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Question Some questions about College/Uni - May 8th 2015, 12:40 PM

Hi there
So I'm finishing my first year of High-School right now, I live in France, but the High School I'm attending is an international high school, so my history-geography classes are taught in English, and I get four extra hours of English Literature classes every week.
I really, really want to study in Scotland (specifically Glasgow), my "mother land", and both my parents are scottish-english, so I guess that will make the application process easier and whatnot.
I've been doing some research (I know I've got two more years in High School, but still. I'm just so excited, and this is what motivates me in my school work), and I have found a couple of courses in The University Of Glasgow which interest me, I've checked out the website, etc...
However, I still don't understand how university functions... do you pick a course (let's say Comparative Literature), and then pick a few classes to attend in that category, or are there fixed classes that you have to attend and you don't get a choice?

I would really appreciate it if some of you would share some of your College/University tips and anectdotes with me (even if it isn't factual, I just want to get an idea of the things I might go through), either PM or just comment below, and just explain to me how it works, if you get to kind of make up your own timetable or if it's already given, what to expect... that kind of thing. Oh another thing that has always confused me: What is the difference between College and University?

Thanks a lot, anything will be appreciated!


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Re: Some questions about College/Uni - May 8th 2015, 02:35 PM

I don't know if where you are choosing to attend is similar to here in the States, but this is how it works here.

Typically it depends on your major. There are general classes that you must take like English Composition 1 & 2, History 1 & 2, College Algebra, etc., basically "core" curriculum. However, depending on your major, you are required to take classes designed for that major. They tend to allow you some flexibility, but not much.

For example, if I want to major in a science field, say, Computer Science. I will have to take College Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus I, Calculus II, Calculus III, and Discrete Mathematics. Those classes are mandatory. However, they will allow me some flexibility with my science courses, but I still have to meet a required allotment of credits in those courses.

In other words, if I major in Computer Science, I have to take two separate sequential courses in different science fields. So, say I'm interested in Physics and Chemistry. Well, for a computer science major I am required to have a total of 16 credits in science, but they have to be from 2 separate fields and sequential. So, to meet those requirements I can take Engineering Physics I and Engineering Physics II, along with Chemistry I and Chemistry II. Or say Biology interests me, I could take 2 biology courses, but I'd still need two different science courses from biology, but in the same field.

Now, say you're interested in an English Major, or something of the sort. Typically you'll have to take English Composition I and II before you can take any literature courses. So, in this case, those composition courses are pre-requisites, which may be the case for a class like comparative literature.

To sum up:
1. You have core courses EVERY one has to take.
2. You have pre-requisite courses for your desired major, and sometimes for specific classes.
3. When you meet those pre-requisites you're allotted some flexibility in the courses you take, but it has to meet the Universities diversity requirements for your major (in other words you might be able to take comparative literature as an elective, but it might not meet a requirement for your major so it could potentially be a waste of time).

The best idea is to sit down with a counselor at your prospect school, or shoot them an e-mail. They'll be able to give you a more direct answer.
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Re: Some questions about College/Uni - May 8th 2015, 03:31 PM

Hey there,

I’m not from Scotland, but I have studied in a UK university.

I think it depends whether you are doing a single or joint award degree. I did Educational Studies and English (joint) so my modules (classes) were half Education studies and half English. I didn’t get to choose what I wanted to study- the classes were fixed. If you are doing a single award, e.g. a degree in Literature Studies, you may get to choose your options in terms of classes. There is usually a bit about what you will be studying on the University’s website, and whether you get to pick classes for the degree you want on the page about your chosen undergraduate degree. You could also email them to find out. I’m not sure whether you get to pick your classes in first year, but if you are doing a single award, you will get to pick your classes ready for second year. There will usually be ‘core’ classes that you have to take though. Also, there may be a credit system. I think there are a total of 120 credits per year (at least there was in my university) and you have to make sure that your classes will give you a total of 120 credits. The credits are based on the amount of hours you will be studying and working. Some modules might be 10 credits, others might be 20. So you also have to take that into account if you do get to pick your own classes.

In the UK, generally college offers National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in vocational subjects such as hairdressing, childcare, plumbing, electrics etc., as well as other qualifications equivalent to GCSE or A-Level (exams you sit in the UK at the age of 15-16 and 17-18 respectively). University offers a larger range of subjects, but at a ‘higher’ academic level than college, and subjects are usually geared to a certain profession or career pathway.

What to expect……university is quite different from high school My university was not like school where you are there from 9-3 everyday. You may have more free time in university than school, but that means more time to study. It’s also a lot more ‘individual’, as in if you don’t do the necessary reading or handing in work, the tutors might not chase you up on it like teachers in school, because they believe you’re mature enough to know these things in the first place. It’s also slightly different in that I had lectures and seminars for each module. A lecture takes place with everyone who is studying that module, so there could be 200 students in a hall, listening to the lecturer and making notes too. Seminars are much smaller and are more like classes you have in school as there might only be 20 of you, and this time is used to discuss whatever you are studying.

It’s great to hear that you are so enthusiastic about education and university. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it! It goes too quickly haha

Feel free to PM me anytime

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Re: Some questions about College/Uni - May 9th 2015, 05:42 PM

I studied in Canada, but I think the university system is reasonably similar here.

The way it worked was that I signed up for sociology and religion (the departments technically), it was a dual-degree where I studied 2 subjects, not 1. I had to take X amount of courses there - like I had to take a certain amount of sociology/religion courses in 1st, then 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th year. Sociology has a set amount of core courses that I had to take (so did religion) and they covered theory, research methods, and other fundamentals of those two fields. In each program, I had to take a certain amount of electives (e.g. 6 courses over 2 out of 4 religious categories like Abrahamic, Asian, New Movements, and some other category). I was left with abut 8 courses of non-major related electives, but I wasted most of them by being in archaeology with a political science minor in my first year, but I did get to take a history course or 2 later on.

Some programs are a little different. Like in engneering you have to specialize, usually after 1st year, in chemical, mechanical, civil, or computer - there are probably other specializations, but bear with me. That means your electives are based on your speciality. The engineer i know only got to take 2 non-engineering courses.

Comparative Literature might be a program at your school, but it might also be a specialization in the English department.

If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me.

Feel free to PM me if you ever need to chat or have questions
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