Welcome to Head into Brookes, an online course that is designed to help you get ready for studying at Oxford Brookes University, and give you the tools to make the most of the opportunities that will be available to you. Throughout this course you will be guided by current students who will share the experiences they have had. Click on the video below to meet our students, and find out how they felt about their first few months at university.

What is clear from the video is that everyone starting university experiences a wide range of emotions. It is an exciting time but also a nervous time and it can take a while to settle into the rhythms of university life. This is fine and perfectly normal. Starting university is a big change and it will take a while for you to discover what the role of being a student at Brookes involves.

How do you ‘be’ a student?

That might sound like a strange question to ask. Surely you just turn up and see what happens! It is true that to get the most out of university you will want to be open to new experiences, but it is also the case that understanding a little bit about how university education works can take a lot of the stress out of your first few months at university. Already you will have imagined what university might be like and what might be expected of you, but you can check your understanding and get some new insights with the following myth-busting quiz.

Pro tip: Choose True or False and click Show Advice. Then, use the blue arrows below each question (bottom right) to show the next one. Don’t worry about your score for this activity; it’s just to check and develop your understanding.

Hopefully, this quiz has given you some insights into how university works, but remember there are many opportunities to develop your understanding over the next few months. You will have a range of induction activities planned and it is also worth attending some of the workshops that will run from the beginning of September throughout the semester. You can read about these workshops here.

Who is your teacher?

Picture of lecturers, students, student support co-ordinator, internet, Centre for Academic Development, Careers, Wellbeing and You!

In your previous educational experiences, it may be that teaching is something that one person did at the front of the classroom, and to succeed, all you needed to do was follow their instructions. At university, there is much more emphasis on independent learning, and it is important to recognise that your lecturer is not your only teacher.

As the above pictures illustrate, you can learn from many different people and sources. Sometimes your teacher is the person who wrote the article you are reading, sometimes it is another student on your course, a student support co-ordinator, or even the person you are chatting to in a queue for coffee. Always though, one of your key teachers is yourself. To really grow on your student journey, you will need to make time to reflect on the theories and ideas you discover and the experiences you have. Watch this video in which our students share experiences of how reflecting on their experiences has helped them develop.


In the next section of this course, you will have a chance to put your reflective skills into action by considering the range of skills and qualities that you are bringing to university but also exploring those you want to start developing in your first few months.

If you want to learn from yourself through reflection you need:

  • The ability to ask yourself questions to make sense of the experiences you have
  • The ability to be honest about yourself
  • An openness to receiving feedback from others, both positive and negative
  • A willingness to try to see yourself as others see you

Being self-reflective is the way to make the best use of this course and, indeed your whole university experience. The more reflective you are about the experiences you have, the more effective you are likely to be.

Course content


This section introduces the importance of reflection in helping you reach your potential and explores what it is like to start at university.


In this section, you have a chance to reflect on what you bring to university (which is probably a lot more than you realise!) and how you can build on this during your studies.


Being independent does not mean doing everything yourself. This section explores the importance of using development and support opportunities. 


The final section looks at how you can take charge of your learning. It offers strategies for making your learning active and effective to set you up for success.