The transition from sixth form to university can be intimidating. University might be the first time you have experienced independent living: cooking, washing, cleaning or managing your own space. At Pearson College London, we appreciate that this transition can be difficult, hence why we are here to inform you about some of the main differences so that you can be prepared for your time studying at university.
A glowing red “change” neon on a wall
Photo by Ross Findon / Unsplash

"The step up from sixth form to a degree apprenticeship can be quite daunting. It's an important time in your career as you are meeting many new people and experiencing a working environment for perhaps the first time, all whilst studying for your degree.
That being said, this transition does not have to be a stressful experience. My advice to new starters in their first few weeks of a degree apprenticeship would be to make sure you are organised and keep on top of both your employer work and your uni work. In addition to this, the most important advice I can give is to communicate to, and lean on the great support networks around you, be this parents, managers, mentors or your assigned Pearson College personal tutor. This will ensure that the workload you are receiving is manageable and will guarantee a smooth transition from sixth form to a degree apprenticeship." - Holly Garrett, Rotational Degree Apprentice, Pearson College London

Deadlines for Assignments

The first difference to be aware of is deadlines. At sixth form, deadlines are generally due a month after the assignment was set; universities set deadlines that can span across a whole semester, giving you 12 weeks to complete the piece of coursework. Some tips for managing deadlines:

  1. Do not leave the work until the last minute! - this may seem obvious but the chances are that you will be learning things for the assignment across the whole semester. So even if after it’s set you don't know some of the content, it is important to refer back and add in elements as you go, so that you are not rushed at the very last minute.
  2. Make sure you can reference correctly - you must acknowledge the sources of data, research and ideas on which you have drawn by including references to these sources in your work.
  3. Avoid plagiarism - most institutions check for plagiarism through electronic systems, so try not to copy from other sources. There are plenty of online sources you can use to check your own work before submitting.

Independent Study

Another difference between sixth form and university is that you will be expected to take full responsibility for your study, relying less on tutors and lecturers and more on your own capacity to learn independently. Although tutors and lecturers are there to help you by answering questions or explaining certain elements of study further, their main duty is to teach and allow you to understand a subject. In most cases you will have less seminars and lectures to attend than you would have done at sixth form; this does NOT mean you'll have less work. Then, it is your job to not only read further around the subject and form your own opinions, but to develop your time management skills and ensure that the level of work that you generate is of degree-level.


Freedom is the main thing that students look forward to, but for some people it can be really hard. Shaping your own life is essentially what you are required to do when you leave home for university. However, it becomes very easy for a lot of students to totally forget about the fact that they have paid thousands of pounds for degree tuition. Therefore, it is important that you balance work and other things, such as:

  • socialising
  • societies
  • partying


Living away from home, whether it's with a flatmate or in halls, having clean clothes, food on the table, clean household appliances and a nice living space, all require satisfactory domestic skills. At Pearson College London, we do not have our own accommodation, however we recommend a nearby student halls called Tufnell House.

"Tufnell House was a great place to live and I met and mingled with many people who study at Pearson College London. I would definitely advise staying in halls first year, as it’s a great place to meet not only students from Pearson College but also other universities." - Luke, BA Business Management with Global Industries student


Endless Opportunity

At Pearson College London, we deliver education powered by industry experience. Our industry partners and industry days allow us to immerse our students in industry throughout their course. Our industry partners are involved in everything from the overall design of our business, accounting and law degrees, to individual modules and the resources and materials that go with them, so everything you learn will be full of real-world insight, experience and ideas. Our guaranteed internships (subject to academic performance) also allow students to be exposed to industry. To date, our students have completed internships at companies like Pearson Plc, IBM, Saatchi & Saatchi and The Financial Times group.

"I learned an incredible amount during the internship, but perhaps my greatest learning experience came from a completely unprecedented situation which transcended at the time." - Paloma Shakouri, Pearson Business School Alumni

Taking all of these factors into consideration, you should be prepared for the transition between sixth form ansd university. For more information about Pearson College London and our courses, visit our website.