How To Prepare for University

April 25, 2016

Since I'm not going to be in England after my A-Level exams as I will be doing a work placement in Spain over the summer, I have been trying to do as much university prep as possible as I will only be home for a week after Spain before I move to University. However, I do believe that getting things organised now has benefited me as I now know that I won't be as stressed over certain things further down the line. Here are a few of the things that I have done in order to make sure that the process of moving to university is as stress free as possible. I will also be mentioning some other useful things that you can do closer to your move in date.

1. Start saving for your first week at university - It might be a good idea to get a part time job over the summer and start saving for your first week at university because when I went to an applicant day last Saturday, I soon learned that there is a lot of things that you might want to purchase up front on your first week. This includes gym memberships, train passes, bus passes, car park fees. There is also the cost of freshers week that might add up as well as change for washing your laundry if you are living in the university halls. This may not be necessarily essential for your first week but collecting loose change for the machines will become useful.

2. Go to applicant days - I went to my applicant day last Saturday as I previously mentioned and found it so beneficial. I had a full schedule planned out and was able to receive campus tours, tours of the building where I will be doing my course, accommodation tours, talks with the dean and tutors, as well as free lunch and snacks throughout the day. BONUS!! If you have any questions or queries about the university or the course you will be studying, then there will always be someone to answer them for you at applicant day. I would definitely recommend finding out if your university organises them.

3. Network - This basically means that you should take advantage of the internet as you will be surprised at how many freshers pages and course pages that you can find on the most social media platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter. I have been able to sign up to freshers pages hosted by the university student union and follow any twitter account that is associated with my university or the course I will be studying. It's also a great way to meet new people that will also be starting university at the same time as you before you actually start.

4. Three weeks before you start your course or move into the halls, hand out your CV to employers - If your looking for a part time job whilst at university then the best piece of advice that I can give you is to start handing out your CV's as soon as possible. Start by handing them out to any job that takes your interest, whether thats within the universities student union or anywhere that is close to your university or where you will be living. The great thing about the university that I will be going to is that the town centre is literally right next to the university. Like seriously, you cross one road and you are in the town, so it will be so convenient for me as I will be able to easily get a job in town without it being too far away for me. I would also recommend that you send your CV to any job opportunity you find, even if its something that doesn't catch your eye because then at least if you don't get an offer from the job you wanted, you will still have a Plan B. If you don't have time to actually visit the town and physically hand your CV out then do what I will hopefully be doing and figure out a way to email it over or send it online.

5. Get taxi numbers - Thankfully my university has contact with a local taxi company and are able to get discount for their students so I will probably end up using that company and getting the number when I arrive, but it doesn't hurt to get a couple in your contacts as you will probably find that you will use a taxi at one point during your university years.

6. Have some simple and affordable recipes in mind or download apps and save recipes online - In all honesty, I hardly doubt that you will be pigging out on delicious dish every night because a) we are students and we are lazy, b) we are probably used to our parents cooking for us so will definitely run out of meal ideas after cheese on toast or pasta and tomato sauce, and c) you will most probably be financially supporting yourself and although you may receive loans from the government and might be earning some money from a part time job, you still probably won't have enough money for somewhat expensive meals every night, especially once your weekly rent money gets taken out of your account for accommodation and anything else that needs paying.

7. Only buy things that YOU KNOW you will need - Every year in school and college I would always overspend money on stationary and supplies, especially at the start of the year because I would never know what I needed so instead decided that it would be more sensible to buy EVERYTHING rather than nothing. Boy was I wrong. Buying things for university is going to be so much different than buying folders and notebooks for your GCSE's or A-Levels because not only will you need supplies for your course, but if you are living in student halls, you will also need living supplies. It wasn't until I went to the applicant day that I got an idea of what I will need in my bedroom, but even now I still don't know exactly what my room is going to look like as every room is different, so there was no point buying something that I thought would look nice on say a shelf that was in the room I saw when there might not be that exact shelf in that exact spot in the room I will be allocated in September. If you want me to write a blog post on all of the things that I think are definitely going to be essential for your first night or week at university then I will definitely do that, but in all honesty, I only have a general idea as I'm still figuring that bit out myself.

8. Contact your university about course requirements - I imagine that over the summer you will probably get a pack sent to you from your university of the majority of the things you need to know, do or buy before starting your course as I know that my university definitely sends them out after talking to people from the course at applicant day. However, if you are unsure about whether you will receive this or you know that you are not going to, then perhaps its a good idea to get in contact with the university and they will direct you to the person that will be able to help you, normally someone from the course.

9. Get your accommodation booked early - If you are sure about where you want to live at university if you are living away from home, then I stress, BOOK IT AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. I remember telling my mum all throughout the day on Saturday that I was so relieved that I booked my accommodation a couple of months ago as it made our day so stress free. There was somewhere you could go during that day to book your accommodation but I just remember thinking that I would have been so stressed out if I left it until then as I would have been rushing back to the university trying to get a room before they all booked out, as I soon learned that the majority of the rooms had been taken and there was now a waiting list for the room type that I booked. There was no rush to get back to the university and since we booked all of the essential things ages ago like student finance and accommodation, we took the day as it came and enjoyed taken in the excitement of exploring the university and town.

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