Over 400,000 students will be heading to university in the UK this year. Many will already have the good news that they have secured a place on their chosen course, some will defer until next year, some will change their minds and up to 50,000 students will find a university place through the clearing system. If you are starting university this year, you now have somewhere between three and eight weeks to get yourself prepared for what is possibly one of the biggest steps in your life so far. So, how should you prepare?
Before you start packing, you need to make sure that you have your accommodation sorted for your first year. Some universities allow you to apply for accommodation before results day, whilst others make you apply for it once you have a confirmed place with them. Find out where you’re going, join groups on social networking websites where people are going to the same uni or will be in the same halls and start talking to people. This isn’t about making a best friend before you start, it’s just so that there will be some friendly faces. You’ll probably receive some kind of information/freshers pack from the university with all the social events that are planned for the first few weeks. Plan what you want to go to and prepare some fancy dress outfits.
Once you know where you’re going to live, find out what you can and can’t take to your accommodation. Some universities will put every first year student in halls, which should give you a list of what is provided in the communal kitchen/bathroom/lounge areas. Others will put students in student houses for their first year, where you’re more likely to have a garden and more shared areas. If you’re in halls, you may or may not be allowed to have appliances such as kettles and mini-fridges, so find out before you buy them, some unis are very strict about electrical items.
You need to make sure you take everything you need with you; whether you fit it all in one suitcase or two car loads, take what you want to. Remember all important documents such as your unconditional offer letter, insurance documents, bank details, accommodation letters and exam certificates. Take a number of passport photos with you too, you’ll definitely need a few. If you use an item at home, you’ll probably need it at university too.
Once your university place is confirmed, get yourself a bank account. Look at the different student accounts offered by different banks and choose the one that’s right for you, they’ll have different overdraft facilities and interest rates, amongst other things. Some offer a free rail card or insurance on your items in your room, but check there is a branch in your new town. Tell Student Finance about your new bank details so that you can get your loan as quickly as possible once you start.
If you missed out on the grades you needed to get into medical school this year, it doesn’t mean that all of this information is no good to you! It’s not too late to apply to our articulation course and start your career in medicine. In 6 years you could have a BSc in Biomedical Science and a degree in medicine, find out all about it here.