7 Tips to Prepare for Starting University | Top Universities

7 Tips to Prepare for Starting University

By Sabrina Collier

Updated April 13, 2021 Updated April 13, 2021

If you’re starting university soon, you’re likely to be feeling excited as well as apprehensive, but try not to worry! For most people, university is one of the best experiences of their lives. It might be even more nerve-racking if you’re going to be studying abroad in an unfamiliar country, but this could also make your experience all the more life-changing. Here are some tips to help you prepare for this new adventure…

1. Learn to cook - if you can't already!

Getting takeaways too often isn’t great for either your health or your student budget, and you’ll probably also miss the food you’re used to eating at home. So ask someone to show you how to make your favorite dishes. Chances are it will be easier than you think! Don’t fret if you’re not a natural cook; as with many things, practice makes perfect.

2. If you’re an international student – join an orientation program 

Orientation programs are extremely useful for helping you to settle in when you’re starting university in a new country. If you’re staying in your home country, nevertheless prepare yourself for a period of (positive) chaos in Freshers’ Week! Make sure to get involved as much as possible; this is often the time when students make friendships for life. But also don’t forget that student budget, which brings us to the next point…

3. Consider setting a student budget

…and try your best to stick to it! Obviously you shouldn’t stress about money too much, as you don’t want to ruin your education and enjoyment, but it’s definitely a good idea to work out how much you have to spend on food and rent and how much is left for your own leisure. Be careful not to spend too much on socializing in your first week or so – remember, there are lots of ways to have fun without breaking the bank. Here are five ways to stretch your student budget.

4. Make sure you’re organized

Don’t forget to make sure everything’s sorted with your accommodation, finances, visas (if you’re studying abroad) and the like – it may not be much fun sorting out these things, but it will be worth the hassle when you’re settled! Also, don’t forget the equipment you need for your studies – a laptop, notepad, pens etc. Depending on whether you’re in catered or self-catered accommodation, you may also need kitchen items like crockery and pans.

5. Get ahead with your reading

You will most likely have some reading to do in your course (especially if it’s a text-based subject like English or law), so if your university has already emailed you a list of texts covered in your first semester, it might be a good idea to get ahead, particularly as it will help you manage your workload.

6. Use social media to get chatting with your new course-mates 

You might be lucky enough to find a Facebook group of people on the exact same course as you, or simply use the search functions on sites like Twitter to see if anyone else is sharing their excitement of starting university in the same location as you. Alternatively, find the social networks for student societies you’re interested in, and join the conversation.

7. Get packing!

This is where it really gets exciting… To make sure you don’t forget anything, take a look at our blog post on What to Take to University.

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This article was originally published in August 2015 . It was last updated in April 2021

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