So you are heading off to university, congratulations! The new-found freedom and independence will be a brand new experience, which means there will be a lot to think about before you go. We have gathered some of our best tips and advice for anyone heading off to university this September!
Arrange your accommodation
If you have accepted your offer, your university will probably be telling you to start thinking about your accommodation. Some universities allocate this on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it’s worth checking to see how your university works.
Most universities have a choice of either their own halls of residence, or off campus private accommodation. It’s worth looking at all your options and seeing what works best for you.
Sort out your finances
It’s no secret that being a student can stretch your finances, that’s why most students opt to open a student bank account – which is essentially the same as a regular bank account but made with students in mind. They let you pay money in and out and offer additional benefits such as interest-free overdrafts and sometimes even cashback for switching to them. Websites like Money Saving Expert are regularly updated with the best student deals.
Make a budget
Even with an interest-free overdraft, making a budget is the easiest way to look after your money. Start by working out all your outgoings, roughly work out what you plan to spend on food, socialising and transport and use this to figure out how much money you will have leftover per month. Websites like ‘Save the Student’ can help, with budgeting guides and spreadsheets available for you to download. You might find your outgoings are higher than you were expecting, but don’t panic as there are plenty of opportunities to find part-time work whilst you are studying.
Look for part-time work
Looking for a part-time job whilst you are studying is a great way to earn some extra money. It will give you a great chance to engage with new activities outside of your studies, meet new people, improve employability, and give you something different to focus on outside of your studies.
Flexible employment through Unitemps gives you the chance to work when it best suits you, as well as the chance to explore different career options and try them out before you go for permanent employment after your studies. You can experience many different roles and work environments that could help you narrow down your career choices or confirm that you are on the right path!
Decide what to take with you
What you decide to take to university will depend on where you’re living, whether your accommodation is furnished or not (most are, but it’s worth checking!) and how much space you have. Most halls of residence bedrooms are relatively small and tight on cupboard space, so bringing all your belongings isn’t necessary. Don’t forget you will be moving out again the following summer, and everything that you bring and don’t use will need to be re-packed and moved again.
Sign up for all the discounts
Arguably the best about being a student is the number of deals and discounts on offer to you. Be sure to sign up for all the student discounts as soon as you can to maximise on savings. A few of our favourites are: the 16-25 railcard, saving up to a third on train fares for students and young people, Unidays, TOTUM and Student Beans which all offer discounts on everything from clothes to homeware and essentials.
Spend money wisely before you leave
Whilst it can be tempting to buy everything you feel like you might need, remember not to blow your budget before you arrive. Prioritise things that you know you will need, then try to think creatively about everything else – are there any books on the reading list that can be borrowed from the library or bought second hand from old students? Try to avoid buying kitchen and household items, as these can be purchased as a group by your flat once you have moved in.
Start your reading list
Once you have enrolled onto your course, you will see your reading list online. Most universities display the reading list for the whole year, and summer is a great time to get a head start on your reading. Most books are available online or can be borrowed from the university library. Lots of ex-students sell their books at the end of the year, so it’s always worth checking the pre-loved websites to see if you can find a bargain.
Go for a health check
Freshers’ week is renowned for brewing up colds and bugs. Going for a health check before you leave for university can prove very helpful and will help for a smooth transition into university life. You will have chance to discuss any worries or problems before you go, and if you are on regular medication, it’s a good time to ensure you have enough for the term ahead.
Register with a new doctor
If, like most students, you plan on spending more weeks of the year at your university address rather than your home address, it’s worth registering with a local doctor near your university as soon as possible. If you feel unwell while you are away, it’s the quickest and easiest way to get help.
Learn a few recipes
With the newfound freedom of university life, you might find you need to brush up on your culinary skills. Cooking at home is great for socialising with your flatmates, it’s usually healthier than eating out and will certainly save you money. Learning to cook doesn’t have to be difficult – there are endless tutorials and recipes available online and on YouTube. Remember that practice makes perfect!
Spend quality time with family and friends
Before you embark on your university journey, take some time to connect with family and friends. Whilst this will be different depending on your circumstances, you will miss your regular contacts from home. Take time to make great memories over the summer!
Get to know your new area
If you are moving to a new town or city for university, it’s a good idea to spend some time getting to know the local area. Whether that’s by visiting for the day and walking around, reading area guides online, or browsing Google Street View, getting an idea of the local area will help you feel more at ease when you arrive. If you have an idea of places you want to visit or restaurants and bars you want to go to, it’s a good talking point with your new flatmates and can easily be a good bonding activity.
Get to know your flatmates
Your flatmates will quickly become your university family and you don’t need to wait until you arrive to start making friends! Check social media for your halls of residence pages, they often have groups and forums for upcoming students, and they are a great way to chat with other students. Some universities will disclose further details, such as your block and flat number. If you know this, it’s even easier to find your future flatmates and start talking to them.
Get to know your course mates
Like your flatmates, the people you meet on your university course will become friends for life. You will be spending a lot of time with them once you start university, so why not get to know them before you arrive? Most courses make private Facebook groups that you can join to meet people on the course, ask questions or find out more information. Seeing someone you recognise on your first day will make the whole experience a lot less daunting.
Last updated on 3 July 2023Share this article