Starting University: The Big To-Do List

Friday, 8 Sep 2017

Starting University

Starting university is undoubtedly one of the most exciting times in your life, as you move away from home and begin a more independent life as a young adult. You’re probably dreaming about all the fun you‘re going to have during Fresher’s week and all the new friends you will make. But don’t spend too much time with your head in the clouds as there are lots of things you need to get sorted before starting university. Follow Send My Bag’s checklist for starting university to make sure you don’t miss anything out.


1. Sort Out Your Finances
Starting University: Sort Finances

Going to university is an expensive business that few people can afford without securing student finance to cover tuition fees and maintenance costs. So make sure your tuition fee loan is in order and due to be paid to the university, and that your maintenance loan will arrive on time for you to pay for important things like accommodation. You should also make sure you have set up a student bank account into which the student loans company can pay your maintenance grant. Set up a bank account with a decent interest-free overdraft in case overspending is inevitable. Also look out for any perks offered by the different banks and decide which would benefit you most, without ignoring the small print about what you are signing up to.

2. Arrange Accommodation
Starting University: Sort Accommodation

Like your student loan, you will probably have sorted your student accommodation already. But, if you have only just secured a university place through Clearing you need to make sure you have somewhere to live come Fresher’s week. Most universities are able to offer their first-year students a room in university accommodation, which is a good option for getting to know your fellow students. Alternatively, you could approach a letting agency to find your own accommodation off campus. If you do, make sure you are aware of your rights and duties as a tenant.

3. Make a Start on Your Reading List
Starting University: Reading List

Don’t think that your university work will only start once Fresher’s week is over. You should look out for reading lists relating to your course, either online or distributed by email. You don’t need to read everything on the list before you arrive at university but you should try to make some headway. This means you will have knowledge to draw upon when classes and tutorials start, and you won’t feel so overwhelmed once your studies begin in earnest.

4. Make Essential Purchases
Starting University: Make Purchases

There may be a number of items you currently share with your other family members, such as a computer, toiletries, hair dryer, towels, etc., that you will need to purchase for yourself when starting university. It is especially important to have your own laptop to bring to university, as you will be using it to conduct research, to write up papers and essays, to communicate with people at home, to watch TV and films, and to listen to music. Note that if you plan to watch TV on your laptop you may also need to purchase a TV licence. Make sure you have some good headphones to go with your laptop, plus a camera to facilitate video calls. There will also be some key texts that you need to purchase for your course, especially if you want to get started on your reading list. You don’t need to spend a fortune on these, however, as past students will likely be selling theirs second hand online.

5. Learn Some Important Skills
Starting University: Learn Skills

If you have always relied on your parents for their cooking, cleaning and laundry skills, now is the time to soak up as much of their knowledge as possible. Learn the basics of cleaning and laundry and get your parents to teach you a few simple meals that you can prepare for yourself once you are let loose on your student kitchen. Another valuable skill is how to budget money effectively, so that all the important costs are covered and you don’t rely too heavily on your student overdraft.

6. Book Train/ Plane Tickets
Starting University: Book Tickets

Make sure you are actually able to get to university on time by booking your plane or train tickets as soon as possible. Make sure you shop around to get the best price and be aware that, if you know your return date, it may be cheaper to purchase a return ticket.

7. Look into Your New Area
Starting University: Research Area

Work out how you will get from the airport/ train station to your halls of residence and assess the difficulty of getting there with a suitcase in tow. You should also locate the closest doctor surgery, dentist, and supermarket so you aren’t completely lost in the first few weeks should emergency strike. It is also a good idea to note down restaurants, bars and cafes that have been rated highly so you are able to suggest somewhere for you and your new university friends to socialise.

8. Pack
Starting University: Pack

Once you have bought everything you need to bring with you to university, it’s time to begin the daunting task of packing. This is much more complicated than packing for a holiday, so check out our guide on what to bring to university to make sure you don’t miss anything out. Make sure you bring plenty of items to make your student room feel homely, such as photos of friends and family, and soft throws and cushions. Click here to find more advice on creating a home away from home.

9. Ship Your Luggage
Starting University: Ship Luggage

Especially if you are travelling by public transport, you will struggle to fit everything you need into a manageable piece of luggage. This is why, when starting university, it is a godsend to be able to send your luggage with Send My Bag to your student accommodation. You can easily send everything you need across several suitcases and boxes and have them arrive at your halls of residence. This means that all you really need to travel with is one small hand bag or backpack. Sending your luggage is a no-brainer, as it costs as little as £16 to send a massive 30 kg within the UK.

10. Say Goodbye to Family and Friends
Starting University: Say Goodbye

Do your duty and say goodbye to family members and close friends before starting university. You could even organise a few separate get-togethers so you can say goodbye to several people at once. You could arrange a night out with school friends, go out for lunch with your besties, and have a home-cooked meal with your extended family.

Once you have worked your way through our to-do list, you should be fully equipped for starting university. Are you a parent with a child starting university this autumn? Check out our parents’ guide to getting your child ready for university

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