The main differences at a glance
- Greater amount of learning materials: the materials that are used in Pre-university Secondary Education are often clearly divided into paragraphs for each lesson and the teaching methods are designed for school pupils. A great deal more materials are used in university lectures, and these are also more abstract. The chapters or articles are not always written with the student in mind, but rather for scientists in general.
- Lectures and exams: even though you are currently used to spending the whole day at school, when you get to university you will only attend classes a few times a week. These classes may be lectures or seminars. Lectures are given in a large hall where the lecturer explains the material, and this information is then absorbed by the students. During the seminars, you will focus your attention on the material. For this purpose, you will often need to prepare an assignment. In your free time, you will prepare for lectures and study for exams. Examination weeks are usually held four times per academic year.
- English literature: research is usually written up in English, so that it can be read by scientists all over the world. As a result, most of the literature is in English. Experience has shown that students get used to this quite quickly, but feel free to approach the lecturer during a seminar if there is something that you don’t understand. If you have any doubts about your level of English, take a look at the English courses that are offered by Radboud in’to Languages.
- More freedom and independence: university students have fewer contact hours. You will often be expected to work with the materials independently. This type of freedom will require more discipline. Your academic progress will also not be monitored so closely at university, because you will be responsible for your own progress.
- Number of contact hours: during the first year of university, you will have around 15 to 20 hours of lessons per week. This will vary for each study programme. In addition to your lessons, you will need to allow time for studying. You will ultimately need to devote about 40 hours a week to your study programme.