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Starting University next month?

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

Carfax Education have put together a series of check lists for you to make sure you start on the right foot.

1. Clothes

Pretty obvious but it can be hard to think what to take.

  • General student garb is jeans and a tee shirt with a hoodie. Think casual.

  • Remember the climate in the UK is much colder and wetter than you are probably used to, so pack waterproofs, and clothes that you can layer.

  • Don’t take too many! There will not be much storage space in the halls.

  • There will be some formal occasions so take something suitable to wear; smart trousers and a jacket or a suit for boys and for girls a prom type dress can be useful.

  • Freshers love to dress up so take some fancy dress clothes particularly for the first week.

  • Remember to pack some kind of night wear and a dressing gown or similar and slippers or flipflops so you are ready for those late night fire drills.

  • Make sure all your clothes are easy to wash and that you know how to wash them – have a quick lesson on how to use a washing machine and the washing instructions on clothes before you leave!

2. Things for your room!

The cold welcome of a bare room in halls is sure to put even the most confident undergrad on edge so go prepared to make it feel more like home...

  • Bedding - Make sure you take a good duvet, changes of sheets x 2 and your own pillow and a mattress topper – a hall bed is never as comfortable as your bed at home.

  • If you are heading for cooler climes then a hot water bottle or electric blanket can be a bonus for the chilly nights.

  • A bean bag or similar can be an invitation for people to come in and sit and chat rather than propping up the wall.

  • A rug is a good way of making a room feel more personal and has the added bonus of covering up unsightly carpet stains or bare floorboards.

  • Bringing your own desk light and possibly a bed side one too can be helpful. Adding in a few fairy lights can make the room sparkle! But no candles – a big health and safety no no!

  • Photos of family/friends/ your gap year can be a great icebreaker. Memories of recent parties and childhood will serve as reminders that ‘old friends are gold’ and encourage you to keep in touch with everyone back home.

  • A couple of plants - green and living - will perk up a room. If you are guaranteed to kill them within the week stick to a cactus.

  • Keep your eyes peeled for Student Union fairs selling innumerable discounted posters in all shapes and sizes. A multitude of websites sell every poster imaginable and they can go a long way to making a room feel much more lived in. Remember to take white tack to stick up posters etc

3. The Practical things

These are some things to pack to make the first few days a bit easier

  • A jar of cookies or big tin of celebrations or the healthy option a bowl of fruit always help to encourage visitors, as does having some mugs, glasses and a big kettle.

  • Door stop - Prop your door open as you unpack and decorate, so that new corridor buddies can drop in and say hello Have mugs/glasses to hand so you can share a cup of coffee or a drink.

  • Speakers for ipod, extension leads and adapters so you can get all of your electrical kit up and running straight away.

  • Some basic kitchen kit – veg peeler, non stick pan, plates, bowls, cutlery – best in a bright colour.

  • Your own tea towel – you don’t know where the others have been, wet wipes and some washing up liquid never go amiss. Helpful to wash things up as you go – a mouldy coffee cup is an instant mood killer.

4. Signing up …

While all the fun of Freshers’ Week is going on you will also need to make sure to...

  • Register with Dr– do this in the first week – if you leave it until you are ill, you will struggle to get an appointment.

  • And a Dentist - you do not want to be finding one when you have excruciating tooth ache.

  • The University will be able to help you with both of these – just ask for help

5. Personal Saftey

Wherever you go to University it is unlikely to be as safe as Dubai... Take precautions...

  • Keep valuable items such as phones and ipods out of sight

  • Avoid travelling alone in quiet areas at night.

  • Walk facing the traffic so you can see oncoming cars.

  • Be extra vigilant when using cash machines – protect your pin.

  • NEVER leave your drink unattended.

  • Let someone know where you are when you are out.

  • Only use authorised taxis.

6. Work Life Balance

  • Get into good study habits from the beginning. To do this you need to be there!

  • Make sure you attend all your lectures and tutorials – you may not have that many so make the most of them.

  • Set goals – daily, weekly, termly

  • Prioritise – have a strategy – tackle tasks in order of importance and urgency.

  • Don’t procrastinate – it is tempting to leave everything to the last minute but the longer you leave things, the more they build up.

  • Schedule – have on line or a hard copy diary or planner and write everything down, it will help you see what has to be done when and what spare time you have for other things.

Good study habits include different skills –

  • time management,

  • self discipline,

  • concentration,

  • organisation,

  • effort

7. Financial Matters

  • Set up a bank account as soon as you can. Research the good student deals – the newspapers are full of them in the lead up to the beginning of term.

  • If you are taking a student loan make sure it has been deposited in your account.

  • Living in a big city will typically add 20% to your costs. So factor that in.

  • Use the web to find good student deals.

  • Make a budget – boring but really important.

1. Work out what your income will be – allowance from parents? Student loan? 2. Work out your core costs, travel, food, books etc

Subtract 2 from 1 and what you have left is the amount you can spend.If it is not enough to survive on then it is time to get a part time job!

  • Living in a city maybe more expensive but it is easier to join a temping agency and find a part time job

  • Study equipment and books can be bought second hand

  • When you are out socialsing at night only take with you the cash you are prepared to spend, Leave your cash card safely at home then you won’t be tempted to take out more.

  • ALWAYS ask if there is a student discount

  • Always food shop on a full stomach, it will stop you impulse buying a trolley of Mars bars

  • Use the web to find good two for one deals on meals

  • Always have a £10 note in your sock or shoe when you go out so you can afford a taxi home if necessary.

  • Make the most of the free activities around you. Museums, galleries, parks. Check out the local press for events in your area.

  • Buy student travel cards and check out bike schemes

University is one of the most formative times of your life, it will be exhilarating, exhausting, exciting and hopefully educational!

We asked our tutors who are recent graduates about their top tips for surviving the first few weeks of University :-

  • There will be times when you feel homesick – don’t worry that is normal.

  • There will be times when you feel snowed under – don’t worry there will be people to turn to.

  • Don't worry if you drift apart from new friends – You will be at University for a long time and friends will come and go.

  • Make friends with people in your lectures – If you are sick one day you can exchange notes.

  • Makes friends with people who go to the library – It will make those long study sessions so much more fun.

  • Collect some easy, healthy recipes to make – this will save money and keep the fresher's 15 at bay.

  • Don't rush into sharing a flat or house – Living with the wrong people can affect all aspects of your life.

  • Get into the habit of asking about student discounts – You'd be surprised the savings you can make.

  • Get lots of sleep in the first week – Freshers flu is no fun.

  • Read your course Syllabi – If it's not what you want to study there is still time to change courses.

  • ENJOY your time there – have fun, work hard and get the best degree you can!

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