Before you go to university in 2016

OK then, you're off to uni. Nice job, fresher.

You can forget all about school or college now, university is a whole different experience. For one thing, it's the first time in your education that you'll be 100% trusted to do your own thing, both in your studies and in your life. Tutors are there to help you, but they're not going to be micro-managing your life in the way schoolteachers have done.

For most people, that level of independence will be a whole new thing. There are plenty of things to think about before you set off - read on for some of the most important.

First of all, make sure you have everything you will actually need and use. Check out our what to take to university list for ideas.


How do I prepare for moving into uni?

  • Check information from your uni about what you can and can't take (eg mini-fridges, kettles, etc).
  • Mark all of your valuables with UV security pens so you can identify what's yours should it get stolen.]
  • Chat about your university accommodation in your university sub forum
  • Chat about accommodation in general on the TSR Forums

Managing your finances at university

  • Don't wait until you get to university to open a bank account. Go to your local branch between getting your confirmed place and going off to uni. This removes delay and ensures you will get your student loan into your account as quickly as possible when you start your course. Remember to tell the loan company about your new account details by changing your details online.
  • Shop around for your bank account and remember to find out whether they have a branch near your uni!
  • Discuss student finance on the TSR Forum

Staying healthy at university

  • Before you arrive - check your immunisation, especially for measles, mumps and meningitis. See your Doctor at home to get any boosters or missing inoculations - don't wait until you start Uni.
  • Get your teeth checked, and any work done before you arrive. The start of term is no time to be either in pain or messing about with dentists appointments.
  • If you are going to be playing lots of sport get a proper individual mouth-guard from your dentist. This takes time to get made - plan ahead.
  • Talk to your home doctor about contraception - especially if you are going to need prescriptions for the pill or need an IUD fitting.

For more information, check out our Health forums.

Make the most of freshers' week

  • Unis will publish Freshers' week schedules on their own websites or on the Students' Union website.
  • You'll get sent info and/or links to this in your Welcome Pack or email after Results Day
  • There will be numerous activities about your course and Department, and 'Intro' sessions for the library, IT provision etc
  • Freshers Fair - the big expo when clubs and societies get you to sign up.
  • Social Stuff - everything from big end-of-week parties/club sessions to themed walks, cafe-crawls, bowling/cinema nights etc, all designed to help you get to know each other before classes start the following week.
  • Check out our Freshers' Week Tips

Reading lists

  • Some university departments put their reading lists online at Blackwell's Reading Lists website. Others will send you information about Reading Lists in your welcome pack once your University place is confirmed after Results Day.
  • Remember, even if it's on the reading list, you don't necessarily need to buy it. Most books you will only read once. So, borrow them from your (home) local library to read over the summer and use your uni library once you get there.
  • With this in mind - don't ask relatives for bookshop gift cards as 'going to uni' pressies - you'll never use them.
  • Good places for discount or 2nd hand books are Amazon, eBay, Abebooks, Alibris, Oxfam Online. Make sure you get the right 'edition'.

See all our articles for people going to uni

We have a number of articles on starting university and general student life.

Starting uni and the first few days
What to take to university
Fresher's week tips
TSR Freshers' pack

General student life
Tips for commuting students
Personal security
General Student Life advice
Ethics and the environment at university
Dealing with exam stress