Getting into university may seem like the hard part, but once that hurdle is cleared it is actually all the other stuff you need to sort out before you get to uni that seems harder then taking ten A-Levels! So if you thought you just turn up in September and there is a house, books and a ready-cooked stir-fry waiting for you, you need to keep reading.
Where are you staying?
The way you apply for accommodation, and rooms are allocated at each Uni varies greatly. For some places applicants are expected to select their accommodation when they apply for their conditional course places, for others there is a small window after results day and clearing when new students apply.
Regardless of which way your Uni does it, you need to know. You do not want to be the person who is renting a room two miles from campus with two third years and PHD student due to a lack of organisation.
What to take and what to leave?
Make a list in advance of what you think you want to take to Uni. Start with essentials and then go on to the home comforts. The reason to start in advance is it gives you a chance to revaluate the list over a few weeks. Your NutriBullet may seem essential in July but when it gets to September and you haven’t used it in six weeks you may be able to take it off the list.
For a starter list of what to take and what to leave check out the Student Money Saver’s ultimate guide.
Do you want to join a club?
So you haven’t played netball since middle school but you loved it and are going to need some help burning off the extra alcohol calories at Uni. Now is the time rekindle a love you may have forgotten.
Uni is the perfect time to get serious about a sport or hobby you love, or to take up a new one. Take sometime to think about how you would like to spend your free time at Uni and whether you feel up for a sports club social every Tuesday.
How far your money is going to go?
Uni is the first time that most young people have had complete control over their own finances and expenses. The first few months of term can therefore be a huge adjustment. Make sure you have a grasp of how much things cost in advance and try to work out a loose budget for each week.
Get yourself signed up to a student discount scheme as soon as you enrol at Uni. If you can be really organised plan what you need to buy for the year and wait to get your discount as most brands up their student discount to 20% around mid-September to early-October.
There are loads of different options for student discount, to weigh up which is right for you read the Telegraph guide to where to find the best student discount.
Get yourself a railcard. Don’t wait until November when you are desperate to come home to order one. Have it done and ready for when you just really need a weekend of home cooked food and your own bed.
Let your doctor know
This one often gets forgotten but you need to let your doctors’ surgery know that you are going away to Uni. This is a ‘just in case’ precaution, but it means that you can refill your prescriptions away from home and be seen by a local or campus GP if you are ill during term.
If your level of culinary skill only extends to beans on toast get learning. There is nothing that can blow your budget quicker then a lot of takeaways and you don’t want to come back at Christmas a stone heavier or with scurvy. Start simple and ask relatives for some help and tips.
Getting a part-time job
When you hear the amount of student loan you will receive it can sound like a lot all added up, but when you split it by week it can be depressing. If you think you might need to work to subsidise your student lifestyle don’t wait until you arrive at halls to look for a job. Get ahead of the competition and start applying before you move.
How you are going to keep in touch?
This is an often-overlooked point, you might think in this day and age it is so easy to keep in touch with friends and family but liking a pic on Instagram is not the same as a chat. Decide a day when you will call your Mum and Nan each week or month and stick to it. Set up a designated chat group with your besties and put dates in the diary to meet up.