Student Life, Students

Ten things you should do to prepare for starting university

Here are ten things that you should really think about if you are starting university this autumn (and yes, one of them is learning how to cook).

1. Sorting out your accommodation

Whether you’re planning on staying in halls or in private accommodation, you really do need to sort out your accommodation as early as possible. A lot of universities will guarantee you a place if you put them as your firm choice, but make sure you look at your university’s websites for their information. Better to get it sorted sooner rather than later.

2. Buy/source everything you need to get

There are a lot of things you’ll need to buy when living out for the first time. I will be writing a post on everything you ACTUALLY need, because I took wayyyyyy too much stuff the first time I went to university, so keep an eye out for that! You hopefully won’t need to buy everything new, some things you might have at home already, and somethings you can buy cheaper on second-hand sites. If your birthday is before your move-in date, maybe start asking for some things you know you’ll need.

I’ve also put together a list of everything you need to take to university for you!

3. Sort out your finances/set up a student bank account

You literally can’t live without money, and most students will struggle with money at one point during their degree. 74% of students have maintenance loans and 74% of students have a part-time job (source: finder.com). Maintenance loans, for me, are a no brainer, and you can apply through Student Finance England. It is means-tested, based on your household income, but they have a calculator on their website so you can see how much you would get. Even if you don’t get a maintenance loan, most people will need to get a tuition loan, again this is through Student Finance England. It’s important to do this as soon as possible to ensure that you get your first instalment in time for starting university.

A good place to start is my post on everything you need to know about money as a student

4. Register at a GP in the area and get your meningitis vaccination

It is really important to register at a GP near to your university. I didn’t do this at first and then the first time I got sick and needed to go to the GP, I had to register and wait for an appointment, whilst I was sick. So just do it!!

You should also get your Meningitis (MenACWY) vaccination if you haven’t already. You are eligible to get your vaccination up until your 25th birthday for free from your GP. This is really important for students going to university because you’re coming into close contact with soooo many people, some of whom may carry meningococcal bacteria. So I would definitely recommend speaking to your GP about whether you need to get this!

5. Check if you have any pre-reading

For some university courses, you might be given a pre-reading list, before your course starts. If this is the case then they will probably email you to let you know, but there is no harm having a look on the course website page and checking for yourself.

Even if your course doesn’t have an official pre-reading list, nothing is stopping you from reading around the subject a bit. This can be in the form of articles, books, or even review some of your A-Level subject notes. The summer before university is really long, so chances are you’ll have forgotten some of what you learnt last year. In this instance, it can be helpful to remind yourself of some of the core topics or you degree subject.

6. Learn how to cook some basic meals

For a lot of students, this will be the first time cooking for themselves, so you need to make sure that before you leave home, you know how to make more than just beans on toast. A 2015 study on British Students found that around a third of students had ‘risky eating behaviours’; so learning how to cook some healthy meals is INCREDIBLY important.

Over the next month or so I will be writing more posts on how to meal plan, basic cupboard essentials, and easy student meals, so keep your eye out for those!

7. Look out for info on Fresher’s week on university socials

Fresher’s this year will be different given the current global situation, but university student union’s will still be putting on events to welcome you to the university, so keep an eye out upcoming event. Given the limits on socialising at the moment, it’s probably even more important to pay attention to university socials as a lot of meeting your course mates, will be online.

8. Join course and accommodation block group chats

Course and accommodation group chats start to pop up around this time of year, I found the one for my last course through the university’s Facebook page, but you can also find some on The Student Room. This is a great way to start meeting people either on your course or that you might be living with. It doesn’t mean that you will be best friends for the whole of university, but it will probably make starting a little bit easier, as you will already know some people.

9. Learn other basic skills

There’s a lot more to living alone than just cooking for yourself. You need to know how to budget, clean, do your washing, iron, and lots more! I will also be making some more posts about these things in the near future but in the meantime, there is a wealth of information on the internet, and you can also ask your friends and family.

10. Relax

Most importantly, RELAX. University is not easy, at least at the start, because you’re dropped into unfamiliar territory, but it is also incredibly fun. There’s something about living with your friends that I think everyone should experience in life. Whether you can’t wait to go, or you’re still a bit nervous about leaving home, take the time to enjoy your summer, because reality will hit soon!!


Student Life Packs

Get completely prepared for university with my Student Life Packs!

This seventeen page printable pack has everything you need to stay organised at school and is available to download instantly as a PDF to be used digitally on your tablet or to be printed out as a physical planner.


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