Read our super-sensible guide to a successful student life!
Make sure you’ve applied for your student finance and that you know what to expect. You can apply and keep track of your finances at: www.gov.uk/student-finance.
Student bank account
There are some great deals out there, with many banks and building societies offering tempting freebies to students but before you sign on the dotted line, make sure there’s a branch of the bank you choose near to your university or college so you can pop in easily if you need to. Compare what’s available at sites like Money Saving Expert: www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-bank-account.
Arrange your accommodation well ahead of starting university. Contact your college’s accommodation office and find out what to do. Can you cook? Some halls of residence will cater for you, but consider the expense – will it be cheaper to feed yourself or maybe share food-buying and cooking duties with your housemates? Pack carefully too – rooms in halls are tiny with very little storage space.
NUS Extra card
This brilliant card with save you loads of money! It only costs £12.00 for 12 months and it’ll give you discounts at loads of your favourite stores including Apple and Amazon online, as well as at many well-known high street shops. You will also get money off at restaurants and on cinema and rail tickets too. What’s not to like? Sign up for your NUS Extra card now at: www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-extra/
As well as nipping home to see mum and dad, you might want to visit mates at college elsewhere or travel to gigs, exhibitions and festivals. Student Rail Cards can save you big money so check out: www.16-25railcard.co.uk . If you’re studying in London, an Oyster card will save you £££s! Go to: www.oystercard.com to apply.
Depending on what you’re studying, universities usually send you a reading list so you’ll be up to speed at the start of your course. If they don’t, it’s still worth contacting the relevant department to find out some preparatory reading over the summer would be useful. Don’t rush to buy course books unnecessarily. You can buy cheaper, secondhand books on campus at the start of term or try: www.alibris.co.uk.
Make sure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations! Meningitis can spread quickly. Don’t worry yourself, but it helps to make sure you are prepared. The NHS has loads of reliable information: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Studenthealth/Pages/Studenthealthhome.aspx. You should see your GP to make sure you have a term’s supply of any contraceptives you need. For advice on contraception, go to: www.fpa.org.uk/help-and-advice/contraception-help.
Getting to know people before you go
Halls of residence and Student Unions have Facebook and Twitter pages where you can meet fellow newbies virtually. Student Union pages will have information on upcoming events and activities during Freshers’ Week. Don’t be shy! Pack a fancy dress costume and dancing shoes! You might want to think about taking a ball gown or a dinner jacket too – to wear to the pub on a boring Tuesday night if you haven’t got a real ball to go to!
So, all you freshers out there – be prepared, work hard and have fun – you’ll have the time of your lives!