It’s that time of year again when students across the UK are preparing to start or return to university. As a past graduate and returning to education again myself this year as a mature student, I know that preparing for university life can be tricky. I’ve put together a quick guide to hopefully help make the transition to university a lot easier.
Once you have been accepted to your chosen University, finding somewhere that you’ll be happy to live is the next important step. There are many options when it comes to accommodation, from university halls of residence to house and flat shares. It’s always best to research which option suits your needs the most to help you make the right choice.
i.e Most Universities will guarantee a place of accommodation for your first year if you want to choose that option. Halls have the added benefit of introducing you to other students, which can help you make friends and settle in easier. They also tend to be closer to the university campus which can be an added benefit.
Research the area
Before moving day, research the local are to find out where you local amenities are. It’s always best to have a rough idea of where things are. This way, you’ll be familiar with your surroundings when you arrive.
Decide what to pack for university
Whether you are leaving home for the first time or in you are returning for your final year, make sure you’ve got your essentials before you go. There’s always the risk of forgetting things or just generally not being prepared but there’s also the other side of the coin which results in over-packing. To try and avoid this make a list of everything you will need to start your life at university. Break it down into items you have and items that you need to purchase.
Just to give you an idea, here’s a quick list of essential items to take with you
- Computing Devices- A Laptop is a pretty essential item when going to university. You’ll be needing it for writing essays, research and taking notes. They also come in handy for watching movies, catching up on that TV series you are watching or even gaming to relax in the evenings. If you don’t already have one and can’t take the family computer with you, there are a lot of student budget friendly deals around this time of year. Like this selection of HP Laptops at Very. They make the perfect Laptops to take to university with long life batteries & being lightweight and portable. (bonus tip – if you are taking a tv then you will need to pay a tv license, even if you are in halls unless you only plan on using streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus etc)
- Printer – The cost of university library printing can soon add up. Having your own printer means that you can have your documents within minutes.
- Powerbank – Perfect for charging your electricals on the go and you don’t have to worry about your phone battery running low when you are out and about.
- Power Extension Lead – Often an item that is forgotten but having an extension lead means you can have more sockets as outlets in rooms can be limited,
Kitchen Wear and Appliances
- Tea Towels
- Dinner Set
- Duvet Sets and Bed Sheets
- Throws and Blankets
- Lamps and Lights
- Bathroom Towels
- Bathroom Bin
- Storage Tubs – perfect for keeping your belongings in, especially if you are limited on storage space.
- Water Bottle
- Thermal Mug/Flask
- Hair Dryer
Before moving day, make sure that you have set up insurance for your room and belongings. Some accommodation providers can help you set up insurance, but a great alternative is Endsleigh, who are the UKs number one insurance company for students.
Are you prepared financially?
Definitely apply for funding through Student finance loans, maintenance loans or bursaries for students if they are available to you.
Open a student bank account, often there are great benefits for students which include interest free overdrafts. You often find that banks will offer reward incentives like a free railcards or gift cards which come in handy.
Prepare yourself for bills – going away to university could be the very first time in your life that you must pay bills but remember to budget for them and to also set up payment’s things like utilities, rent, tv license and broadband. One thing that you don’t have to worry about paying is council tax, as full-time students in the UK are exempt from paying council tax.
Learn how to budget your funds and how to make your student loan stretch further. Budgeting stops you overspending and can reduce your financial worries
Make the most of student discounts and ask if stores provide student discounts if you are unsure.
Student railcards are great value for money and offer a substantial discount on your rail journeys.
Finally, if it is your first time venturing out into the world, you will find it a lot easier having some knowledge of life skills. These are often things that we take for granted living at home with parents.
Learn some cooking skills
Even the most basic of cooking skills will make your university life that much more of a pleasant experience. Being able to cook hot meals instead of replying on instant or take out meals can also help when budgeting.
Cleaning laundry is something we all have to do so make sure that you know the basics before you leave and you don’t’ have to worry about taking bags of dirty washing if your return home to your parents for the weekends or the end of term.