Your start date is closer than you think! Starting university is a hugely exciting but sometimes daunting time. Will you be able to keep up with the work? Will you make friends easily? Have you sorted the paperwork? It can be overwhelming for most, so, to make it easier, we’ve summarised the top 5 most important things you need to get sorted prior to starting university.
If you want to truly experience student life, Halls of Residence are the popular place to live when starting out at uni. They are a mecca for first year students. They’re a great place to make friends and socialise, you’re close to campus (more time for catching zzz’s) and some are even catered. However, because of their popularity, the competition for a space is sometimes tough, depending on the University. This means you need to get your application sorted early. Make sure you include all the correct information on your application form and most importantly, know the deadlines!
If halls of residence aren’t for you, there are other options that still require organisation and planning. Renting a house or flat alone or with fellow students is a good option.
This is an easy one in comparison to other areas on the list, but nonetheless a very handy tip to consider. It may sound hyper-organised to start packing early, but remember, you aren’t packing for a holiday! You’ll need to consider things like cooking utensils, bedroom staples, stationery, books, study materials, clothes and food and drink for your first week (if self-catered). The earlier you start, the easier it will be to finish, and the less likely it will be that you’ll forget something. We suggest keeping a box/suitcase in the corner of your room that you can add things to as you remember. There are also many, many downloadable lists online that you can check against!
It may not be necessary to buy and read every single book on your reading list. But, it’s a great idea to read through some of the core texts to get some background knowledge on the modules you will be covering in your first few weeks. There’s nothing wrong with being prepared! This is especially important if you’ve had a gap year/ a break from education. It can be daunting sitting with students who have jumped directly from college to university as it takes a bit of time to get your brain into classroom mode again.
The least exciting, but nonetheless the most important, thing you need to get sorted before starting uni is your student finance. If this is something you are planning on making use of, you need to get started securing your finance early on as it’s a lengthy process. You will need to apply online and complete the application.
When it comes to budgeting, start taking advantage of the NUS discount card, TOTEM, which offers great discounts on uni essentials, food, travel and more for just £1 a month. It’s a great idea to also get yourself an Under 25 Railcard for travel if you’ll be using trains frequently; you’ll be surprised how much you save.
Finally, there’s no denying it - books can be expensive, so make sure you’re looking in the best places! Check Amazon’s used sections for your textbooks as these will often be far cheaper than a brand new textbook. You can also check out any potential uni groups on Facebook where older students may be selling their course books they no longer need at a far cheaper price (with the bonus of notes if you’re lucky!)
Even if you’re catered, this is still a vital tip to follow! Learning to cook basic food is imperative, not only for your student years, but for your future to follow. You can’t live off microwave meals forever (no, you can’t). So, use your time wisely before Freshers’ Week to get to grips with saucepans, frying pans and timings. Pasta, stirfrys, rice dishes… it’s great to be able to whip up something satisfying and healthy. Vegetables and fruit are going to be a vitamin lifesaver during Freshers’ Week!
Check out our advice and guidance section, covering topics from essay structures to revision tips. Knowing what examiners and lecturers are looking for means you can get a head start on your work and get the grades you want.