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Going to university can be a massive change. It can be hard to meet people and adjust to new ways of doing things, especially when you’re trying to get all your study done as well! Learn how to manage the change and make uni a fun and positive experience.

This can help if:

  • you’re just about to start uni
  • you have just finished school
  • you aren’t sure what to expect at uni.
Aerial view of students and worksheets

Heading to uni

Congratulations! Whether you're straight out of high school or you’ve taken the scenic route, starting uni is a pretty exciting and possibly terrifying time. You’ll be looking at huge changes in your day-to-day life, including:

  • a whole new schedule – if you’re studying full time, classes and study are going to take up most of your week. Try to keep a bit of balance across the semester. Socialising and staying active are important too!
  • all new people – yep, uni is FULL of diverse people from all kinds of places, studying all kinds of things. Take this as a great opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t normally get a chance to chat to
  • a different way of thinking – unlike school, your tutors and lecturers are going to expect you to think for yourself, organise yourself, and explain yourself! Get used to being treated differently, and asked to take ownership of your study.

Meeting people at uni

Big lecture groups and crowded lunch areas can make it hard to turn classmates into mates. If you're struggling to make connections, try:

  • clubs and societies. There are clubs for everything from astronomy to mountain-climbing to brewing. They're places to meet people who are into the same stuff as you
  • tutes. Tutorial or lab groups are usually smaller than lectures, and you can get a chance to chat with people here
  • O-Week activities. There are a whole lot of people who are new at uni, so meet up with them in the week before session starts and get to know a few. Read a few tips for getting the most out of O-week.
  • PASS – Peer-assisted study sessions let you get help with coursework at the same time as getting to know people studying in your area.

For more tips, see our guide on meeting new people.

Studying and assessments

University can be great fun, but things get stressful pretty quick if you're not passing subjects. Coming from high school, the assessments (especially big exams) can seem massively daunting, but if you plan it right, it's totally doable. Here are some tips to help you pass:

  • Talk to your classmates about the course. Not only do you get to meet people, you can nut out assessments together.
  • Connect with your lecturer or tutor. Whether it's in-person or online, they're there to help you pass, so use them!
  • Chat with people who've done the class before to find out what kind of exam to expect.
  • If you need help with certain tasks, hit up the study skills centre to get up to speed.
  • Try not to get too distracted by party-life. Unis and TAFEs are great places to find people who love to cut loose, but you'll need to keep a handle on your work to do well.
  • Learn a study method that works for you, and stick to it. We even pre-prepared some study hacks, so check that out as a starting point.

Changing Courses

Changing courses once you’re at uni is pretty common and not too difficult. Here are a few tips to help make the process easier:

  • Keep an eye on deadlines – if you let the FEE-HELP deadline go past, you'll have to pay for the subject even if you don't complete it. If you let the academic census date pass you by, you might not be able to stop a subject without failing.
  • Talk to course, subject and unit co-ordinators about what marks you'll need (or forms you'll have to fill in) to move from one course to another.
  • Chat with students who are doing the course you want to do and find out what it’s actually like. You might find their experience is really different to how the course sounds on paper.

What can I do now?