How to prepare for university
Preparing for university can seem like a daunting process. But, don’t stress – we’ve broken it all down into just a few easy steps.
Are you heading to university soon? When you’re not experiencing the mood swings between excitement and anxiety, it’s important to take a moment to prepare for uni.
Being ready to start uni will help you set off on the right foot. From picking the right student bank account to learning some essential life skills, here are the key things to do before uni.
1. Open a student bank account
Possibly the most important thing to do before going to university is open a student bank account. There are two good reasons for this.For starters, you’ll need a bank account to get your Maintenance Loan. Without it, you won’t be able to receive the crucial funding that most students rely on.Secondly, unlike regular bank accounts, student bank accounts come with fee- and interest-free overdrafts. This means that during your time at uni (and for a short while afterwards, when it becomes a graduate bank account), you can use your overdraft without having to pay for the privilege.Head to our comparison of the best student bank accounts and see what other benefits you could land (hint: free cash, Railcards and gift cards).
2. Apply for funding
We mentioned the Maintenance Loan a moment ago, which is one of the main sources of cash for students. While we’d definitely recommend applying for a Student Loan, you shouldn’t stop there.Our research consistently finds that the Maintenance Loan isn’t enough to live on. There are so many extra types of funding out there and, in most cases, it’s down to you to apply for it. There are bursaries for students who meet certain criteria, like coming from a low-income background or excelling at a certain subject.
3. Create a budget
We’re all about saving money here at Save the Student. So, there was no way we’d do this list without advising you to create a budget. Given how busy you’ll be during freshers’ week, you should get your budget sorted before you start uni.Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a drag. We’ve got a guide to budgeting as a student that should make it as easy as pie.
4. Decide what to pack for university
No matter how much you’re preparing for uni, all of your plans could unravel if you don’t pack correctly.We’re not just talking about forgetting to pack things, either. So many students are guilty of overpacking, which will eventually clutter up their uni rooms with stuff they won’t look twice at after unpacking.Fortunately, we’re here to help. Our tried-and-tested checklist of what to take to uni features everything you need to pack and, perhaps more importantly, leaves out everything you don’t.
5. Find out where you’ll be living
By this stage, you’ve hopefully already applied for accommodation (if not, get on it quickly!).If you’ve been given a place, or you’ve found a home to privately rent, look into the area around your university accommodation and do some research. This way, you’ll be familiar with your surroundings when you arrive. And if you’re driving, it’s also a wise move to scout out the route and where you can leave your car. You don’t want to pick up a parking fine.
6. Join student Facebook groups
As part of your university preparation, it’s worth finding some student Facebook groups. There will almost certainly be groups for freshers at your uni to get to know each other, typically with specific ones for different courses and uni halls.In fact, even if there aren’t, you’re always welcome to join our Facebook deals group.Get involved with as many as you feel apply to you. You’ll soon feel part of the community before you’ve even arrived.
7. Get a student laptop
A laptop is right up there with the most important things to pack for uni. And because of this, retailers will be running all kinds of offers in the weeks and months before uni starts. We know that they can be expensive purchases (not to mention confusing, if you don’t really understand all the jargon), which is why we’ve put together our guide to the best student laptops.
As well as selecting the top buys, we’ve outlined what the technical terms mean, and the level of spec you should look for. Take advantage of the back-to-uni sales. And, don’t forget to check out our deals section to see if there are any special offers on laptops.
8. Learn some cooking skills
We’ve all heard the stereotype that students live off pot noodles and baked beans. Admittedly, there are some incredible (and, dare we say, gourmet) baked beans recipes. But, you could still try some more adventurous dishes.The key to becoming a talented chef is to nail the easy parts. Making sure you’re fully stocked with these kitchen cupboard essentials is a big part of that.Take some time to master some basic cooking skills. Learning how to season properly, for example, can be the difference between a 6/10 dish and a 10/10 masterpiece.Once you’re more comfortable in the kitchen, you’ll be able to try more recipes. Our student meal plan should see you through 28 days, covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, all the while treating you to delicious and nutritious meals.
9. Learn how to do laundry
Alongside the whole ‘only eating baked beans’ stereotype, the other big student trope is that they don’t know how to do their own washing and just take their laundry home to their parents. This might be true for some students, but don’t let it be you. Doing this kind of thing is fundamental to gaining your independence and surviving uni. So, learning how to do laundry is a big part of preparing for university.Our guide on how to use a washing machine has everything you need to know. From which compartments you need to use in the drawer to what the symbols on clothing labels mean, we’ve got you covered.