University Tips Blog
Image of a group of students at university
A headshot image of the author, Anam Hoque

by Anam Hoque

Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Senior Officer at Queen Mary University of London

posted on 1 Feb '24

A guide to preparing for university – key tips for students before they start their course

Home and Away

Many students will take the opportunity to move out in search of new experiences that university has to offer. To best support students, it is important to identify those who may be the first in their family to go to university as they may require advice on making sure they have successfully completed any associated administration, including their student finance and accommodation applications.

Advising these students to go through a little life admin wouldn’t go amiss either, such as opening a bank account, registering with a GP, brushing up on laundry skills, and having a go at cooking, all of which can help the student flourish (and may also put the mind of the parent or guardian at ease!).

Students commuting to university may also need to apply for travelcards and make themselves familiar with their journey. Some orienteering is useful, locating the local shops, campus library, students’ union and lecture buildings, will help reduce those first week nerves once they know where they will be studying.

Successful transition

The transition to university or higher education can often be a worry for students. Remember, universities have a wide range of initiatives to support and prepare students for a successful transition. It would be great to advise them to research such initiatives and put some time aside to consider the skills they may need to develop at university.

Most universities offer resources to help students to bridge the gap by offering help with note taking, critical analysis, literature review time management and more. Universities will also provide reading lists when a student starts their course - but students can often obtain these beforehand too if they ask.

Remind them that whilst studying independent at university is important, they’re not alone and have layers of academic and pastoral support services at their disposal which they should use.

Encourage students to have fun

University is not just about getting a degree; it is also about gaining new skills, experiences and making new friends! Encourage your students to get to know their students’ union and get involved with clubs, societies, gym, volunteering and union roles when they start. Also put a word in for Fresher’s week and online community groups which they can join before the course starts!

Enhancing employability

The summer before university can be a good time for students to get some work experience and help raise additional funds to support their first year. In addition, it is worth researching employment and placement opportunities at their chosen university. For example, by working as a student ambassador, students can continue to develop the skills they require to be successful after their graduation.

A note on reviews and appeals

Universities will try to be flexible in keeping places open for those who use the re-mark and appeals services but will have no guarantee their offers will be held after 31 August. If you know of any results likely to be subject to delay, let the university know in good time. For more information, visit the UCAS adviser webpages.

If you would like to learn more about supporting your student’s university journey, you can speak to universities directly, or check out the dates of upcoming university teacher and adviser conferences.

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