s your right to feel safe and comfortable at all times (except during exam times). If another student is causing you problems or harassing you let them know that you’re not comfortable with their behaviour and you want them them to stop. If they persist see your student counselor for the procedure best suited to deal with the type of harassment you’re receiving. If you feel a member of staff is treating you badly first of all talk to the staff member and calmly explain why you feel uncomfortable. If you are not satisfied with the result then the matter can be escalated at many levels. Check the university’s “Student Charter” on the university website for a comprehensive guide to staff and student conduct.

How is a Dual Degree different from a regular degree?

Dual degrees allow you to study for two degrees at the same time. While it usually takes a little longer than doing a single degree, it is faster than doing two separate degrees. Once you have completed the course (dual degree program) you will graduate with full accreditation for both degrees. However, not all programs offer a dual degree structure so it’s important to contact the relevant faculties or schools to check first. Furthermore a dual degree program gives you the flexibility to study several areas of interest at once. You not only have a competitive edge in the workplace because of the additional knowledge and skills acquired, your career possibilities are greatly broadened.


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Student FAQs

All of your most common questions answered regarding university life, from workload, changing subjects and unfair treatment.


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