Top tips for preparing for university

September 16, 2013 by Hannah Schofield-Newton
Image So the results are in, your place is confirmed on UCAS and everything seems perfect! All that hard work has paid off and you’re about to experience what you’ve been told ‘are the best years of your life!’ The mission of going to university…

… seems no longer impossible but a mission does still exist. You still have to get there and with protective parents and piles of paperwork, you start to wonder if the day of arrival will actually ever come. Then all of a sudden, you’re leaving home and about to start your student life. You feel like a bag of nerves all over again. So… with this emotional rollercoaster, how do you cope? Here are some tips to help prepare you in those next few weeks before uni starts…


  • Fill out that boring paperwork. Yes although it is long, it has to be done. Stick to the deadlines to ensure that you do have accommodation for when you arrive, you are going to study the modules you want and you will get that student loan. It might all seem very tedious at the time but it will definitely be worth it when you arrive.

  • Open up a student bank account. Make sure you get a big 0% overdraft, look out for those freebies as well and get it all sorted before you start.

  • Check your possessions are insured.  Your parent/carer’s house insurance might cover your items but you need to check that they are still covered when you are living elsewhere. If they aren’t, then make sure you take out an insurance policy before you leave.

  • Mark your valuables with UV pens in case they are stolen as then they can be identified.

  • Preparation reading: Should you or shouldn’t you? If you have been recommended to do some reading then it’s probably a good idea to get some done. Just remember the focus is on ‘some reading’. Some departments might say that it’s best to hold off on this though until your modules have been 100% confirmed which might not happen until you arrive. Just remember: Don’t go overboard with buying books as when you arrive, you will have access to a library for free! Try and borrow some books from your local library before you start, or, if you know that there are some core texts which you think will be useful all year then buying them beforehand will save you time when you arrive.  Have a look on Amazon, The Book Depository or AbeBooks for some good offers. If it’s for Maths or Physics, Flooved does great stuff for free.

  • Accommodation: The prospect of living with or even sharing a room with new people can be daunting but remember that everyone is in the same situation and will want to get along. You could look on student forums to maybe get in touch with people in your flat or room beforehand. Take a look at The Student Room forums for example.

  • The uni shop. The extent of this depends on whether you’re going to be self-catered or catered. If self-catered, then the shop may take a little longer with pots and pans, cutlery, the food stock up and all sorts on the list. But regardless, the all-important tea and coffee and maybe a few biscuits are a must for a student! Mums particularly go wild on this shop, thinking you need anything and everything but go with it! It keeps them happy and often a lot of things they think of end up being pretty useful. See The Student Room’s list for ‘What to take to university’ for some good advice:

  • Take some ‘pick me up’ medication. The first few weeks of freshers can be intense and the famous Freshers’ Flu will start to spread so have paracetamol, Lemsip and Strepsils at the ready.

  • Take some photos of family and friends with you. Although you are likely to have a fantastic time, you may still have some blip moments when you feel a bit homesick and this is when your photos will be very handy.

  • Vaccinations: make sure you’re up to date. However horrible they may be, get them done as you don’t want to be ill when you’re away.

  • Check what you can take with you. Appliances such as kettles and mini fridges might not be allowed so it’s good to check this first. You might have them provided for you already. You won’t need to take an ironing board if there’s one in your hall already. You will be given a contact, whether a member of staff or a student rep so don’t be afraid to ask, they are there to help.

  • Prepare for the weather! It might seem silly but if you’re moving that bit further north, then all of a sudden, you feel that temperature drop and extra woolly jumpers are needed!

  • Get some fancy dress…boys too! Although you’re all grown up going to uni, you also experience a travel back in time to fancy dress fun. It’s time to head back to those days of kiddy birthday parties and group together any odd bits of fancy dress (60s or Bond themed maybe) as this will be something that you will probably end up using on a regular basis during your uni years.

Good luck and have a fantastic time starting your next chapter and new beginning.
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