We asked our current students for advice for new students. From advice about reading, learning and volunteering - hear their top tips for new students.
Be proud of yourself for having the courage to take the plunge to return to University!
Returning to education after a break is no mean feat, so acknowledge the big achievement you have made. While coming to university for the first time can be nerve-wracking, it can also be incredibly exciting! You are going to have lots of opportunities for learning, growth and development over the next few years.
- Make yourself known to your personal tutor.
Every student at Queen's is assigned a personal tutor when they start studying. This tutor is an academic within your school who will be able to help you with any academic concerns. We encourage you to make contact with your tutor so that you feel comfortable to approach them if you do have any questions down the line.
- Use your time at university wisely – find a good study space.
Everybody studies differently - and this includes their preferred study space. Use the first few weeks to figure out if you prefer studying somewhere like the library with people around you, or if you need complete silence in a silent study area (also available in the library). Once you know what you need to focus, it will make all the difference.
- Ask lecturers for permission to record lectures.
There are many reasons why a student may need to record a lecture, and there are also many ways for this to be done too. From pens that can record to recording on your phone, you have lots of ways to make sure you don't miss anything in your lectures. Do make sure to get your lecturer's permission to do this first, however!
- Keep up to date with reading material.
We encourage all students to keep up to date with the reading lists their lecturers give them. The reading material for a class is a good way to ensure you stay on top of the key themes and topics of the module. If, however, you begin to struggle with this, please do get in touch with your personal tutor.
Listen carefully for cues from the lecturer on what the key areas are.
Lecturers will often highlight areas or themes that they consider important for the module. For example, if they repeat the same information, they stress an interest in a particular piece of research, a particular significant figure, etc. take note as this may be relevant for the assessment.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure.
Questions are welcomed and encouraged in all classes - both in lectures and in tutorials. Asking a question will help not only you, but your classmates too, as the chances are they are thinking the same thing as you!
- Seek out additional help.
The university has a large range of resources and supports for students. The Learning Development Service, Maths and Statisics Helpdesk, and the Library all provide help with writing skills, IT, and help with assignments. Your school will also be able to advise you on where you can get additional help.
- Ask for help to understand feedback so you can improve your next piece of work.
It is important to read your feedback carefully so that you can understand how best to improve your work. The LDS website has lots of resources about how to interpret and implement feedback.
- Volunteer for your school and take part in peer mentoring schemes.
This is a great way to get to know staff and students in the university, and also to develop your communication and presentation skills.
Put yourself out there.
As hard as it may be sometimes, don’t be afraid to make friends and challenge yourself. Everyone’s in the same boat, and everyone will appreciate a hello!
- Be kind to yourself and enjoy student life – it flies by!
You are only in university for a short time, so make the best of it in the most fulfilling way for you.