Making the Transition: The differences of third level

The transition from school to college can be a difficult one, especially if you’re moving away from home for the first time.  With so much freedom and independence, college can be a lot to handle.  With the lure of cheap student nights out and banter in the student bar, assignments and lectures often fall by the wayside. Whilst you may have been top of your class in school, you might need to embrace some humility in college, as a lot more independent research and group work is required. The times when 60 or 70 in an essay were once deemed low are long gone. Most students will find themselves jumping for joy if they manage to achieve such results.

One important detail to note about assignments is the deadline. The ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse just doesn’t wash in college. Lecturers don’t want to hear it. Excluding extenuating circumstances, if you don’t have your assignment done by deadline day you’ll find yourself with a big fat zero.

Attendance is another factor that differs hugely when it comes to college and school. With no parents there to drag you out of bed at 8am and chauffer you off to school, the motivation to leave your cosy bed is often very hard to muster. Students should be careful about skipping too many lectures though, as some lecturers take attendance. With certain classes offering up to as much as 20% for just showing up, attendance can make all the difference when it comes to a pass or a fail.

One student told The College View about some difficulties he encountered making the transition. Despite Maths being his strongest subject in school, when he went on to do it in college he found it extremely challenging. “It was very different to what I thought it would be and after being one of the best in my class to go to the bottom was hard”. Currently repeating second year, his advice to any incoming students was a simple “go to lectures”.

Another significant difference from school is the Clubs and Societies that are offered in college. With most schools usually not expanding further than a gaelic or soccer team, college has something for everyone with a huge amount of sports and clubs to pick from. Students can choose from activities as diverse as surfing to origami.

Getting used to all the change can become a bit overwhelming to students and if this is the case there are several services on offer. The Student Advice Centre is open five days a week and students are encouraged to drop in and talk to someone about any problems they may encounter.  With guidance and advice on issues academic, personal and financial the centre is an invaluable service for any student.

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