5 things to Expect

The First few weeks….

When you arrive at university, you will most likely spend the first few weeks getting to know your new environment, attending induction activities, and checking out the clubs, teams, and societies available at USW. But once you settle into student life, you might be surprised to learn that there is more to university life than you expected. 

Here are five things you can expect from university life:

1) Meeting new people

Student Life

At university, you will be introduced to a lot of new people, some of whom may end up being your friends for life! You can expect to meet people in your classes, your student accommodation and in the variety of teams, clubs and societies at USW.

Depending on your interests, you can attend events where you’ll meet likeminded people, and you can even apply to be in accommodation that is in line with your preferences, including Welsh speaking halls or no alcohol halls.

2) More independent learning

Student on laptop

University is different from your school or college in several ways, one of which being that you’ll have more freedom to study the subjects and topics that interest you. Some of our courses offer optional modules, allowing you to customise your learning.

You’ll undertake more independent study and research and have less timetabled classes than you do in school. Generally, you’ll be expected to devote 200 hours of total study to each 20-credit module you take.

3) Having full control over your finances

Student Life Cardiff 2021_43029.jpg

Having control over your finances is exciting for a lot of students, but please try not to blow your student loan all at once! Your student loan must last the term and will need to be spent on essentials such as food, textbooks, bills as well as socialising and travel costs.

The University has a Student Money Advice Team that provides advice and information to help you make informed decisions about your finances. Their web pages include advice on managing your money.

4) Meeting deadlines and managing time

USW Student

You may not have had experience with being completely in charge of your own schedule. Academically, independent study means making your own decisions about how you study, what and where you study and managing your time is a key element to success.

While this may sound daunting, there are many strategies you can adopt to effectively manage your time around studying, socialising, and working. These include planning and prioritising your workload, creating a schedule, and setting goals.

5) New styles of teaching

You’ll be introduced to a variety of new teaching styles such as lectures, workshops, and seminars throughout your time at university.

Not sure what these are? Not to worry, we can help with that!

Guest Lecture


A lecture provides an overview of the main ideas about a subject and the lecturer will raise questions for you to consider. You will normally be listening and taking notes however there may be occasions when the lecturer will ask you to discuss an idea with others sat near you or will take questions at the end of the lecture.

The ideas raised in lectures and seminars/workshops/tutorials (see below) will feed into subsequent sessions and will often be relevant to assessments and exams.

Environmental Sciences

Seminars, workshops and tutorials

Whilst a lecture may be delivered to a many students, seminars/workshops and tutorials are a different experience. They are a meeting of smaller groups and is more like the classes you’ve had at school. 

You will be expected to have prepared in advance on a particular topic and to take an active part in the session.

International students on laptops


UniLife is USW's student portal, which brings together various student websites and services. Through it you can access ‘Blackboard’.

For each of your modules Blackboard provides learning materials and things like assessment briefs and reading lists and is one of the means lecturers will use to communicate with you.