Hello, my name is Oliver and I am in my first year at the University of York, studying Film & TV production. I have always loved everything Film & TV, so the hands-on practical nature of the Film & TV Production course is perfect for me and I am enjoying every moment!
I have lived in York my whole life, so I am very lucky to have such an excellent University so close by. York is a beautiful place to live, with so much to do and see. The city is filled with history and nature, and there are new attractions open all the time. After living here for 19 years, I have still not discovered everything to do in York! The University of York is spread over two campuses surrounded by nature with lakes and wildlife everywhere. These campuses are only a 5-minute cycle or bus ride from each other, and then a short walk from York city centre. I always find the University a very calming environment, alongside the lovely students and staff, it is an excellent place to get the most out of your University experience.
Like myself last year, many sixth form and college students may be worried or unsure about university academic work and the overall experience. Many students coming to University share these concerns, and this is completely normal. I was unsure about elements of university, but I soon settled in and understood the new environment very quickly. So, I hope my experiences below can help you too!
University learning is extremely interesting and high standard, you will have more freedom than at sixth form or college. However university learning can sometimes be difficult too, so it is good to understand what is involved. University learning is split into three main elements: lectures, seminars, and practical activities. The nature of each element depends on what course you are taking, but you can expect anything from 10-25 hours of timetabled activities per week. I will explain all these University teaching methods below…
For my Film & TV Production course, I am regularly on campus five days a week for most of the day. I love such busy, interesting days and my course has a great community. Such interactive in-person teaching is shared across every University of York subject.
Lectures are very important to University learning. During this time, teachers will ‘lecture’ about a subject in your course for around an hour. These teachers are very knowledgeable, and the subject is always very interesting, so the hour flies by for me. Questions and interaction from students are often encouraged, so it is great to contribute during lectures. Seminars are classroom style lessons, where students sit around a large table and discuss a subject in detail for an hour or more. These activities are among my favourites as it’s a chance to present your opinion and hear everyone’s thoughts.
Practical activities give you hands-on experience with equipment and interactive concepts specific to your course. Practicals can range from camera tutorials in my Film & TV Production course, to mixing chemicals to create new medicines in Biology. Most students will attend at least one practical for an hour or more each week. You may be assessed on these practicals, so always attend, and give it your all!
More freedom at University is a great thing, but sometimes you may want extra advice. At the University of York, there are plenty of places to get any kind of help. You will have regular meetings with your own pastoral mentor, academic supervisors, mental health support, financial assistance, and much more!
I was always assessed with timed exams for all my school life. So it was unusual to have essays and large projects spread over many weeks at university. During the summer holiday before university, you could practice some longer essay-style questions related to your course. Or just think about how you may approach such questions. Essay answers can be up to 3000 words, but you will get used to the format. This word count seems intimidating, but there is always so much to write and research.
Do not worry if written work is not your specialty, as essays are not 100% of University grades. Many courses instead assess projects you have created, presentations you deliver, or assess your performance throughout modules.
Last year, I was completely unfamiliar with the university syllabus. After all, what are these university subjects, courses, and modules! A university subject holds a collection of courses, for example University of York Law has three Law courses. Students will only take one course but will be part of a larger subject.
You will take 5-10 modules per year, and you will be able to choose modules which interest you in your second and third year. You will usually be assessed at the end of each module, and this may contribute towards your overall grade. I would recommend that you read about the modules in any course that you are interested in. A course could sound amazing in itself, but you will be learning about these modules day to day, so definitely get a good idea about the modules as soon as possible.
I hope my blog has given you a better idea about the university learning experience, and what your course will consist of. The University of York provides plenty of support services to access during your course, and will keep you very busy with lectures, seminars, practicals and much more! You will have a variety of assessments including essays, exams, large projects, and presentations. There is something for everyone at university!