[16] How to successfully transition to university level study with Rachael Lamb

transition to university

In this episode of The School Success Formula I interview Rachael Lamb about how students can make a smooth and stress-free transition from college to University. In this episode, we dispel some of the myths about starting university, and cover the key differences between A level and degree level study and the three essential elements students must focus on to be successful.

Rachael’s background

Rachael is a Lecturer and Researcher at Nottingham University Business School, teaching undergraduates, postgraduates and executive MBA students. She has a personal interest in education research, increasing access to university and supporting the development of effective study skills. Outside of her university teaching commitments she runs www.joinedupwriting.online, focussed on improving students’ critical thinking, study skills, academic writing and exam technique. Prior to working in Higher Education, Rachael spent 18 years in industry, delivering executive education for large, high profile organisations such as Waitrose, RBS, Rolls-Royce, the NHS and National Grid. In the last few weeks Rachael has been appointed to the role of Assistant Professor at Nottingham University Business School.

What we covered in this episode

  • The two myths about university study Rachael hears most often:
  1. I did well at A levels so I'll be fine at University; and,
  2. My first-year marks don't count towards my final result so I'll figure it out by myself
  • Rachael’s own University transition and how she learned the hard way (so other students don't have to!)

Rachael was the first in her family to go to university. She loved the subject and the environment but found the jump in standard tough. Rachael did not know who to turn to and ended up having a panic attack in her first-year exams. She had to resit them and passed but resolved to learn everything she could about university study so she didn't suffer the same fate again. Rachael went on to teach communication skills in industry and to do her MBA and PhD and teach at university.

  • How difficult the transition to Uni can be and the worrying number of students who drop out in their first year – 1 in 16 students drop out in their first year. Many more seek help because they struggle.
  • The key differences between A levels and University and why students come unstuck:
    • Self-directed learning instead of teacher led
    • High percentage of study time is independent (reading, note-taking, testing)
    • Focus on the higher level study skills such as analysis and evaluation instead of knowledge and comprehension
  • The three elements students need to have in place to succeed at uni- Mindset, Method, and Mastery
  1. Mindset – affects every aspect of their learning. Growth mindset as a frame which encourages students to focus on learning and approach effort, obstacles and feedback positively
  2. Method – the importance of the right methods to get fast results and save time. How to make the most from their contact hours and how to structure their independent study time. Best practice methods for essential Uni skills such as reading, note taking etc and for assessments – essays and exams.
  3. Mastery – the work doesn't get easier but with practice, you get better! The importance of higher order study skills – critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation

Useful Resources

Three Essential elements you need before you start University – Download FREE guide


Other resources we talked about on the show

How much time should you spend studying? – from Rachael's blog

The Weekly Routine of a Straight A Student – from Lucy's blog

The #studygram: How to use instagram to improve your grades  – from Lucy's blog

How to use teaching as a revision technique – from Lucy's blog

Bloom's taxonomy

Where to find Rachael online

Rachael’s blog: Joined Up Writing

Rachael’s Facebook Group for students

Rachael on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram: @joineduponline

Useful links

My book, The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take.

Ten Steps to Exam Success download.

Supportive Parents, Successful Students facebook group

Lucy on twitter: @LucyCParsons

Contact Lucy by email: lucy@lifemoreextraordinary.com

If you’d like to suggest yourself as a guest for the podcast, please complete this form.

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