Module Assessing Readiness for Study


Are you ready for University Study?

Why study at university? What's holding you back?

It is worth answering these questions. Being motivated to study at university is half the battle.

To make the most of university, it is vital that the decision to study is YOURS. Successful students usually have a strong interest in their subject which motivates them to study hard and keep going when the going gets tough.

This module will introduce you to some of the opportunities that university offers, explain ways to manage obstacles you may encounter, and assist you to develop networks and use the support services available to you as a university student.

Topic 1 Clarifying reasons for study

Most people commence university study to increase their personal and professional opportunities. If you have good reasons for going to university then you are well on your way to enjoying the experience and achieving your goal. Complete the following activity to help you clarify your reasons for studying at university.

Activity One: Reasons for study

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If you are unsure about what YOU want, consider enrolling in the Finding my Direction module.


Topic 2 Exploring my obstacles

There are usually a lot of unknowns when we think about starting something new. This is perfectly normal; however, many people allow their concerns or fears to get in the way of deciding to study. Many obstacles to starting univeristy are based on wrong information or half-truths, and some of these are easily overcome by accessing accurate information and support. 

Activity Two: Obstacles

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Top 5 reasons why people think that they can’t go to university

Click to view the 5 reasons

Equity Scholarships

Scholarships and bursaries for low-income students

Peer Assisted Study Scheme (PASS)

PASS is a program that supports you in your study of courses. PASS consists of one-hour non-compulsory weekly sessions where students work collaboratively. Each session is facilitated by PASS Leaders.

Students with a Disability

Disability Support Service offers practical assistance and advice to students with a permanent or temporary disability or medical condition. If students are experiencing difficulties with their studies due to the effects of their disability they can register with the Disability Support Service.

Learning Development

Learning Development works with students and academic staff to help all students learn and write effectively at all stages of their degree program. We do this by teaching Academic Skills, English Language proficiency, and Maths skills relevant to most disciplines across the university.


Indigenous Student Support and Development is a major focus in the University's strategic plan. The focus to increase and enhance student attraction, participation, retention and success is a vital component of Indigenous education at the University and nationally.

Learn more about the Wollotuka Institute

Student Mentors

The aim of the program is to provide student support to new students of the University of Newcastle.

Learn more about Mentoring.

Connect to Success

Connect 2 Success is an initiative of student services to assist students achieve their academic potential. This program is free and voluntary.

Student Support Services

The University of Newcastle offers student support by providing services such as career counselling, disability support, personal counselling, on campus accommodation support, student loans, chaplaincy and a health service staffed by General Practitioners and Nurses.

If you are a first year student, visit the My Journey site containing a helpful guide on how to succeed at University.

Degrees to Careers

If you are not sure how to make a good course/career choice you can explore some links between study and career opportunities through Degrees to Careers or myfuture.

International Students

The University of Newcastle offers various supports to students from non-English speaking or cultural backgrounds to assist them to adapt and succeed at university.

Read some international student testimonials.

Activity Three: Myths and realities

This activity asks you to reflect on your Top 3 fears that prevented you from considering university study, and then to write down what you now know since working through this module.

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Career Counsellor Comments

Australian Bureau of Statistics information indicates that people aged 15-64 with a higher education qualification are HALF as likely to be unemployed as people who don't have a higher education qualification.

Employers value graduate skills and experiences.- technical skills gained as well as transferable skills such as written and verbal communication, problem-solving, analytical skills, teamwork, organisational skills.

Transferable skills are gained through a range of experiences

  • Working part-time while at University
  • Volunteering in Australia or overseas
  • Awards or scholarship
  • Extra curricular experiences such as sport or drama.

You need to understand the value you have gained from your experiences and to present these to employers so they can also see their value.

Topic 3 What is University Really Like

Everyone considering further study worries about the practicalities of their decision. Life as a university student is a creative combination of lectures, tutorials, group work, study, work, and even work experience. Depending on your study commitments you may also like to get involved in university sport or cultural activities.

Students Share their Experience

Meeting People & Finding Your Way Around

Universities can seem like big scary places when you compare them with a school. Some campuses are huge, with lots of buildings and thousands of students everywhere. Other campuses are much smaller and easier to find your way around. It's easy to feel a bit lost and alone when you think about your first day at universty - but remember that every other new student is in exactly the same situation!

Try out our brand-new interactive Callaghan and Central Coast campus maps, which include photos of many of the major buildings plus a selection of useful information such as the location of bus stops, emergency phone locations and more.

A Typical Study Week

Study Commitments

Studying at university will probably feel very liberating when you compare it with the structure of your school environment, especially as you usually won't have to be on campus all day every day. Your university timetable might only require that you're on campus for a few days a week, and not even all day on those days.

In most degrees your contact hours are made up of:

  • Lectures - a large class where the lecturer presents information to a large number of students
  • Tutorials – a smaller interactive class of up to 40 students
  • Pracs (depending on the course).

Degrees vary, although you can usually expect to have one lecture (usually 1-2 hours) and one tutorial (usually 1-2 hours) for each subject that you study per week. So if you're studying 4 units (a normal full-time semester load) you may only need to be on campus for 10-12 hours per week, depending on the length of your lectures and tutorials. How easy is that?

Keep in mind that even though you might not have to be on campus, you will still be expected to be working on each subject for 10 or so hours per week, including your class time which may equal a 40 hour study week.

When you add part-time work, family responsibilities, social and leisure time and so on - your week will probably be fairly full. Good time management is an essential skill when studying at university- so if you haven't developed this skill yet, you'll definitely get the chance to do it at university.

Getting Comfortable with Technology

University students will need to become familiar with computer technology in a variety of software systems. Some examples include: enrolment, using student email, accessing library resources and submitting assignments.

Many students, particularly those who are not recent school leavers, worry about their ability to deal with the information technology used by tertiary institutions. The University of Newcastle offers computer literacy programs to commencing students through Foundation Studies.

Help for new students is also available on the University of Newcastle's New Students website.

Creative Commons Licence

Prepare for Uni is adapted from the Career Development Program of the Queensland University of Technology. Licensed under Creative Commons License.