How to prepare for uni: a short guide for Freshers

In partnership with Sheffield Hallam University

Russ Thorne
Wednesday 09 September 2015 16:32 BST

Getting ready for becoming a student is an exciting time, but first things first: try not to get carried away in the packing phase. “I wouldn’t purchase too many things before arriving,” says Dapo Adaramewa, Sheffield Hallam University Students' Union President. “Get a feel for the accommodation, a brand new city and university before deciding what's necessary.”

Then in the weeks to come, remember to take advantage of one of the more unique aspects of the university experience, says Adaramewa. “The Students’ Union is run by students for students, in order to help them leave university with more than just a degree. There are a whole range of activities to get involved in, from sports to international volunteering opportunities.”

Before you sign up for the Harry Potter and Gin Soc (which is real), read up on any information your university sends you about your course and suggested reading. “You might find a sample timetable for your course as well as information about Induction Week," says to Philip Ryland, associate dean for student experience within the Faculty of Management at Bournemouth University, "all of which is designed to ease your transition into study at the university.”

Rebecca Byng has just finished the Multimedia Journalism course at Bournemouth and adds that social media is another useful ally. “I looked on the official Facebook pages for my course, halls and arrivals – lots of people were asking about things I wanted to know and the answers were really helpful.”

You might also want to brush up on some life skills. Knowing how to budget is vital, says Joanne Goodman, Vice President at Birmingham City University’s Students’ Union, as is cooking. “If you currently don’t know how to use a toaster or a microwave then make sure you do when you move in,” she says. “Also practice being independent and learn to clean, and how to wash and iron clothes.”

Independence is the word when it comes to university-level study, too, according to Professor Sharon Clarke, director of teaching and learning at Manchester Business School. “Students need to be prepared to take ownership of their learning,” she says. This means managing your time but also recognising when and how you learn best and asking for support when needed. “Students should make the best use of feedback on their work and approach university lecturers for help.”

For your final preparations, it's time for the to-do list. “It's the most important thing,” says Alice Hobby, a first year English Literature student at University of Roehampton. “Include things like getting a student bank account, making an appointment with the doctor for your jabs and buying course books.”

Then it's all about being open-minded and getting involved, says Hobby. “Enjoy fresher's week for what it is - a chance to make the most of your new independence and have the best time you can.”

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