Before you go to university
Here are a couple of things you'll need to do before you head off.
So you're off to uni – nice job, fresher!
For most people, the level of independence that university brings will be a whole new thing. There's plenty to think about before you set off – so we've gathered some important info to help you get ready.
How do I prepare for moving into uni?
- First of all, make sure you have everything you'll need for your halls and course. Check out our sister site The Student Room's list of what to take to uni.
- Check information from your uni about what you can and can't take to your accommodation (e.g. mini-fridges and kettles).
- Get a few basic life skills sorted – learn how to do laundry and master a handful of easy meals before you go to uni.
- Find other students in your flat or university accommodation by checking out your specific university sub forum on The Student Room.
- Connect with your university on social media. Doing so can make you feel a part of the community before arriving and it's a handy way to get important updates ahead of a busy Freshers Week.
- Have a look at this guide to handling your first year of uni on our sister site The Student Room.
Sort out your health and medical supplies
- Before you leave home, check your vaccine records – especially for measles, mumps and meningitis. See your doctor to get any boosters or missing ones.
- Get your teeth checked before you arrive. The start of term isn't the best time to get a wisdom tooth removed...
- Talk to your home doctor about contraception, especially if you're going to need repeat prescriptions.
- Register with a local GP or the university medical centre and a dentist when you arrive.
- Familiarise yourself with where the local A&E and drop-in health centres are in your university town.
- If you suffer with long-term conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy, make sure your flatmates know where your medication is kept.
- Catching a cold (known as Freshers' flu) is normal during the first few weeks at university. Get some sleep and take flu remedies – it's a virus so antibiotics won't help.
Make sure you're financially prepared for these common start-of-term expenses
- Moving van – renting a van can be expensive, and quotes will vary depending on how much you’re taking and how far you're going. If you can't fit everything in your parents' car, book a van rental as early as possible.
- Laptop – most universities have computer rooms, but they can be inconvenient to book and it's much easier to take your own. Most good laptops have a lifespan of around three years, so a new one now should last you the duration of your undergraduate course.
- Extra furniture and utensils – when choosing your accommodation, read carefully what facilities and utensils will be provided. This way you can take your time researching the cheapest options for anything extra need to buy.
- Freshers Week – you'll receive your student loan during your first week but it's a good idea to have some extra money aside.
Managing your finances once you're at university
- Don't wait until you get to university to open a bank account – set one up online after your place at uni is confirmed. This should help avoid any delays getting your student loan; remember to update your account with your new address.
- Shop around for your bank account and remember to locate the nearest branch to your uni. This article on our sister site The Student Room has advice for choosing the best bank account and covers all the deals available.
- Work out your budget – calculate all your essential expenses (like rent, travel and course costs) so you know how much money you'll have left every week to spend on food and entertainment.
- Avoid any nasty shocks to your bank account by checking out this article, which goes into more detail about the kind of thing you're likely to spend money on at university.
- See what other students are saying about managing finances on The Student Room forums here.
- You'll most likely receive information about reading lists in your welcome pack once your uni place is confirmed.
- You don't need to buy all of the required books – your uni will usually provide PDFs of relevant chapters.
- If you do want a physical copy, you can find discounted or second hand books on Amazon, eBay, Abebooks, Alibris and Oxfam Online – but make sure you get the right edition.
How to make the most of Freshers Week
- Most unis publish Freshers Week schedules on their websites or the Students' Union website a few weeks before – check this out early so you can plan what you'd like to go to.
- There will be all sorts of activities for your course, plus introductory sessions for the library and IT – find out when these are and schedule them into your week.
- You've probably heard about Freshers Fair – the big expo where societies get you to sign-up in exchange for a lot of freebies. It's definitely worth going, so you can ask any questions about any activities that interest you.
- As for social activities, you'll be spoilt for choice! There'll be everything from end-of-week parties and club sessions to themed walks, cafe-crawls, bowling and cinema nights on offer – pick a few you're interested in so you don't burn yourself out.
- Worried about navigating Freshers Week? Here are some tips from the community on our sister site The Student Room.