As a secondary school leaver, going to the university is filled with so much anticipation, expectations and anxiety. You may be wandering what is the university like? From classes to your accommodation and the total freedom that comes with going to school and leaving home for a new environment, the feelings can be overwhelming.

The university life is a total deviation from the life you were familiar with and somehow a new life altogether. But how does the university life differs from the secondary school environment? Checkout the differences below:

1. Classes:

One very big difference between secondary school life and the university is the class structure. In the secondary school, classes hold for 40-45 minutes but in the university, it holds for two hours. The time structure in the secondary school timetable can look like:

8:00-8:45; 8:45-9:30; 9:30-10:15; 10:15-10:50, etc.

But the university timetable looks like:

8:00-10:00; 10:00-12:00; 12:00-2:00; etc.

In the secondary school, all students of one arm stays in a block class building. But the university, you just enter a class for two hours. Once done with the class, you go home or go to the venue of the second class if you have another class immediately. It is possible to have one class here by 8:00am and have another class by 10:00am in a far away building where you have to take keke or taxi.

2. Subjects Vs Courses

In the secondary schools, all you had was subjects like Maths, English, Physics, Econs, etc. But in the university, you then have courses. Those in sciences often offer 6 courses while those in education may offer up to 10 or even more courses. Subjects and courses are the same but different words used in different places.

3. Programmes of Study:

In the secondary school, you do not have a programme of study. You are not particularly studying to be a doctor, teacher, banker, etc. Secondary school is just to prepare you for university life. But immediately you enter the university, you will choose a programme of study and that is what you will be reading for.

Note I: If you are asked ‘what is your major?’ Just know the person is referring to what you are reading in the university.

Note II: The term programme of study is also being used to refer to course of study. So, instead of ‘which programme are you reading?’, you may hear ‘what is your course of study?’

4. Schools Fees:

Of course, we don’t even need to stress it that university total charges are higher than that of secondary schools. Secondary schools students don’t pay acceptance fees and many other charges. Even the tuition fees in secondary schools are far lower than that of the university.

5. Freedom:

Now in the university, you have all the freedom you need. No one ask you where you are going or coming from. Your conscience guides you. So train your conscience well now, so that you will have a very good guide in school.

6. Accommodation:

Accommodation is another factor that differentiates the university from secondary school life. In the secondary school, students leaves their parent’s/guardian’s house to the class and back every day, unless for those in boarding house. But in the university, you are purely on your own. Except for those schooling where their parents reside, majority of university students goes to class from their personal hostel or school hostel. You live comfortably on your own with a lot of freedom.

7. Decision Making:

As a university student, you are the sole manager of your life affairs. From time to wake up to the time to go out, come in, take on task, etc., all those decisions then lies on you.

8. There May be no Uniforms:

Except for professional programmes like medicine, pharmacy, nursing and sometimes mass comm., etc., you will not be wearing uniforms again. Any nice simple outfit would do for classes.

9. No Form Teachers:

In the secondary schools, a teacher often comes to the class to take attendance register of students in attendance. In the university however, there is nothing like register. All the lecturers have the list of names of students in a particular class.

10. No. of Students in a Class:

In the secondary school, the standard maximum number of students in a class is 50. However, in the university, such number is usually infinite. You may even have up to 700 or more in some classes in highly populated schools.

11. Gender-base Schools:

Secondary schools can have all male and all female schools like the St. Theresa Girl’s Grammar Schools, Government Colleges, etc. But the university is quite different in this respect. It is usually a mix of males and females. There is no particular programme of study or university that is meant for girls or boys only.

12. No More Assembly:

You remembered “go down, go down, go down to Egypt, and tell Pharaoh, Pharaoh let my people go!” Yeah, no more assembly, no more morning matching to the classroom. You just leave your house and straight to the classroom and wait for your lecturer or join the ongoing class if you go late.

13. No More Inter-House Sports:

In the university, inter house sports are not found. Although some sort of sporting activities including Faculties are held in some sessions, but in general, it does not look like the real secondary school inter house sports.

14. No More Senior Prefects:

From year one upward in your studies, you may not be hearing of senor prefects again. Rather, you are going to be hearing of course representatives (reps). Course reps takes the place of class prefects and Departmental or Faculty presidents in place of senior prefects.

15. Teachers and Lecturers:

In secondary schools we call teachers, but in the university, we call lecturers. Although lecturers are teachers, they are referred to as lecturers in the university.

16. Professors:

In the teaching profession, the professorship status is the highest in the academic ladder. Professors are not often found in secondary schools but only in the universities.

17. Principal Vs Vice Chancellor:

The head of a secondary school is called a principal while the head of a university is referred to as a Vice Chancellor.

There are more differences you can add to it but these are the basic differences you want to know now. If you are just heading towards the university, I wish you the best of luck.

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