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Placement Year

BA (Hons) Media Production

Going from sixth form or college to your first year at a university is a big transition. Today I’m going to explain some key differences and some things that you can expect before and during the transition process.




One of the key differences between school/college and university is the structure of the day. In school, students typically have a structured day with classes, breaks, and study sessions. Classes are subject-specific and led by different teachers who help students achieve their best grades.


At university, there are different types of teaching sessions including lectures, seminars, and workshops.

Lecture theatreLectures are led by expert lecturers in large halls where students take notes.


Seminar room




Seminars take place in smaller groups where participants have more conversations and ask in-depth questions, led by tutors.

Music production room and a laboratory


Workshops are specific to a particular area of study and usually involve a more hands-on approach, such as fieldwork or practicals, and are run by demonstrators.





Student Experiences

Another important aspect of university life is learning essential life skills such as shopping, cooking, and budgeting.

When living at home, these tasks are typically guided and supported by parents or other adult family members. However, when living alone at university, these become important life skills that are necessary for managing daily life. It is important to know how to cook and plan meals, as there is usually no one else to help you.

Monthly budget plannerBudgeting is also a critical skill to learn, as students are responsible for all their finances. This includes identifying essential expenses such as rent, utilities, and groceries and allocating a specific amount of money for each.


Shopping list listing ingredientsGrocery shopping is also your responsibility, from managing the physical shop to shopping for the right ingredients. Learning these skills early on can help students settle in when they first arrive at university and serve them well in the future.

As an independent student, it is also up to you to manage your rest and play. There will be no one there to tell you when to go to bed, so it is important to ensure you have the right amount of rest to get you through the next day. With work and rest also comes play, and it is up to you to manage your time and ensure you can still keep up with your other commitments. As a university student, you are expected to be more independent and self-directed in your learning, compared to receiving more guidance before.

Transitioning from school/college to university is a big change, and there are many differences to expect. These include the structure of your day/week, and the need to learn important life skills such as shopping, cooking, and budgeting. As an independent student, it is important to manage your work, rest, and play and ensure you are keeping up with your commitments. While this may seem overwhelming at first, developing these important life skills will serve students well in the future.

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