Face it! University is WAY Different Than High School

By University of Northern British Columbia Modified on September 20, 2018

5 powerful ways to rock University Life.


Getting your acceptance letter was probably thrilling, but excitement can become feelings of anxiety once classes start. The truth is: University is very different than high school. We all know it’s bigger and more challenging, but professors can be intense, homework is just plain MORE, and what the heck are APA and MLA anyway?

To make the most of University, it can help to expand previously held definitions of “success.” You’ve got four years to grow through! Here are five tips to improve your habits now, and far into your future.

  1. 1. Consider expenses as investments. Buy the required text books! If you’re budgeting, buy used. UNBC even has text book RENTAL (how’s that for cool)? Consider using post-its to mark stuff—the cleaner the text, the better for Sell-Back when you’re done.
  2. 2. Engage your curiosity. Explore new & different subjects in first year! UNBC students don’t choose Majors until they’ve completed 30 credit hours (generally 10 courses). Complete your academic breadth requirements, maybe find your perfect career path in the process!
  3. 3. Act like a University Student.
    1. a. Be your own Boss, but be your Friend too. Be tough—do your best work, within a strict schedule, without excuses—but take care of yourself! Another cool thing: according to student surveys of Canadian, primarily Undergraduate institutions, UNBC ranks #1 for Mental Health supports.
    2. b. Your syllabus is your friend—make a schedule of all your course’s assignments so you can see where there’s overlap. Start assignments sooner, not later! And be noisy: read your essays aloud as you review—is your argument clear, concise, and strong?
    3. c. Get free peer support: Academic Success Centre tutors help edit and improve essays!
    4. d. Do your readings, EVERY day! Bypassing assigned readings means you’re losing $ every lecture if you can’t follow the discussions. Participation = better grades, and better grades can = $CHOLARSHIP$.
    5. e. Put in the hours; invest in yourself. Finish assignments before they’re due because last minute stuff is stressful! You’ve paid tuition—get your $ worth by taking time to do your best work.
  4. 4. Use mid-terms! Profs are Pros—instead of being defensive about mid-term grades, maximize your Prof’s knowledge. Go to office hours and get one-on-one feedback on how to seriously improve!
  5. 5. Befriend students in other years & disciplines. UNBC has students from 50 different countries, so you can learn about the world, different societies and opportunities through new friends. Since they’ve already ‘been there’, peers can also offer tips about texts, note-taking, studying, and more!

University level study still includes SpellCheck (don’t ever NOT use this hack), but demands more from you, overall. Ask questions. Explore student services and options on campus. Grow into the discipline and career that suits you. Life is more than a paycheck—establish good habits now, and be fulfilled later.

Maximize your SELF at UNBC, and be your best, starting in 1st year!

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