Mind the gap; transitioning from studying at school to university

By Milly

Hi! I’m Milly, and I am a third-year history student studying at King’s College London. I hope this blogpost provides you with some useful insights into what it is like to transition from studying at school to studying at university.  

1. Independent Learning 

As a history student at KCL, you will have between 7-8 contact hours a week, which means that you will be required to manage your own time and work independently a lot more than you did at school. I personally found this to be a really positive change for me, as it made me more independent while allowing me to enhance my time management skills. Additionally, as a history student you will have lots of reading to do each week. I have found it extremely useful to maintain a timetable and record my progress on my weekly readings, as it helps me to make sure I get all my work done and still save some time for fun activities and society events!   

2. Teaching methods 

Another key change you will encounter at university are the different teaching methods. The teaching in the Department of history at King’s College London consists of following a weekly timetable which is, in fact, a mixture of lectures, seminars & tutorials, and of course lots of independent study. I have really enjoyed these little changes and have found it incredibly refreshing to learn through a variety of teaching methods.    

3. Historical Skills, Sources & Approaches (HSSA) 

In the first year of single honors history at KCL, there is a compulsory module called ‘Historical Skills, Sources & Approaches’, which acts as a crucial element in the transition from learning at school to learning at university. This module is incredibly useful as it teaches you the necessary skills required to write a university level essay specifically related to our course. I found this module particularly helpful in my first year as it really helped me to gain confidence in writing university level essays and assignments.  

4. Personal Tutor 

All students at King’s College London are assigned a personal tutor from the department. The personal tutors are there to help and guide you in your transition to becoming a university academic and to support you throughout your degree. You have meetings with your personal tutor each term to monitor how you are finding the degree. Additionally, you can go to your personal tutors with any queries you have during their designated office hours. I have found this support network incredibly valuable.  

5. Office Hours 

At King’s, your lecturers and seminar leaders will all have office hours. These are the times set aside weekly where you can arrange to meet with your seminar leader to discuss a topic you need some extra help with. I would definitely recommend going to meet your lecturer in their office hours if there is a concept you need more clarity on or to discuss an upcoming assignment that is worrying you. Office hours are a fantastic way to receive support and guidance directly from your professors to help you through the transition to university life, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.