Now that you have had your A Level results or passed your International Foundation Programme, the reality might not have hit most new students that this is really happening. They are going to university and starting a new phase of their life.
It’s a lot to process, a lot to think about and a lot to prepare. Have you got your check list ready?
Have you arranged it yet? Usually universities have you sort this out months in advance, but if you have just joined because you hadn’t got around to it or you have earned your place through clearing then you need to get busy and fast!
Places in a Halls of Residence are always the first to go and if they have all gone then you will need to look at other options:
· Joining a group of second and third year students in a house share by responding to local advertisements or word of mouth.
· Enlisting the services of your university’s accommodation office to find a house share with other first year students
· Renting privately through a landlord
· Temporary accommodation in a host family.
Don’t forget to read your contracts thoroughly, how long the contract is for and what bills you will be responsible for. Many tenancy agreements try and make all students in the group ‘joint and several’ with their liability meaning that if something gets damaged or your housemate doesn’t pay their rent then you are all liable for it. If you don’t like the terms, you are not obliged to take the property.
Making New Friends
You will find that the university are keen for you to enjoy your time there and be happy in your social life as well as your studies. Take full advantage of Fresher’s Week and try and join as many clubs as you think you can commit to or afford. There is a saying that Fresher’s Week is meeting all of the people that you spend the next three years avoiding, but speaking with experience, you also meet friends for life. Even if you don’t drink, try and find other students who have other interests.
University is a place where some students can finally start to explore their personalities, preferences and style, so try to be as friendly as you can to everyone and remember that being kind is important, as some students may be far more worldly than others.
Use social media the best you can too. Universities will set up Fresher’s Facebook groups and other forums to try and get people to make a connection.
Depending on your visa status, you might only be able to work a few hours here and there. Your university will advise you best if you are a visa student. EU students need to get a National Insurance Number.
Make sure you get to the local job centre as soon as possible to get your National Insurance Number so you can get paid.
This is where the local agencies come into their own as they can be helpful in helping you to find temporary work. Some shops and cafes also only need someone for a couple of hours a week and as an international student you hold the upper hand as you won’t be taking the train to see your family every weekend like the English students!
If there is a portal at your university or any reading lists submitted before the course starts – get ahead! Get your hands on your lists and the books bought as soon as possible. Getting cheap books second hand will save you hundreds, if not a couple of thousand pounds over your time there and it can be painful to hand over £100 for a book at times. Most people buy from Amazon.co.uk or ebay.co.uk but you can also find books through networking with other students – older students who are doing your course are the best friends to find. They may sell you the books cheaper or give them to you if you’re lucky. Make sure you pay it forward.
Apart from that, just read over your course outline and modules again so you are best prepared for your first day.
Don’t forget this is the time that if you want to change subjects, as soon as possible is best!
That is our brief guide to starting university. Our advice is prepare and be open minded to new people and experiences! Let us know what you think in the comments!