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Questions on the topic


6.1. When did you enter the University? Who was the first to congratulate you on this event? Was it difficult to realize your dream – to become a student of the faculty chosen? If so, why?

6.2. What entrance exams to the University did you take? Were they oral or written exams? Which examination turned out to be the most difficult exam of all for you? Why?

6.3. What is your purpose in learning English? Have you a good knowledge of English? Which aspect do you find the most difficult one? What should you do to acquire a good knowledge of English?


Asking questions on the topic


7.1. Imagine that a Russian student is asking a student of Oxford University about the system of higher education in Great Britain. What questions would the student ask?

7.2. Imagine that you’re discussing some course of lectures with a friend of yours. You highly appreciate them; your friend criticizes the lectures. What would you both say?

7.3. You’re talking to a student of a university about the university, his department, his studies, his future profession. What questions would you ask him?

7.4. Imagine that you're discussing the problem of choosing a career or your future profession with a student from somecountry. You also want to know whether there is equality of men and women in choosing a profession in his country. What questi­ons would you ask him?


Talking points


1. Our examination session is not a holiday time.

2. Learning a foreign language takes a lot of efforts.

3. Choosing a career for life is not a simple problem.

4. Some people say we can be too old to learn certain things. Do you agree with it?

5. What do you think is more difficult – learning or teaching?


Higher education in the U.S.


Higher education refers to education at a university or college. A college may be an independent institution or a part of a university; e.g., some universities have a college of engineering, college of liberal arts, etc. Some students attend a community college / junior college [a two-year government-supported college that usually offers technical and vocational studies]. Schoolusually means K-12 [kindergarten through high school], but it can also mean university or college, e.g., "Where did you go to school?" "Harvard." We also say graduate school. College frequently means either university or college, e.g., "My son is in college."


If you go to a state college or a community college, the tuition[the money you pay for courses] is lower than at a private institution. Some students get [receive] a scholarship [money to pay all or part of the tuition]. Students at a university are called undergraduates while they are studying for their first degree [the qualification when you complete university/college requirements successfully]. It can be a B.A. [Bachelor of Arts] or a B.S. [Bachelor of Science] at four-year institutions, or an associate degree after two years at a community/junior college.



You usually take/study these subjectsat a university or college but not usually in high school or in the lower grades. (Note: The underlined letters show the syllable with the main stress.)

agriculture business history of art / arthistory political science

anthropology education hotel administration psychology

architecture engineering philosophy sociology

The main subject that a student takes at college is his/her major. We can also say:

"Chris is majoring in psychology."


Postgraduate courses

When you complete your first degree, you are a graduate. Some students then go on to do/take a second degree (postgraduate degree). They are then postgraduates / graduate students. Some of the possible postgraduate degrees include M.A. (Master of Arts) or M.S. (Master of Science), and Ph.D.(Doctor of Philosophy), the most advanced degree. When people study one subject in great detail (often to find new information), we say they are conducting/doing research; e.g., "I'm doing research into/on the languages of African tribes." [not "I'm doing a research."]


School vs. university/college

At school (K-12), you have teachers and lessons; at university or college, you have professors and instructors, and lectures, discussion classes, and seminars. When a professor gives a lecture, the students listen and take notes [write down the important information] but do not usually say much. In a discussion class, students discuss the subject and ask questions. A seminar is an advanced or postgraduate class in which students do independent research and then compare their results informally with the professor and other students.




1. Read these sentences said by college students. What subject is each person studying?

1. "I'm concentrating on the modernist style and the work of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright." …architecture…

2. "The way we use fertilizers is much more precise than it was twenty years ago."

3. "Travel and tourism are an important part of this industry."

4. "We're going to concentrate on Freud and Jung this term."

5. "I've been reading some books on time management."

6. "Expressionism was really a reaction to the work of the Impressionists."

7. "We've spent a lot of time on foreign policy and how it is affected by domestic issues."

8. "We're looking at ways that solar energy can be utilized."

Now mark the stress in each of your answers above and practice saying the words. Check the index or a dictionary for help with pronunciation.


2. What do you call...

1. the money students pay for their courses? …tuition…

2. the qualification you get at the end of four years at a university?

3. the name we give students during this period at college?

4. teachers at a university/college?

5. an advanced class where students discuss their research with a professor?

6. students studying for a second degree?

7. the study of one subject in great depth and detail, often to get new information?

8. the talks that students go to while they are at university or college?


3. Replace the underlined words with different words that have the same meaning in the context.

1. Is he a postgraduate? …graduate student

2. Did she receive a college scholarship?

3. He's planning to go to junior college.

4. Where did you go to college?

5. She's studying physics, I think.

6. I think they're doing research into the cause of asthma.


4. How similar is higher education in Russia country?

1. Do some students get a scholarship to study at university or college?

2. Is the tuition free in some colleges?

3. At what age do most students go to university or college?

4. 4. How long do most undergraduate courses last?

5. What is your equivalent of the B.A. or B.S.?

6. Do you have similar postgraduate degrees in your country? Explain.


Supplementary Reading


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