Welcome to the university ... and a new way of studying
They have achieved the great achievement of successfully passing the Bachillerato and the University Entrance Exam. But many of those good students who have endless positive grades in their school years, see their grades drop drastically when the college. How to prevent this from happening?
Suddenly, one month of June ends school life and one month of September the university begins. Everything is new for young people. The center of studies is new, possibly much larger, with more impersonal classrooms, open, without that concept of 'playground' in which they have lived their childhood and adolescence. The school route or walking to class is over. Most likely, you have to use public transport to get to the college. And that takes time, effort, punctuality.
New ones are also friends. It is one of the biggest changes that occur when entering the university stage. Usually, friends of the school share not only hobbies, but socioeconomic stratum and area of residence. The college take the young out of that little bubble.
The teachers are new, and completely unknown, as the students are for them. The boys enter class without any reference to who they will meet on the stage, what their classes will be like, their exams, their way of qualifying.
The method of work and study of the university
But what is new is the university's own method of work, different for students and also for parents who, possibly, study in the traditional system of partial exams in February, late in June and recoveries in September. Now, everything has changed and the so-called Plan Bologna, the European Higher Education Area, requires a different form of work for which Baccalaureate students are still poorly prepared.
The background that impregnates Bologna from the pedagogical point of view means less classroom hours, more personal work and a system of continuous evaluation that replaces the old one "to play it all the day of the exam". This transformation requires a change in the attitudes of study so that students can face the challenge of the new system and take advantage of it.
The current idea implies more work on the part of the student. Teachers maintain some of the classes with the traditional format to lay the foundations of the subject, but will deal with part of the content through compulsory readings, personal projects, group work, public exhibitions and other systems that allow students to acquire personally your knowledge. The teacher becomes a guide in their own learning.
And they also participate in a freedom that they do not always know how to manage correctly. The problem for many of them is that they do not adapt to the way of studying that this new stage demands.
Keys to get to college is not a problem
1. The library, a new space
In those hours of work that the students have to learn to manage in their own schedules, it is very convenient that they take advantage of the facilities of their Faculty or School to work, since they will discover the usefulness of the library, open computer rooms, and laboratories and classrooms with free access.
One of the purposes of the current system is to work with students on their research skills, which is why it is essential that they become familiar with the primary sources of knowledge: books. It is true that there is much on the Internet, but it is also true that there is a lot on paper and that they need to learn how to handle it.
2. Internet is also a library
The network has become synonymous with unlimited knowledge, but when children reach university education, it is essential that they know what materials the Internet offers them are useful and reliable and which ones are not. And on the Internet there are too many unreliable materials. Precisely to avoid this problem, various databases of high-level academic or informative articles have emerged. In this way, the student guarantees that the material he / she is reading does not come, for example, from plagiarism, or from uncorrected works of other students, or from non-accredited authors. The filters needed to publish an academic article in a specialized journal are sufficient guarantee of quality.
On digital platforms such as Google Scholar (scholar.google.es) or Dialnet (dialnet.unirioja.es), we have the guarantee that all the material we find is well contrasted. In addition, Google has a service with books or book fragments that can be consulted online.
3. How do I write an essay?
One of the great gaps in the Spanish teaching systems compared to the Anglo-Saxons is that writing and oratory are little enhanced. They are models in which memory prevails, although this trend is changing little by little.But we are still surprised to see in any American film how the college students, from their early years, are accustomed to submit jobs for those who have had to investigate on their own, propose hypotheses, find arguments, raise a structure and draw their own conclusions.
In the university they will demand the students this type of work and they will have to learn to carry out the methodology of all research, besides developing skills for writing and public exposure. There are numerous edited books that can help young people to know these basic techniques of argumentation and rhetoric.
4. Personalized tutorials
Having fewer class hours than our generation did does not mean working less the subjects. On the contrary, the idea, underutilized by many university students, is that their personal work is complemented with the constant support of the teacher.
In most of the centers of higher education teachers have a schedule of tutorials almost as wide as the schedule of classes and are available in that period to resolve any questions or delve into issues that may have been unclear.
Some universities are implementing digital platforms that allow, in addition, to maintain online tutorials, through chats, discussion forums and even videoconferences. But students have to be aware of the need for close contact with the teacher, who will always be available to guide that personal work that completes the academic exhibitions in the classroom.