How to prepare for university – 5 key differences from college

Samuel - BA English (2nd year)
Samuel - BA English (2nd year)

Moving from college to university can be both daunting and exciting. After college, be sure to enjoy that sweet summer break before moving into university, but even as you tan while sipping on piña coladas on the beach, being prepared will save you some sanity.

1. Know where you’re going 
Most students at university are entirely new to the area they start living in, so it’s time to get exploring. Get out your comfort zone and go to all the new things around you – or even into your comfort zone by finding the things you enjoy. Every time I meet someone in London I almost always find out something new that I’d never heard of. Google is an asset for finding random stuff in your area. If that fails, talk to people or just walk about the place – by just popping around random streets you can find everything from extremely good food to an underground jazz club.

2. Money, money, money
MoneyTime for a bit of an annoying topic. Whether you’re receiving support from your family or a loan, money is important and something you should always seek to address and organise. I personally take all my money and come up with a rough budget for the semester – including rent, food, transport, clothes, books, etc and set that money aside so that I know how much I can spend on less necessary things like concert tickets or ice cream (or is that a necessity?). If you want to save money though, there are a ton of ways to do so. Everything from the £3 cinema tickets at BFI Southbank to Entry Pass tickets at The National Theatre or just cooking at home, there’s something for everyone, and you just have to go looking for it.

3. Study 
StudyWhile you’re not scoffing down popcorn or pogoing in the club, hopefully, you’re doing your degree. I’d aim to find your place of studious comfort. If you don’t like your room, look toward the libraries, cafes and parks – my Art teacher in A-Level even recommended pubs during the week for reading in. These places can give you some peace and quiet to get a lot done while not being distracted (and come enormously handy in preparation for exams). It’s worth noting your exam and coursework dates in your calendar or reminders, just in case you forget!

4. Get organised
Get organisedWhether you’re a busy person or not, getting organised can save you not only lots of time, but also keep you sane. While organising your money and studying is great, having your room and schedule is also brilliant. I use the calendar on my Mac to get all my important events and meetings organised in one place, that way I can set reminder alerts and it syncs with my phone – other calendaring options are available of course. This way you can see when you’re free, when work is due and when all the cool events are on around the city in case you miss them.

5. Enjoy yourself 
So it sounds silly and just about everyone has probably said it to you, but really, enjoy yourself. This could be anything from clubbing to coffee and beyond. University is not just about learning and earning that degree. Do whatever works for you to take time off working or whatever’s stressing you and enjoy the years of freedom and independence you have.




1 Comment

  1. My first tip it is important to remember that there are thousands of other students in a similar situation to you. The first week of university is often hyped up to be ‘the best week of your life’, but in reality, the start of the academic year can be very overwhelming. It is important to make sure you ask for help when you need it.

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