If you're starting uni straight after finishing high school, it can be a bit tricky to get your head around how differently some things work at Western Sydney University (compared to your school).

The biggest difference between high school and university is that you're treated as an adult. That means you get to take greater control of how you spend your time and what you study. It also means that your education is your responsibility, no one is going to do it for you.

We know there's a lot to get your head around, so we've put together a list of some the basic differences to help get you started.

Topic / termHigh schoolUniversity
Attendance Attendance is compulsory and if you miss roll call, you need a note from your parents (or guardian). During school hours, students are expected to stay on school grounds.

Most of the time, attendance is not taken in lectures, but often is for tutorials. Attendance and active participation in these activities is a strong predictor of student success.

Students are free to come and go from campus at any time.

Class hours Your timetable is fixed and your hours strict. You arrange your timetable yourself in accordance with your chosen subjects.
Types of assignments The assignment types received in high school are limited and designed for straightforward assessment. Types of assessments vary and are designed to encourage critical thinking and independent learning. Most study work takes place outside class.
Class sizes Class sizes are limited and afford you more personal time with your teacher. Classes, particularly lectures, can be quite large, especially in your first year. You may need to organise to speak with your lecturer outside of class.
Scheduling Teachers organise students work and how they should prioritise their study time. Preparing for your class is your responsibility. This includes managing and prioritising your work and getting things done on time. Lecturers and tutors will not prompt you.
GrievancesYou express your problem with your teacher, who will report it to the principal. Try to resolve the issue with your lecturer, Director of Academic Program or Academic Program Advisor. If that doesn't work, you should contact the Complaints Resolution Unit.
Support There are often free school counsellors in schools who specialise in providing support and support documents. Students have access to a range of free and confidential services including counselling, welfare, disability, academic support and legal services. It is the student's responsibility to seek out these services.
Contact with parents Your parents or guardians play an important role in your schooling life. They are in regular contact with your teachers to help guide you in the right direction. University staff, both administrative and teaching, can't talk to your parents (or anyone else) about you or disclose your information, unless you have signed the appropriate consent form.
Teachers vs academics Teachers check your completed homework, remind you of your incomplete work, provide you with information you may have missed and remind you of assignments and due dates. Teachers are trained in teaching methods to assist in imparting knowledge to students. Lecturers are usually open and helpful, but do not check required reading or remind you to complete homework. You are chiefly responsible for being on top of your uni work. Academics are trained as experts in their particular areas of research

TAFE has an extensive range of programs and subject areas that provide practical skills and vocational training for a considerable variety of careers.

VET is education and training that provides skills and knowledge for the workforce, enhances employability and assists learning throughout life. The VET sector is positioned between secondary schools and universities and prepares students for employment or further study. This sector consists of public institutes of TAFE and private colleges specialising in one or more areas of study related to future work.

The CollegeThe College at Western Sydney University provides students with a pathway into The University. They are committed to providing greater equity and access in tertiary education.
Differences between lectures and tutorialsLecture: A lecture is normally held in a large room or lecture theatre with many students and one lecturer. Students are expected to take relevant notes during the lecture. Lectures generally take place before tutorials.

 Tutorials are small groups of about 25 students and are about one or two hours in duration. They provide a forum to discuss and debate the lecture materials and have an emphasis on student-teacher interaction and class participation.