How is university different?
At university you will learn a lot, not just about your subject, but about yourself and about life. You will develop new skills and experience new things every day. Adapting to university life can be challenging, but preparing for the new experiences ahead will help you to succeed.
So, how will university life be different?
You will be responsible for your own study and your success
At university you have a lot more responsibility for your own study. You will be expected to work independently, read around your subject, prepare for tutorials, visit the library and manage your own time. Don’t worry, there’s support from tutors and lots of advice available on this website but your success will be determined by you.
You will decide when and where to study
Visiting the library at 21.00, studying until 02.00, working in a coffee shop or in your department – these are all options at university. Planning your time and knowing when and where you work the best will help you to achieve more.
You will meet people from all over the world
With students from 126 countries, you will meet people from all over the world with different cultures, backgrounds and interests. Add to that the fact you will be living and studying in London, your neighbourhood will suddenly get a whole lot bigger and more diverse.
You will be taught in lots of different ways
Rather than "classes", teaching will be delivered in various ways – lectures, tutorials, practical classes and online. Lecture theatres are a lot larger than classrooms at school and many can hold well over 100 people. Tutorials are smaller discussion groups where you can really get to grips with a particular topic.
You will be expected to to think critically
Rather than just accepting and learning everything that you're taught, you will be expected to question, challenge and see gaps in the material to develop your own arguments, theories and ideas.
You will be spending lots of time in the library
The library is open 24 hours a day during the busiest periods. Whether you’re studying there, or you just need to grab a book to prepare for tomorrow’s tutorial – you will soon be very familiar with the library (although you’ll probably get lost in there once or twice).
You will learn online
Online activity, especially e-learning, is popular at Imperial. Much of your learning will take place via Blackboard (the College’s Virtual Learning Environment). You will regularly use the library’s online catalogue; specialist software for statistics, research or assessment; email for communicating with tutors and peers; and many other types of online tool.
You will have multiple assignments at the same time
Writing an essay, preparing a presentation for tutorial, conducting a group project, preparing a lab book. These may well be things that you will be working on at the same time. The good news is that you usually have longer to work on them. But don’t leave it to the last minute – manage your time and your workload effectively.
60% is a good grade
At school you may have regularly scored 70%, 80%, even 90% in a test or an assignment. At university, the rules change. For all students the pass mark is 40% and a first class degree is over 70%. See the Understanding Grades section for more detailed information on grades.
You will be cooking for yourself and others
Most students have only ever lived at home with relatives before coming to university, so not everyone has perfected their culinary skills. Ask friends and family for easy, cheap and healthy recipes that you will be able to cook for yourself and your housemates. See our information for more helpful advice.