Adjust to university expectations

Studying at university

Starting or returning to university study is a big step in your journey. There will be a lot to learn and adjust to, particularly if you are transitioning from high school or from the workplace. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more prepared. University expectations reflect the way learning and teaching is structured at university and the beliefs underpinning the way we work. These aspects involve:

  • Academic culture, including the shared beliefs, values and expectations at a university.
  • Expectations, including the way your course is structured and the way students are expected to learn.

What is academic culture?

Academic culture is defined as the attitudes, values, and ways of behaving that are shared by the people who work or study in universities (Brick et al., 2020). It is clear that academic culture is a broad concept, but it can be simplified as a way of thinking about beliefs, core values and expectations that are shared by lecturers, researchers and students in a university. These core beliefs and expectations generally underpin the way we think, the way we study and the way we work during our university experience.

One of the functions of work at a university is for scholars to produce new knowledge through discovery. This happens through the research that academics and students produce. The research may be designed to discover new knowledge, apply existing knowledge to new contexts or to integrate existing knowledge sources. Academics may research and communicate the research through publications. Students may research and communicate it through their assessment tasks.

As a university student, as you learn new knowledge and develop new learning skills, you will have to understand the attitudes and values that are expected as part of academic culture in order to be successful in your study.

What are the expectations at university?

At Monash university, you will have to be familiar with new study patterns. As a general guide, and depending on your course, you will have weekly classes, and a number of assessments during the semester

Your new study patterns may involve:

Key strategies for adjusting to university expectations

At Monash university, you are expected to be motivated and take control of your learning. Here are eight key strategies for you to adjust to university expectations:


Brick, J., Herke, M., Wong, D. (2020). Academic culture: A student’s guide to studying at university. (4th ed). London: Macmillan Education Ltd