Going to uni is a pretty big moment in your life, so you're bound to have a few questions about it. How will it be different to school? Will you get a job at the end of it? Should you post your jeans home when they need washing? They're all worth pondering.
You'll find a lot of answers on our site, and of course unis have lots of experience in this area. We asked the team at De Montfort University (DMU) to help us put together a list of some common questions, along with some advice to help you out.
The student experience is about a lot of things, not all of them academic. But as you're going to be spending at least three years dedicating your mind to a subject, it's good to pick the right one for you.
How to decide? Being passionate about a subject is one great reason to pursue it at uni: you'll enjoy your studies, feel motivated and get some improved career prospects at the same time. Or, if you have a future career in mind, try looking at industry sites to find out what qualifications you need and search for relevant courses in that area.
Unis like DMU can always help, so contact their advisory teams - and don't forget to check out our uni guide here
for more help on picking your subject.
What are 'entry requirements'?
Entry requirements make sure that students are suitable for a course they're interested in. They vary between unis / courses and might take the form of A Level grades, UCAS tariff points or other assessments like admissions tests, interviews and auditions – uni websites like DMU's will usually give you more info.
It's not just about the grades though, although they are important. Your UCAS personal statement can make a big difference too, and you should always try to let unis see a bit of who you are as a person (no, don't show them that video from your last birthday). For example, rather than listing your hobbies and grades, tell them why the things you've done – sport, volunteering, work experience and so on – have prepared you for the course you're applying for.
It's a big topic, but never fear: our guide to personal statements, can give you some ideas.
How do I apply to University?
For the majority of unis, you make your application through UCAS – the University and Colleges Admissions Service. (There are some exceptions: independent unis require you to apply directly to them, while music conservatoires have their own system http://www.cukas.ac.uk for example)
Your school or college should be able to help you with your application and give you a reference. You can also find out more on our site and from UCAS
, who have guides galore covering everything from costs to sending off your application.
What is the cost of going to Uni?
It varies, as different unis charge different amounts – their websites will give you exact details. However, in all cases you're making a great investment in your future and opening yourself up to the fine experiences student life can offer.
There's also a lot of help available. You can apply for government loans to cover tuition and maintenance costs, or you might be eligible for grants (which you don't pay back, happily). Our finance section has all the info you'll need.
Unis can help in many ways, too. DMU offers , for example, various funding and scholarship opportunities as well as an on-campus recruitment agency to help you find a job while you're studying.
Why should I visit an open day?
'Think of it in the same way as test driving a car: it's a chance to see if a uni offers everything you need and also if it feels right for you. An open day lets you visit the site, checking out the accommodation, entertainment venues and academic facilities.
You can also attend sample lectures, meet staff and students and ask all those burning questions about the course, teaching style, contact time, coffee availability...you name it. Open days let unis showcase what they have to offer and help you work out if they're the right fit for you.
Unis hold open days throughout the year, so sign up and snoop around. You can plan ahead with our open day guide. DMU's next open day is on 10 January – it could be the perfect antidote to the winter blues.