Is University easier than College?
Choosing to do a History Degree was one of the best, and actually one of the easiest, decisions of my life. I have always loved History and even at the start of College I was pretty set on carrying on with History to a higher level. In my first year of Sixth Form College I took Fine Art, Classical Civilisation, English Literature and Modern History. At this point I was caught between pursuing my love for Art or carrying on with History- History won. So by second year I studied English Literature, Classical Civilisation and Modern History. I am going to be completely honest here and say that at College I worked hard but also seemed to have a knack for History. Of course it wasn’t easy by any means, but when you’re passionate about a subject there is so much more incentive.
There seemed to a be a recurring theme in what people told me to expect with regard to University, varying from: “University is a walk in the park” to “the jump from GCSE to A Level is much bigger than the jump from A Level to University”. Perhaps for other courses this is accurate, but certainly for me I felt that there were several big changes. Of course, these people may have experienced University as being a little jump from College, however, in my personal experience, there are quite a few differences.
One of the biggest differences for me was the sheer amount of research I needed to do for essays and seminars. This took a little while for me to adjust to, however I quickly developed the ability to scan read which helped a lot. On average now I need twenty or more sources contributing to my long essays of 4500 words. Prior to University using this many sources would have been ludicrous to me. Moreover, I wouldn’t have known where to even start looking for these.
This leads me onto my next big difference, which may seem rather obvious to some- the Library is MASSIVE. Warwick has a fantastic library system, called Warwick Encore, and with your student login you can access, from home, a wide variety of archives and e-resources such as scanned books.
The essay structures also changed, for History. Each seminar tutor may have preferences to how an essay is written, the style and structure may be suited to them. One big difference I noticed was the way introductions are written, they are smaller and much more to the point. Likewise, the referencing is far stricter, however the Warwick Style Guide explains everything you need to know about referencing. I also spend a lot more time in silent study spaces than I ever would have at College.
All the above are what makes Warwick University Graduates desirable to employers- we are pushed to our limits to achieve the best we can. This is 100% a good thing.
One of my favourite things about my History Degree is the freedom to study what you want. I can pick and choose what I write my essays on, or what I revise for the exams. This freedom is the best, each year you can choose what modules you’re interested in and explore new areas of your subject.
I hope this is useful, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!