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Being a Student Progressing through College


Progressing through College: Being an Undergraduate Image of books - graphic image

Transitioning from secondary school to third level education and experienced your first year as an undergraduate student presents a challenging experience for many students. In particular, moving from a strictly ordered regime of classes and homework to a setting where class attendance is mostly optional and coursework assigned weeks before the deadline is quite shocking for new students. It is therefore very important for new students to establish a strong work ethic and sense of discipline, as far too often students decide to skip classes and enjoy themselves before getting a rude awakening during their first set of exams or missed assignment deadline.

That is not to say that students should forego socialisation and co-curricular activities entirely. Indeed, a large part of the ‘college experience’ involves engagement with other students and societies. By participating in clubs, student unions, volunteer groups and college magazines, students can experience new friendships and adventures, as well as developing many skills that will directly benefit them when they begin to seek employment.
It is therefore very important for students to be proactive both in engaging with academic work and college life and in establishing strategies to help balance the two, as well as adapting to the different requirements of college education.

Supporting Students with Asperger's Syndrome and other Autistic Spectrum Conditions in the 3rd Level College Environment

Please see the following links for a student guide on helping you manage your role as a student with Asperger's Syndrome or Autistic Spectrum Disorder at university. Click on the below link to open the booklet:

Front booklet AS booklet

Check out these videos of students with AS talking life in Trinity College Dublin:

Progressing through College: Being a Postgraduate


Graphic image no content

As a Postgraduate student at TCD, you may be registered to do either a Masters Degree or a PhD. Being a Postgraduate student is very different to being an undergraduate, as you are required to be much more self-disciplined, self-motivated and self-directed. If you are doing a Masters, you will still have lectures and seminars, but only a few each week.

Therefore, you will be required to be responsible for your own learning and coursework, spending more time reading and researching in the library than you would have during your undergraduate course.

By contrast, a PhD course is very different to a Masters, requiring much more self-motivation and direction. While a Masters would involve studying a topic or subject generally, a PhD would involve you studying a subject in a very specific, focused and detailed way, with the hope that you eventually achieve and submit an original piece of research. Therefore, your daily routine will different, as you will probably have few, if any, lectures or seminars. Rather than going to classes as you would in an undergraduate or Masters, you will either be working in a lab or in the Postgraduate reading room with other PhD students of different faculties. It is therefore very important for PhD students to ensure that they are motivated and capable of doing the necessary research.
Advancing from an undergraduate to a post-graduate level of study can be quite a change, and some of the challenges experienced by Postgraduate students include:

  • Difficulties with the self-directed nature of doing a postgraduate course
  • Difficulties with managing and balancing academic and non-academic activities
  • Difficulties with managing the relationship between supervisor and student
  • Supporting yourself financially and acquiring funding.

Supporting Students with Asperger's Syndrome and other Autistic Spectrum Conditions in the 4th Level College Environment


Please see the following links for a student guide on helping you manage your role as a postgraduate student with Asperger's Syndrome or Autistic Spectrum Disorder at university. Click on the below link to open the booklet: Link to the 4th level:

Front booklet AS booklet

Video - Finn's experience of life within TCD as a AS postgraduate student


Last updated 20 August 2015 andrew.costello@tcd.ie (Email).