University Study

What it means to become a student is different for everyone, depending on where you've come from, what you were doing before joining Southern Cross University and where you're at in life. But there are some things that are common to all who start this journey. Read on.

progress-study New

What you should know

You probably have a good idea of what studying at university will be like. Some parts of studying at university will be as you expect, but others may be more surprising. Here's what current students want you to know about starting, studying and succeeding at Southern Cross University.



Hi, my name’s Clinton. I’m a mature aged student here at SCU, I’m just about to go into my second year of sport and exercise science.

The first year was great. Probably like a lot of you I was feeling pretty lost when I first started, new to the area and I didn’t know a single soul here at the uni or elsewhere in the community.

So a big part of it is just get involved with people, everyone’s here to help, the lecturers are, you know, there’s nothing better I don’t think as a teacher than to teach a student that wants to learn so get involved and go and introduce yourself early on.


The thing that I really love about SCU is the sense of community and belonging, so whether you come onto campus or call over the phone or seek some help online, everybody is here to help you. It will be tricky for you in the first few weeks but I just wanted to say that you don’t need to be overwhelmed. There’s definitely a sense of community every time you come to seek help here.



As an adult learning environment , you’re required to take responsibility for your own study. You unit accessors all want you to succeed, but you have to put in the time. Whether you’re a mature aged student, like me, or straight out of school, there’s always someone there to help you. You just need to ask.


If you’re a distance student, which I am now, you still have access to the friendly SCU community. I would say if you need help and you don’t know where to seek it, the first thing to do is call Student Services. They will always point you in the right direction and there’s always help for anything, no question for them is too big or too small or too silly, just give them a call and you’ll know where to go for help from there.


If you fall behind, don’t feel like you can’t go and ask for help. Let the lecturers know that you’re falling behind. It will happen. You might come in with all good intentions to keep on top of your work, and that’s really important, but you will fall behind at some stage. Go and talk to someone, tell someone and keep on turning up to your classes. The first time you miss one, you’re further behind and it doesn’t help as it’s a long road to catch back up.



I can’t tell you how important it is to plan your workload. Is your study plan realistic given your commitments outside of uni? And what about placements? Do you need to travel out of the area for these as well? The Academic Skills development unit have some great resources to help getting you started.


As well as being a mature age student, I’m a single dad, and that comes with a lot of time management issues, so just try and work out your own schedule, don’t worry about what other people are doing. Everyone’s got their own lives to live and their own things that they have to fit in, you need to work around you, what works best. It’s the only way to get through your studies, so take the time for you, make sure you work out what is really high priority in your life and make time for it and fit the study in around it. And the things that you don’t need that much, just put them right down at the bottom of the list and maybe forget about them while you’re on campus, while you’re in session.

There’s a huge amount of summer holidays and there’s a big break in between semesters. You’ll have plenty of time to get out and do all those extra things that you miss out on throughout semester. Work out what’s really important for you, and make sure you make time for it.



You have a very big opportunity to be here. Options in life are created from challenges, and I think being at uni if one of those challenges.

Having been here a year now, I feel better about the options in my future, and having met the people I’ve met, I can’t imagine my life without them now, so definitely engage with the people around you, engage with the material in front of you, and just stay organised. Time management is everything.

Most of all, don’t get discouraged when things get hard. It’s what it’s all about. It’s not meant to be easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it.


The bottom line is that help is always available; don’t be afraid to ask for it, you’ll find it in abundance at SCU.

Realities of being a student

What were you doing before choosing to study at Southern Cross University? What's your background? To make the transition into university life and study as smooth as possible, it's worth being aware of what skills you already bring to the table, consider the potential hurdles that you might face, and put plans in place before you even start your first class or assignment.

Photo of a group of students jumping up in the air

School compared to university

Transitioning to university straight from school you will be familiar with studying and preparing for exams. However your school life was likely to have been more structured with different teaching methods and smaller class sizes than you will experience at university.

Get prepared

Attending Orientation and meeting other students is a great way to start building a social network and familiarising yourself with the campus facilities. Studying at university requires that you are self-directed and take responsibility for your learning. Being aware of the wide range of support that Southern Cross University offers and taking advantage of these services will improve your chances of success.

Photo of students working in the learning centre

Switching from work to study mode

Choosing to gain academic qualifications after being in the workforce suggests you are motivated with well-defined goals and will have a focus to your study. Possibly you have a busy schedule to manage and will need to be organised to balance study and your other life commitments.

Get prepared

Researching in advance for the information on your study units and reading the texts will allow you to be prepared and attain the most from lectures. Southern Cross University has a wide range of academic and study support services that can be accessed online or on campus. Even though you may have limited time, establishing networks and forming connections with other students is an important part of university life.

Photo of a woman wearing graduation dress sitting with her daughter

Parenthood compared to university

You will bring important multi-tasking and time efficiency skills to your study. In addition you may be making compromises in order to study and consequently will have a well-defined focus to your study. Finding study time might be a challenge you need to manage.

Get prepared

It’s important that you are organised and plan your time well as you are likely to already be managing a busy schedule. Depending on your study mode, you could access the unit timetables and register for your chosen classes early to secure your preferred times. Advance reading of texts and course requirements will allow you to make the most of the lectures. Investigate any options that may offer flexibility e.g. online study.

Photo of a graduation procession

Traineeship compared to university

Transitioning from a traineeship to university study you are likely to already have an understanding of study methods and the importance of social networking. University may require more self-directed study and a different mode of learning than you are used to.

Get prepared

Southern Cross University has a wide range of academic and study support services that can be accessed online or on campus. Attending Orientation week is a great platform to enhance your preparation and familiarise yourself with the services available and to connect with other students.

Photo of three smiling students gathered around a laptop

Study differences in Australia

Moving to a new country demonstrates your motivation to follow your career choices and provide a global perspective to your study. This drive will help you succeed at your university study. The move is likely to be a significant change to what you are used to and it would be advisable to give yourself enough time to prepare your essential needs before commencing study.

Get prepared

The expectations of study in Australia may be different to that of your own country and it’s a good idea to take advantage of the extensive support and services that Southern Cross University provides. SCU International has dedicated advisers to assist you with a wide range of support; covering pre-departure information, visas and general settling in. Orientation will provide critical information and a chance to extend your social network.

Photo of a smiling female student

Are you the first in your family to attend university?

Your ambition and initiative to study will prove invaluable to your study. University will be a new experience for you and your family and even if they are supportive they may not understand the level of commitment and study hours that are required.

Get prepared

Campus Tours and Orientation are a great opportunity to show your family where you will be studying and help them feel part of the experience. Communicating with your family about university life is likely to keep them feeling involved and able to be a support to you. Extending your social network with other students and being aware of the wide range of support that Southern Cross University offers will help you to succeed at university.

Did you know?Southern Cross University has resources to help you with living away from home, budgeting and time management.

What technology do I need for study?

All students studying at Southern Cross University need to be prepared to make use of a range of technologies throughout their studies. All courses at Southern Cross University have at least some online delivery content, so click on the image below to discover what you need to be prepared for your studies.


Note: If you're unable to use this tool, ensure that in your browser. Alternatively, switch to viewing this site in another browser, such as Google Chrome. To access a text version of the above information, .

Can't get a laptop or other necessary technology?

All students have access to computers, internet and other resources at each campus library. Even if you're studying online, please come and use our facilities whenever you can.

There are also hardship funds and student loans available for individuals who can't afford to purchase their own equipment.

Recommended IT and computer skills

As you work your way through the University Life and University Study modules, you will realise the importance of having access to suitable technology, having good computer skills and being familiar with online learning environments.

Visit the Technology Services Student Support page at to discover what technology support is available to you.

Uni speak

Get ready for your vocabulary to expand. At university you'll come across all sorts of words that you may not be familiar with and that are specific to the university environment. Click on the words below to familiarise yourself with some of these words and terms so that you're better prepared to start your course.

unispeak "> ">

Note: If you're unable to use this tool, ensure that in your browser. Alternatively, switch to viewing this site in another browser, such as Google Chrome. To access a text version of the above information, .