How is uni different to high school?

How is uni different to high school?

Brought to you by Ursula Scale at Avondale University

It’s more about you stepping up.

One of the big differences between school and university is… attitude. University treats you as an adult who will take the initiative to succeed.

At school, parents or guardians pay your fees, receive your reports and discuss your grades and class engagement with your teachers. But not at university. 

Lecturers and other staff members can’t talk to your parents or guardians unless you give consent. As the point of contact, you are responsible for:

  • paying your fees 

  • submitting your assessment tasks by the due date. 

And you receive notifications about your grades.

Teachers at school use a framework to help you stay on top of your study. Lecturers at university expect you to stay on top of your study and may not prompt you about the due date for assessment tasks or check your progress. It’s your responsibility to organise and prioritise your study.

Here are several additional differences.

Teaching practices

Teachers are experts in several areas and use methods to help you learn. They teach from a curriculum so you have a broad understanding of concepts. 

Lecturers are experts in one area and use methods to help you critique what you’ve learnt. They share findings from research so you have detailed understanding of concepts.


At school, you might see your teachers every day and can ask questions during class. At university, you might see your lecturers once a week and may not have the opportunity to ask questions during lectures. You can ask questions during tutorials, where you present assessment and other tasks and engage in discussion. You can always ask questions of your lecturers by sending an email.


Attending classes at school is compulsory. If you miss a class, the school notifies your parents or guardians. 

Attending classes at university isn’t compulsory. Depending on the mode of delivery—in person, online, hybrid—a lecturer may record their presentation and post it to an online learning portal. So, if you miss a class, you can catch up later. 

For your own success, you don’t want to miss any class.

One area that may not be different is support.


The support available to you at school is similar to the support at university. Tutors can help you plan and write your assessment tasks. Equity and disability officers can help you develop and reach your potential. Indigenous officers can provide advice and support. Counsellors can support your wellbeing. And chaplains can provide spiritual guidance.

The Avondale difference

Avondale is one of the newest universities in Australia but has a more than 125-year history of providing quality higher education.

Established in 1897, Avondale’s pioneering heritage is one of creating opportunities for students to improve their lives and the lives of those they love. It has strong values and promotes a holistic lifestyle, so activities that encourage commitment to service learning and faith expression are key to life on campus.

As the university that cares, the focus at Avondale is not on offering every course, but on delivering a few courses really, really well. High-level, inclusive and individual support—including a free wellbeing program—in small classes, with easy access to lecturers, helps you get the most out of their study.

Students rank Avondale as one of Australia’s top-tier universities—number one for overall experience and teaching quality (The Good Universities Guide ratings 2023/24). It particularly ranks well in nursing and teaching.

Ursula Scale is People and Culture Officer at Avondale University. She also studied a Bachelor of Arts (Communication) at Avondale. As a former events and marketing officer, she is passionate about sharing her Avondale experience with others.


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