Starting uni – what should you do to prepare?

University building

The summer before you begin your first year of university is a very important time. There are lots of things to arrange and organise – you need to prepare yourself for what’s to come and still have a little downtime to relax. Here we look at the items you need to prioritise in that summer before you start your first year at university…


One of the most commonly encountered problems for first-year university students is in relation to their finances. And that’s OK – we all make mistakes. But if you put some preparation work in during the summer, you can set yourself on a firm foundation and reduce the chance of becoming another statistic.

Early application for student finance is always advisable and this gives you a firm financial footing to base all other decisions on. Have a new bank account ready to go that you can use for your money and look for accounts that offer no fees or special deals for students. Some will even offer overdrafts but don’t go over the top and try to avoid using it unless it’s a proper emergency.


You need to make a decision as early as possible about where you want to live during your first year. Some universities recommend that you stay in halls of residence in your first year, so that’s something to consider.

Alternatively, you could look at the options available from specialist student accommodation providers, as these will ensure you are protected and in good-quality housing. Collegiate are one such provider who offer a range of budget-friendly accommodation options around the UK. By using such providers, you can ensure your tenancy agreement is legal and your deposit is held in an approved scheme.

Get to know your university

Summer is the perfect time to get to know the university you’ll be studying at and to get acquainted with the local area. Talk to people in the students’ union to find out real-life experiences from older students and check out social media channels.

Freshers’ week is an important part of starting uni and is something you should definitely attend. You should also try to throw yourself into any events taking place during freshers’ week – there may be a freshers’ ball, gigs, fancy dress events and many other things to help you make new friends and get acquainted with your new uni.

Pack your bags

While you don’t need to do the actual packing until just before you leave, summer is a great time to start sorting what you need to take with you and what you don’t. Once you have your accommodation booked, you’ll have a better idea of how much space you’ll have to play with and can consider what essentials need to travel with you. Also ensure you have insurance in place for your contents, especially electronics such as laptops and tablets as some home insurance policies don’t cover students.

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