Cairo, Bologna and Paris have been offering it the longest. What am I talking about? A university education, of course. So who goes to university and what do they get out of their experience?

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercise.

Cairo, Bologna and Paris have been offering it the longest. What am I talking about? A university education, of course. So who goes to university and what do they get out of their experience? 


Most universities don't let just anyone in. Grades in the subjects you take in the final years of secondary education are what usually count and in many countries people also have to do an entry test. While most participants in higher education are in the 18–25 age group, some people choose to take a break from work later on in life and opt for the role of mature student, bringing experience of work and the real world to their studies.

Which one to go to

In many countries there is a pecking order to the universities, with a few high-status institutions at the top, turning out an intellectual elite and attracting the best minds in teaching and research. Take a quick name-check of the leading writers, politicians or scientists in the UK or the USA and you should find the majority chose to spend their student years sitting in the dining halls and libraries of Oxford and Cambridge or Harvard, Princeton and Yale. The training grounds for medicine, law or engineering in Britain tend to be the metropolitan ‘red brick’ universities slightly lower down the list.


When entrance was restricted to a lucky few in Britain, the state actually paid the sons and daughters of the middle classes not only their tuition fees but also a yearly grant towards living expenses as well. These days most European and North American students are given a loan which they have to pay back to the government once they are in full-time employment, or they finance themselves by working their way through college with part-time jobs in the evenings or at weekends.

Where to live

For the majority of students, attending a university in a town or city near to where they live is the only financially viable option, but in Britain for many years going to university meant leaving home, with all the freedom and independence that implied. Universities traditionally offer cheap and clean accommodation in halls of residence or student houses. After a year or so, many students opt to share private rented accommodation outside the university, which often pushes their culinary and hygiene skills to the limit.

Year out

These days if you haven’t taken time off between finishing school and embarking on higher education, you haven’t really lived. The gap year can be devoted to working for charities in different parts of the world or simply to travelling, but it can at least concentrate the mind and perhaps give you a few more ideas about what you should do with the rest of your life. If you want to study abroad, you can often get a year out as part of a language course or enter a scholarship programme such as Erasmus to support you while studying at a foreign university. Business or management students often devote time away from university in the form of a work placement, to help them gain practical experience in a professional environment.

Teaching and learning

A common feature of any university is attending lectures, which involves taking notes while a lecturer, a university teacher, is speaking to a large group of students. In Britain, you are also expected to present a subject perhaps once a term and comment on it in tutorials. These are small-group discussions led by a lecturer, at which closer analysis of a particular area is undertaken. Science-oriented courses also involve practical lessons and field trips which enable students to get to grips with their chosen course of study in the laboratory or beyond the university walls.

How you are doing

As at school, progress is measured by examinations, either divided into Parts I and II or taken at the end of the course and known as Finals. Alternatively, it can be based on continuous assessment and coursework. An important component of most systems is the extended dissertation, a piece of writing measured by the number of words a student has to produce, say 10,000. This must be based on some original research from primary as well as secondary sources and on some sort of gathering and interpretation of data.

Social life

There is an old saying that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, and prospective students expect a rich and varied social life. Friendships forged in the student union bar or in the many and varied clubs and societies that exist at most universities may last a lifetime. In the USA, fraternities and sororities encourage a similar bond.

Life after university

Well before the graduation ceremony, when students queue up to receive their degrees from the Chancellor of the university at a special ceremony, the careers office has been busy assessing future graduates for the kind of employment paths they should take by giving them an aptitude test and arranging interviews, company presentations and recruitment fairs. For those attracted by the academic life, there are further opportunities for study on Masters and Doctorate (PhD) programmes and on into further research and teaching.

And what does university education all add up to?

This was the opinion of Theodore Roosevelt, a former American president: 'A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad.'

Or is it as an American journalist, Sydney Harris, said? 'The primary purpose of a liberal education is to make one's mind a pleasant place in which to spend one's time.'



Language level

Advanced: C1


Hi everyone;
universities are quite different in my country as compare to others,for joining first you need to pass the entry test which is quite difficult,also at the end of the entry test you have three option to choose in which field you want to proceed your study, if your entry test score is enough to enroll you in one of those field you choose then congratulation you are enrolled to Government university and government will pay for your tuition fees. if not then you can visit private universities they also require entry test which is easy and you will have 98% chance to pass it in whatever field you choose,but their curriculum is much weaker then government universities,although government universities system is much weaker then the entire world. (and the country is Afghanistan).
kindly reply if there is any mistake.

Hi, everyone
I´m Maria Chiara, i´m from Italy. in my own country if you want take a course at the university, first of all you have to pass the entry exam. So you are not allow to do whatever you desire; you can not take the degree that you want to. i think that the government should make students in the position that they are able to choose what in the future they want to be: a doctor, a lawyer, a manager or whatever... i finished my high school, i have decided to spend one year in Denmark to improve my English, have an abroad experience and why not maybe i´ll take a degree in Denmark in English (i´m a optimist person).

How many you lived, all life it is necessary to study.
This quote has to be the motto for each student. In the 21st century everything very quickly develops. If not to study, to keep up to date, you won't be the successful person.

Thanks for article, I really enjoyed it!
I want to tell about admission in the Russian educational intitututes.
In the Russian education system same situation. It is impossible enter to a higher educational institution without entrance examinations. Usually these examinations are passed right after school. Sometimes examinations after school aren't enough, then some universities arrange the examinations. But it is rare. Such examinations take place usually in police universities, military or on art.
Age of the Russian students too from 18 to 25 years.But there are students who don't go to university after school, and go to work. But it isn't enough such people in Russia. Most of students seek to enter the prestigious university that in the future to find good work.

Learn,learn and learn once again. It is the famous words of Vladimir Lenin. In my point of view he wanted to say with this words, that every person should learn something new during all his life, and only when we learn something we are developing

I want to say a few words about the money. Precisely speaking i want to compare your money system with our Russian system. For example most of our universities do the same as yours. The government pays all our study process, and for us university becomes a free. But there are we have such institutes where students also take education for free, but if you loose your place in the university you have to pay all money that government paid for you back. Also students have to pay back the money that were given them as a salary to their work.

I would like to discuss about where to live,when you study at university. I am from Russia and here there are a lot of students coming from towns and cities to enter the university,leaving their home. University usually provides hostel nonresident students. Some people like to live in a hostel because here you can make new friends and have fun your free time. However, there are some disadvantages of living in halls, for example, many do not like the common bathroom and kitchen, which is constantly dirty. In addition, here is generally noisy and impossible to sleep.That's why, many students prefer to rent an apartment. So life away from home teaches students to be independent.

Learning is light and ignorance is darkness. Suvorov A.V.

I understand this statement so that the person needs education, it opens up to him new knowledge, new ways and develop a person, and if he refuses then it falls into the darkness, he remains at his old level of knowledge and begins to degrade.

I think that in Russia a similar system to teach and learning the same as in the UK, because basically our classes are divided into two types of it: a lecture when the teacher tells the subject a large group of students, but they do record that will assist them in preparing for the tutorials and seminars when after a small group training sessions and reveals the theme with all discuss it. After class, we can go to the library to use the computer classrooms or laboratories, that is, to prepare for classes the next day, or to practice their field if necessary. We can also attend courses to help us in the development of their professional skills.

I was delighted so much when learn english on here, but I run into some problem when do task 1 or task 2. I can not lay some vocabularies into textbox. What is the problem and can anyone show me what I have to do?