Returning to study

Victoria University of Wellington welcomes a great number of students who haven’t been studying for several years or who are returning after a break.

This may be your first time at university or you may be returning to study. Mature age students often worry that they are not as prepared for university as school leavers, but in actual fact your life experience and the skills you have gained along the way give you a real advantage.

It can be challenging, at first, to adapt to a learning environment that may be quite different from what you’d previously experienced. But building on your previous experience will allow you to succeed in making the transition.

Adapting to different expectations

A key thing to remember is that expectations vary across different disciplines. Some courses may scaffold your learning; others may assume that you are already familiar with the university environment.

It is also important to remember that different subjects have different modes of assessment. You should work out early on what is expected from your markers in each of your assessments.

If you are taking a few different subjects, make sure to familiarise yourself with the expectations. Read the course outline carefully. This is where your lecturer will put crucial information about your course.

Fitting everything in

Spend some time familiarising yourself with the assessment schedule and expectations before the course starts. This can be accessed on your course page on the Course Finder. Add these details to your calendar, and anticipate when you’re going to be at your busiest in the trimester.

If you are studying part time, a parent, or working many hours while studying, you will need to fit your studies into your busy schedule. But never fear, many people successfully balance all three!

If you want to make a realistic schedule that allows you to manage your study, personal, and work commitments, make an appointment with one of our learning advisers.

Academic writing

Don’t worry if you haven’t written anything ‘academic’ for a long time. The writing skills that you have developed in your profession or everyday life are transferrable to university.

The challenge lies in understanding what your markers’ expectations are.

The ability to construct a good essay or report involves understanding the process and the conventions of academic writing. You may feel a bit rusty or lacking in confidence. But remember, academic writing is a developmental skill that will improve with time and practice.

Student Learning can help with individual assistance and/or workshops. You can have a 50 minute individual appointment at Student Learning (you need to book ahead for this as places fill up fast) or drop into the library for a quick 15 minute chat.