Essivi Kossi : Politics and international relations
Before coming to Loughborough University, I binged watched hours and hours of vlogs by university vloggers and searched the web endlessly for anything and everything concerning University life. For six months, my Google and YouTube history looked something like this: a day in the life of a University student, University moving vlog, freshers’ tips, and so on. Unfortunately, none of the videos I watched prepared me for the drastic change in my learning environment.
Developing Your Academic Writing Skills
In secondary school and sixth form/college, our teachers taught us how to write essays up to an A* standard; but they never really taught us how to write 1st class essays. I came to University thinking that my essay writing skills were excellent and would afford me a 1st class in my modules (which were heavily essay-based); unfortunately, I was continually receiving 2:2’s and 2:1’s. Instead of writing to impress A-level examiners, I should have been writing to impress university lecturers who were highly experienced and skilled in their field of study. Please do not make the same mistake I did; research how to write academically, and reference it correctly. There are many affordable books online which teach you how to write high-quality essays, and there are also many free videos and courses at your disposal. Get a head start and Impress your sixth form/college teachers by applying the teachings in the resources. Practice, practice, and practice more.
Developing Your Academic Reading and Research Skills
To write 1st class essays, lecturers expect you to research and read further into the lecture topics. Even though I loved reading (mainly fictional books), I had never read a scholarly text before. I struggled to understand the language used in academic books, articles, and journals. If you are in the same situation, get yourself familiar with the language used in your study area. Before going to University, try to read books, articles, and journals to familiarise yourself with the vocabulary and style of writing in your field of study. This will make it much easier for you to read and understand texts from your reading lists.
In secondary school and sixth form, our teachers continually checked up on us to see if we had completed our class tasks and homework, so most of us did not develop the independent and disciplined study skills needed for studying in the University. In University, you can’t afford to rely on your lecturers in the same way. You have to discipline yourself to attend your lectures on time, submit your work on time, do the required readings, and research independently. While you’re still in sixth form or college, try to develop this skill by being accountable to yourself and not relying on others to remind you of the tasks you must complete.
Practicing academic essay writing, reading scholarly text, and being accountable to yourself will prepare you for the sixth form/college to university transition.
Student,BA in Politics and international relations