Guide to choosing school subjects

What is University?

University is a life-changing experience that opens up a world of opportunities.

Compared with high school, at university, you have more control over your learning and can study whatever interests you. This enables you to develop more independence and confidence. A university education will provide you with the opportunity to gain theoretical and practical knowledge to prepare you for your future.

How is university different to school?

When you arrive at university you’ll notice some things are slightly different than at high school. We've put together this chart to help you understand the differences.

 High schoolUniversity
Student body 500 - 2000 students, aged 13 - 18, usually from the same area Waikato has over 12,000 students, aged 17 - 60+ from all over New Zealand and the world
Class size Usually 15 - 30 peopleLectures can have up to 300 students. Tutorials and labs have 10 - 25 students
Dress code UniformMufti
Study periods Four terms which run for about 10 weeks each Two main semesters which run for 12 weeks each, and two optional summer semesters which run for 6 weeks each
Learning style Your teacher assigns tasks for the class to talk about and share ideas. They also check your homework and monitor your progressLecturers explain important theories and concepts in large lecture theatres. In tutorials and labs, you apply these and can discuss ideas. You monitor your own progress
Assessment You earn credits by passing assignments, tests and exams for each subjectYou earn points by passing papers, which are like subjects, that count towards your degree
Campus size One area of school groundsCan have one or multiple campuses
Time spent in class 9am - 3.30pm Monday to Friday with five different class periods12 - 15 hours of class per week spread across Monday - Friday. Outside of classes, you’ll work on assignments and complete readings
Living arrangements At home with parents or caregivers Halls of Residence, flatting, homestay, or at home