Student life

Being a student at university is a unique experience and there is no such thing as a typical day or week.

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“You will constantly be reminded by your parents that you came here to study. But you also have to give yourself time to enjoy the experience.”

Studying might be the focus of term time but the university experience encompasses many (many) different aspects of life!


Studying is the most important and exciting part of university life. You will have the opportunity to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of your chosen subject. You will often be working independently and deciding what, when and how you study, so you need to be motivated and enthusiastic about your chosen subject.


You have a lot of freedom and independence at university. Achieving the correct balance between studying and socialising is vital.


Whether you choose to live at home and commute, or move away to university and live in university halls or rent a house or flat, where you live and who you live with will have a big impact on your university experience. Things to consider are: How many people do you want to share with? Male and female house-mates or single gender? Could you share a bathroom or do you want en suite? Can you learn to cook or do you want to be in catered accommodation? You can usually visit accommodation on an open day, or there are online tours. 


Universities have a wide range of sports clubs that have different levels of competition to accommodate everyone from a complete novice, who wants a spot of social sport, to someone representing their country at the Olympics. There are also lots and lots of societies that are set-up by students, for students. If a society doesn’t exist for your interest, then you could set it up! Some societies are free to join, some will have an annual subscription. Students’ Union websites are often the best place to find out which sports clubs and societies are available at your chosen university.


Students climbing a bouldering wall whilst others look on

Goldsmiths has many clubs and societies, the bouldering club is a popular choice

University jargon explained

  • Contact time: the number of hours’ tuition you will receive in a given week. In addition to your contact time you will be expected to do a lot of independent study.
  • Dissertation: a substantial piece of research-based work, normally undertaken in the final year of an undergraduate degree. Word length can vary but it can be between 8,000 to 12,000 words. Depending on your subject, the dissertation is either an extended essay (with multiple chapters) or it can be a more practical-based project.
  • Lecture: usually delivered to a large group of students in a tiered lecture theatre or large classroom. Students take notes whilst the academic delivers the lecture. There may or may not be interactive elements, such as a question and answer session.
  • Seminar: smaller group discussion between students and an academic, chaired by the academic. The size of a seminar group can vary from 8-10 students to 20-25 students.
  • Tutorial: a very small group discussion or a one-to-one discussion with an academic.
  • Students’ Union: an organisation affiliated to a university that represents students, campaigns on issues, provides advice, services, and organises a cornucopia of social events.


Find out about student life at Goldsmiths