If you’re going to university for the first time this September, you’ve probably spent the last few weeks leading up to your departure frantically trying to decide what to take to university with you.
Here is our list of things you should do (or already should have done) before you head off.
1. Did you arrange your accommodation?
First-year students typically opt to stay in halls as they are protected by the university and it’s an easy way to meet new people – although privately-rented housing and off-campus university accommodation exist as alternatives which are more popular with mature or postgraduate students.
Universities offer different types of accommodation to suit a variety of needs. These include a mixture of catered/self-catered, sociable/quiet and single/mixed gender halls.
Many institutions allocate their halls on a first come, first served basis. Get in touch with your university’s accommodation office to book onto an accommodation open day and explore your options.
2. Did you sort out your finances?
Your finances should be in order before you head off. Yes we know, this is probably the least exciting task in preparing for university, but it’s the most important.
Set up a student bank account. Many of the major banks offer attractive incentives such as free NUS Extra or 16-25 railcards, but what you’re ideally looking for is who offers the best overdraft facilities. Some banks will make daily charges if you enter your overdraft, so be wary of these and always read the small print.
If you want to receive government-funded student finance, you next need to get in touch with Student Finance to get the ball rolling. It’s a lengthy process, so make this a priority!
Once you all these things in place you can budget your day-to-day life accordingly.
3. Become your own chef
Yes, knowing how to prep a healthy meal will save your day. Student cookbooks focus on using simple ingredients and cooking on a budget.
Shopping cheaply is easier than you think. Co-Op offers a 10% discount to holders of a valid NUS card.
4. Get a railcard
A 16-25 railcard could save you some serious cash if you’re planning on visiting home or friends at other universities throughout the term. The card costs just £70 for three years. Yes, no joke!
5. Start reading
Many unis put their reading lists online weeks before the term begins. This will give you an idea of what to expect from your workload, and getting a head start on reading will build your confidence for lectures.
Identify the core texts and buy these. Any others you need will be available to borrow from your university library or to buy from former students for a fraction of their original retail price.
6. Health check
Arrange a health check with your GP before you leave home to ensure you’re starting university in the best health possible.
Most first-year students get ill as a result of a lack of sleep, exercise, poor diet and being around hundreds of new people – make sure you take care of yourself.
7. Freshers’ week
The welcome week is full of events designed to help you settle into university life, so find out how to make the most of freshers’ week. Your students’ union will host fairs to join societies and sports teams, and your course department might hold an icebreaker session in this time to introduce you to your peers and lecturers.
You’ll make friends for life in the coming years, so enjoy it and get involved in as much as you can.
Wanna make friends outside of the university halls? Download friendrequest here.