University Tips Blog
An image of two students chatting to a university adviser
A headshot image of the author, Sarah Wiltshire

by Sarah Wiltshire

Student Recruitment and Events Officer at the University of South Wales

posted on 18 Nov '23

What to expect at university? A guide to student life and tips for the university transition

Transitioning to student life at university from a sixth-form or college can be intimidating for some students. This is your opportunity to live and study autonomously, encountering new aspects of independence which you may not have tackled before.

Here are some useful hints and tips to help you on your journey into higher education.

Student finance and budgeting

Each of you will have an individual financial situation, depending on your student loan, accommodation choice and lifestyle. Making the most of your money is very important!

One way to work out the value of your loan is to break down your cost of living. Once your rent and other expenses have been deducted from your total, divide the rest of the money into a monthly or daily allowance. This may surprise some of you, as you may never have considered the cost of living. However, there are simple yet effective ways to stretch out your loan, such as buying and cooking in bulk - a larger weighted item of food may cost more, but may work out less per pound and will last longer. Another way would be to use shop brand products, rather than big brand items.

Student accommodation

Living away from home for the first time can be a daunting prospect. However, it is a chance for you to get a taste of your independence. You will be living with individuals who have come from unique walks of life and will provide different perspectives. Moreover, you will be able to learn new life skills such as cooking new meals, cleaning and keeping yourself healthy.

It is important to consider that if you do not feel you have all the knowledge you need, it is easily accessible. Universities often provide advice on independent living, you can ask friends and family, or simply search online. Crucially, you must remember that it is always possible to visit family or stay in touch with them online - staying connected is imperative for positive wellbeing.

Making friends

University provides a wealth of opportunities for you to make new friends. A good way to find friends with similar interests would be to join a society, this will allow you to continue your passion or hobby whilst making friends who appreciate the same topics. Another way to meet new people is attending Freshers events, as well as joining online freshers’ groups on social media.

Three top tips for students from a recent graduate

1. Buy a wall calendar to keep track of your assignments - it is useful to know when to start each one and when the deadlines are!
2. Bring sweet treats on your moving in day to break the ice with new flatmates.
3. Buy a student railcard to save money when visiting friends and family.

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