How to Best Prepare for University Life


As one school year ends and another quickly approaches, we’ve compiled a guide for students who are about to embark on the adventure of university, with all the essential information to help you navigate your first year. 

As soon as that first student loan payment comes through, many students decide to splash the cash on nights out and all the random bits you buy to decorate your house with. By all means, have fun! However, you will not be having fun when it gets to Christmas if all you can afford to eat is baked beans! So, our top tip for you is to have two bank accounts: one for your weekly spending, and one with the leftover money. Set yourself a weekly budget to include food, outings, school resources, etc., and transfer that amount to your spending account weekly. This approach helps you to make conscious decisions when spending your money. Be sure to note when your rent and bills are due and plan your spending accordingly. Unfortunately, they are non-negotiable expenses, unlike a late-night kebab.

Planning Your Time

If you’re moving away from home to a new city, your days will be preoccupied with meeting new people, trying new things and finding new places – arguably the most enjoyable parts of university life. Even if you’re not moving away, there will be so much going on in your calendar it can be hard to keep track. Remember above all else, you’re at university to get a degree in something that you are passionate about, so make sure you make time to study and complete your assignments. Have a look at our FREE study timetable to make organising your life that little bit easier!

There are hundreds of things that you may want to bring to university, but we can guarantee your new room will not have the space for it! This checklist is one of our favourites, telling you exactly what you need to bring. We would also recommend purchasing a mattress topper if you’re able to, as the price of a good night’s sleep can never be matched!

Often lecturers and course leaders will send out emails in the summer before joining university and give you a checklist on how best to prepare for your new academic adventure. This can include buying textbooks, completing some introductory tasks, or familiarising yourself with modules and their structure. As a little top tip, many universities have an incredible array of books and literature in their online libraries, so to help you save your pennies on expensive textbooks, make sure you have a look first!

If you’re looking for tips on taking notes in lectures, this section is for you! If you’ve never been to a lecture before, do not worry. Lecture halls can vary in size from 20 to 200 people, often with one lecturer presenting at the front. Sometimes they walk around and may ask questions. Most people avoid eye contact, so why not be brave and participate? What’s the worst that can happen? Taking notes is entirely up to you and is supposed to help your learning, so organise them in a way that works best for you. Our favourite method is downloading the presentation slides before the lecture begins and noting any key points that the lecturer says in the comments section. This way, you have all the information you need in one place. 

University can be hard. From moving away from home for the first time, to meeting new people, to attending high-level lectures, there are lots of factors that can become overwhelming. Equally, university isn’t for everyone and that is also okay! Our biggest tip is to make sure that you have a good support system around you. Make friends in your accommodation, contact home as regularly as you need to and make sure you register at a GP surgery in your university city (everything will seem 10 times worse if you are ill and can’t get access to healthcare). There are also lots of different support options available through university’s well-being programs, so get in touch if you’re ever struggling. Everybody’s university experience will be different, so make sure you are doing whatever makes you happy. 

Although the idea of university may be daunting now, we can guarantee you will have the best time and look back on it with the fondest of memories. We hope this blog has given you a few tips and tricks in preparing for your university life and we wish you the best of luck!

Here at Greenhouse Learning, we offer mentoring to help you with non-academic skills needed for overall success for example money management and organisation skills. Contact us today for more information!

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Greenhouse Learning helps students across the Southwest become independent learners. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you support your child to achieve their full potential.