If you’re an incoming undergraduate at the LSE this fall, you may be thinking about the transition from high school to university. If you’re excited, that’s awesome. If you’re anxious, that’s totally understandable too. After spending a year here at LSE, I’ve picked up a few differences between university and high school that may help you settle in.
With great flexibility comes great responsibility
One of the biggest changes as an undergraduate student is the amount of flexibility you’ll have over your life. Unlike the rigid schedules and mandatory assignments that you’re likely familiar with in high school, how you spend your time at university is largely up to you. Aside from the lectures and classes on your timetable, you’ll find hours throughout the day and days throughout the week that you have absolute flexibility over. When should I wake up? Should I study or watch a movie today? Do I really need to go to office hours? No one will tell you what you need to do at university – yes, it might seem intimidating, but it can also be incredibly liberating and rewarding.
My dog ate my … readings?
The word ‘homework’ is something you probably won’t be hearing at university. Instead, preparing for your lectures and classes will largely involve reading in your own time. Every week, you will have a list of required and optional readings that you need to and can complete. While the format may range from journal articles to textbook chapters, a lot of the learning you do at university actually takes place outside of the classroom. As my professor once said, lectures are like the trailers to a movie and the readings are the movie. Don’t mistaken trailers for movies: please do your readings!
So many options!
Another big difference between university and high school is the number of resources and opportunities available at your fingertips. Especially at LSE, chances are there are more books in the Library and expertise in your department than you have ever had exposure to. Furthermore, LSE’s vibrant community means there’s always something going on; whether it’s learning computer programming at the Digital Skills Lab or joining the 200+ societies, there’s always a way for you to realise the ambitions you always had and discover interests you never imagined.
When I arrived at LSE last year, what surprised me the most was how welcoming everyone was. Your department, your peers and the staff at LSE all genuinely want you to have the best experience here possible and are here to support you. Long story short, we can’t wait to have you here at LSE!