School vs uni

Being at uni is very different to being at school. You may not have lessons every day, and it’s up to you to motivate yourself. But you have lots more freedom to study how and when you choose.

The key differences between school and uni are:

Teaching methods

Instead of set lessons Monday to Friday, you’ll only have a few lectures and seminars during the week. Lectures (usually an hour-long talk in a theatre) are when tutors share their knowledge and ideas, while seminars are much smaller groups where you talk about your ideas with other students, or spend time working with your tutor.

Teachers vs tutors

You don’t have a form teacher who takes the register everyday, but you will have a personal tutor for help and support. You also have tutors for the different subjects you study. They may give lectures, hold seminars, and work with you on your written work.

Taking more responsibility

University gives you much more flexibility and independence, but it is your responsibility to make sure you go to lectures and seminars, meet deadlines, and do your own research.


At school, you may only go into the library for doing homework or using the computers. At Birmingham, our students can use one of the biggest libraries in the UK – with over two and a half million books – plus, we have another 10 libraries and resource centres to help you research your subject. And, of course, we have lots of computers too!

Studying at university helps you develop the skills, such as creativity, leadership and problem solving, that many employers are looking for.

Learning to divide your time evenly between studying and your social life can also help you get the most out of life at uni.