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Starting at uni – your questions, answered

Uni life
Published 15 May, 2020  ·  4 minute read

High school is about to finish, and graduation is just around the corner. It's an exciting time, but planning for something completely new can feel overwhelming.

You’ve probably heard what life at uni is like, and reports can differ wildly depending on who you talk to!

To help you out, we’ve answered some of the common questions students like you have asked in the past.

Will what I choose to study affect my future success?

Don’t stress if you’re not totally sure what you want to do after uni – you’re definitely not the only one. Sometimes, you won’t know if you really like something until you try it.

In fact, the job you’ll end up in probably doesn’t even exist yet! That’s why at UQ, we build in plenty of flexibility so you can follow your interests wherever they lead you, whether that’s different majors, extracurricular activities, research and placement opportunities, or pathways into other programs.

No matter what’s around the corner, you’ll be equipped with the skills to tackle it.

Do I need to be at uni 5 days a week from 9am to 5pm?

Students studying on lawn

Usually, this is not the case. A standard full-time study load consists of 8 courses per year, or 4 per semester. Generally, each course will require 3 to 4 contact hours at uni, so don’t be surprised if you find you’re only on campus 2 or 3 days a week, so many uni students work part-time jobs in addition to their studies.

You’ll have a fair bit more out-of-class reading and study to do than you did at high school, though, so make sure you allow time for that around your other commitments.

Is uni all work and no play?

Students at a colour run

Absolutely not. Life at uni is not just about what you learn, but also the people you meet, learn with and learn from.

One of the things that sets UQ apart from other unis is that there is always something social to do on campus, with a thriving network of fantastic clubs and societies, representing UQ on a sports team, or just hanging out at the uni bar (as long as you’re 18!).

If you bury your nose in a book the whole time, you’ll miss out on the best parts of uni – which many students say after they graduate are the memories they cherish the most.

Do lecturers and tutors have any real-world experience?

Teachers and students in lab

The subjects aren’t just what our lecturers and tutors teach – it’s what they do.

UQ’s celebrated researchers, who are making discoveries that push their fields of research further, are the ones who will be teaching you – they are experts in the courses they teach.

Most importantly, they are passionate about what they’re teaching too. And don’t just take our word for it – UQ has the most Australian Awards for University Teaching of any university, so you can be confident will be taught by the best in Australia.

Is uni harder than high school?

This one’s pretty subjective. Uni is very different to high school because you’re responsible for your own time. This means sometimes making tough decisions like not going to a party the night before an assignment is due (unless of course, you planned your time well and have finished it already!).

The good news is, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. UQ offers plenty of support to help you make the transition, so you’ll be thriving at uni before you know it.

Is getting a job after uni hard?

Woman at a job interview

We’d be lying if we said finding a job was easy – the job market is competitive and it’s important to set yourself apart from the rest of the field of applicants.

By choosing to study with us you’re already a step ahead, because UQ grads are very highly regarded by employers around the world – in fact, a lot of employers were once UQ students themselves, so they know the quality and value of a UQ degree!

Our advice would be to take advantage of every chance set yourself up for success while you’re studying – the courses you study will give you plenty of knowledge, hands-on experience, and access to world-class facilities and award-winning teachers.

There are also plenty of programs, internships, social and networking activities, and other work-integrated learning opportunities that will help you get your foot in the door in the first place, if you seek them out and make the most of them while you’re at uni.

Do employers even care about my grades?

It’s important to get good grades, so don’t use this as an excuse to slack off!

We hear from employers we work with that they also value soft skills, like teamwork, communication, problem-solving and leadership – sometimes more than the grades you have, and definitely to help decide if there are two job applicants with the same scores. It’s all the more reason to get involved in the many clubs and societies on offer while you’re at UQ, and not just get lost in your studies.

Do you have to pay your student loan back before you start earning above a certain amount?

If you’re eligible, fees you pay to study at uni can be deferred by the Australian Government until you’ve graduated and are earning enough to be able to pay it back.

Another common question we get is whether you have to pay back your fees if you move overseas. The verdict? Yes, you still have to pay fees back.

Is St Lucia campus so big that it has its own postcode?

The University of Queensland is its own suburb, yes! 4072 has everything – parklands and lakes, a gym, playing fields, a post office, a bank, 7 libraries, 5 museums, and heaps of places to relax, catch up with friends, and grab a bite to eat.

At this rate, the only thing we don’t have yet is our own airport! Stay tuned…

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