From College to University


I am currently in my 4th and final year of BEng Mechanical Engineering at RGU, however I have not spent my four years entirely at RGU. Like many others in my course, I took advantage of the degree link between college and university.


How does the Degree Link work?
Degree Link is a collaboration between RGU and a number of affiliate colleges, including NESCOL. It offers the opportunity to students who haven’t met the entry requirements for a degree course, or are potentially returning to education, to study at college before applying for universities. Generally known as a 2+2, you typically spend two years at college working towards your Higher National Diploma (HND). At this point you will have the option to join several Scottish universities at 3rd year where you can complete the final two years of a bachelor’s degree. This is exactly what I chose to do before joining RGU in 3rd year. Communication from the universities start whilst you are still in college to help prepare students for the transitions from college to university. Degree Link is particularly useful for students who have not received the required grades from school to get into university or for those who were initially unsure about pursuing a 4-year degree.

from college to University, RGU student blog


Why RGU?
As I was still living at home with my parents in Aberdeen, it made sense to save money and stay in Aberdeen, continuing my studies at one of the two universities in the city.

I had the opportunity to attend two Open Days at RGU, the first day specific to NESCOL students studying Engineering and the second, a more general look around the university.

The first open day allowed us to look around the Sir Ian Wood building, which is home to the School of Engineering. We also got to chat to degree link students who had made the jump from college to university. This was very useful as I was able to find out information on timetables, what they found challenging and how they found the university experience. As I had concerns about the transition from college to university, this helped to ease those nerves.


The second open day was what confirmed to me that RGU would be my top choice. We got to sit 1-to-1 with lecturers who were part of the School of Engineering. This gave me a further opportunity to discuss the university and the Mechanical Engineering course. The reason I chose RGU was that it really came across to me that they wanted students from college to attend the university and were very welcoming.

from college to University, RGU student blog


Challenges
The transition from college to university is challenging but if you are willing to put in the effort then it really isn’t as difficult as you may be thinking.

I found that the biggest change from college to university was the teaching style. At college, I was in a class of 13. At university, the first lecture had upwards of 100 students. This meant that there was less opportunity to speak to lecturers during classes compared to college. However, most lecturers will make getting in contact with them straightforward; through email, CampusMoodle (RGU’s online teaching area), and being able to chat one to one or in a small group if they have free time to do so.

I also found that report writing was a step up. At university, referencing is of utmost importance when writing a report and so it was necessary to ensure that you had a solid grasp of how to reference your work. The library at RGU have regular classes throughout the week where you can learn how to reference correctly which I found to be helpful. The Study Skills team at the university can also teach you more about academic writing and how you should be setting out a report.


Did I make the right choice?
Yes. It has been a brilliant experience!

I’m taking part in interesting modules, studying in an environment which allows me to reach my full potential and getting the chance to take part in a variety of activities. RGU Union’s societies and clubs have allowed me to grow, get prepared for a career in engineering, and also meet some great people along the way.

Paul Gowans