Student expectations: what is university really about?


  • Julie Money LJMU
  • Fran Tracy
  • Claire Hennessy
  • Sarah Nixon
  • Emma Ball



transition, student expectations, student support, student relationships, directed time, non-directed time


Students spend 12 to 14 years in school learning in a carefully controlled and structured system.  It appears that many students enter university with unrealistic conceptions of what is expected of them in many aspects of teaching and learning, including assessment. Hence, when they reach university they are faced with the challenge of adjusting to radically different styles of teaching, learning and assessment. It follows that this lack of preparedness is key reason why students drop out or take longer to complete their studies.  To compound the issue, university teachers may not fully appreciate students' expectations and are unable to anticipate and address these in curriculum development and delivery.  Therefore, developing a better understanding of students’ perceptions, expectations and experiences is crucial to being able to deliver programmes of study that support students in the transition from school to university and as they move through their university life.  This paper explores the perceptions of Level 5 and Level 6 students on two LJMU programmes in the Faculty of Education, Health and Community with the overarching aim to investigate key aspects of the student experience relating to induction, support and transition.  By exploring students’ ideas around key areas we hope to be able to better understand what the student expectation is and identify strategies to bridge any gap that exists between staff and student beliefs.