At present the body of my work is completing scholarship applications for school leavers and advising these school leavers on their next steps. It got me thinking that secondary school dies not prepare a student in any way for university. They are as different as Super Rugby and the Olympic Sevens. I think this for the following reasons.
- The timetable. No university has any class meets every day; no university schedule requires a student to be in class every hour of the school day. Some classes meet for two or three hours at a time. And the choices, don’t get me started.
- Online work. In most of today’s university courses, there is a significant online component to the course. It is up to the student to be proactive to use it. It is in most cases it is part of the assessment.
- Reading. The expectation in all courses in the sciences, history, philosophy, and social sciences is that students will have to do some significant primary-source reading (and writing on it). The anticipation in all courses is that students know how to read analytically and critically.
- Being organised. Professors will not seek you out if you are doing poorly. The expectation is that you will go for help, find study partners, seek assistance from tutors and special programs, etc. on your own.
- Homework expectations. It is assumed in most universities, according to most calendars I have read, that for every hour in class a student is expected to work at least an hour outside of class on reading, writing, research – often more.
What do you think? Are we really preparing our student for the next stage well?