Student Blog

Life before university: Tips to help you succeed

You studied hard for your exams and waited nervously to see if you secured a place at university. Now comes a totally new challenge! Leaving home and having to make new friends, find a place to live and keep on top of your course work can seem like a daunting prospect. Don’t panic though, MyTutor’s guide to uni life will stop you tearing your hair out. Follow our checklist below and you’ll be ready for anything university throws at you.

Admin

Tip 1: Get a student bank account

Don’t rush into setting-up your student bank account. Choosing the right account can be a minefield. Don’t be tempted by free products or other short-term rewards. Try to get the largest overdraft as possible, but remember to check the repayment conditions. Some banks demand the entire overdraft back as soon as you graduate – you’ll want to make sure that you have enough time to find the money to pay back your bank. You also need to consider the location of your bank. If you need to make regular trips to the bank then try to pick a bank that is actually near your university. However, don’t fret too much about this as internet banking should allow you to do most transactions. Money Saving Expert updates students every year with a list of the latest offers for student bank accounts.

Tip 2: Get a railcard

If you’ve moved far away from home, then you should really consider buying a young person’s railcard. Some banks will offer them as part of a student account, however, if your bank doesn’t then you can still buy one separately. You’ll make substantial savings with young person’s railcard if you travel frequently. If you’re 16-25 then the railcard only costs £30 a year and you’ll save 1/3 off all rail fares in the UK. Depending on where you have to travel to, you could save the cost of the railcard in just one trip.

 Tip 3: Insure your belongings

Insurance is another task that sounds dull but could potentially save you thousands. You don’t want your laptop stolen and have to shell out for a replacement. Make sure you insure any valuable items and if you will have a bike on campus, it’s worth investing in a quality bike lock. If you move into a house with friends then check to see what home and contents insurance will cover for each of you.

Academic

Tip 1: Find out where your lectures are

Find out where your lectures are before you start your course. A part of your course might be on an entirely different campus to the rest. Most universities will have a few different locations and your course might not necessarily be at the main campus. Research bus routes and timetables to see how long your journey might take. If you’re cycling or plan on driving then check there are bike stands or parking spaces nearby.

If you need help with finding out more about where your lectures are, don’t forget, most universities now have a profiles on social networks including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. LinkedIn and Facebook offer opportunities to connect with current students and students that will matriculate with you. Many universities use Twitter to provide important updates on campus issues and closures. By following your university now, you will be prepared with the most up-to-date information on your first day. You can also use social media to ask in advance about any questions you might have

Tip 2: Find out if there are any textbooks

Text books can be a huge expense. Most lecturers post a reading list online so it’s worth seeing if you can find out which books you need for your course. You can save a lot of money buying second-hand books. Search sites like unilist to find out if you can buy textbooks from former students. Once you’re finished with the textbook you can return the favour and make some savings at the end of the year or the end of your course too.

Social

Tip 1: Research clubs and organisations

Most universities have a Freshers Week to help new students find activities of interest. Find out when Freshers Week begins and contact clubs you are interested in early on, so you can meet members and maybe even participate in important activities before the academic year commences. By starting early, you will have time to look for new activities if you find that you don’t really click with the ones you’ve chosen.

Tip 2: Meet people

If you’re staying in halls of residence then try to arrive as soon as possible. This will give you time to get your bearings and get used to where you’re living. Getting to halls early also gives you more time to make friends. Remember that everybody is as nervous as you about sparking up a conversation – university is a time to make life-long friends, it’s exciting! You’ll be able to explore the university and surrounding areas with new people and make some good memories while you do it.

Tip 3: Have fun

This is the most important tip – have fun! University will be a challenge and something totally different to what you would have experienced before. You’ll get the chance to not only learn about a subject you find interesting, but you’ll also potentially make friends for life.

Spending a few hours preparing for university can really help you get the most out of it. By following the tips on this list, you will begin as a fresher free of worry and ready to get stuck into all that life at uni has to offer.


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