Guide to starting university in the UK

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Guide to starting university in the UK

What you need to know before going to university in the UK: 13 top tips

Coming to university in the UK is full of exciting experiences but it can be nerve wracking too. There is a lot to learn about university life, so we’ve picked our top tips for new students to help you settle in quickly.

Make use of student discounts

As a student in the UK, you are entitled to discounts in many shops and restaurants. Signing up to UNiDAYS online will give you discount codes to a whole range of products and services.  It is always worth showing your student ID and asking whether a student discount is available even if it is not advertised – it could save you a few pounds!

Register at the local doctor

This one is easy to forget in the busyness and excitement of student life, so we recommend registering at your university’s GP during your first week. Hopefully you won’t need to visit the doctor whilst at university, but registering early means you can access medical help easily if you ever require it.

Buy a railcard

If you plan to travel around the UK on your weekends or holidays whilst at university, buying a young persons railcard can save you a lot of money on transportation. Railcards are available for 16–25-year-olds. They cost £30 per year but will allow you to save a third of the ticket price every time you travel by rail. There is so much to see and do in the UK so you can definitely make good use of one!

Purchase contents insurance

Getting contents insurance will ensure that your belongings are safe during your time at university. Some students may already have contents insurance as part of their accommodation package, so it is worth checking this with your university. If insurance is not included, this guide to cheap contents insurance for students is a great place to find some.

Keep doors open

Living in university accommodation provides a great opportunity to make friends with other students. One of the best ways to form new friendships in the first few days is simply to keep your door open! This will show other students in your accommodation that you are friendly, sociable, and willing to meet new people. Making friends at university will make your student experience much more enjoyable.

Learn to cook

Being able to cook is an important life skill and starting university is the perfect time to get practicing. You don’t need to have loads of experience in the kitchen or fancy ingredients to start cooking. All you need are a few quick recipes that are easy to follow. Student cookbooks are full of simple, inexpensive meals and you can find lots of recipe ideas online too.

Keep a note of your new address

It’s a simple tip, but you never know when you’ll need it. Having your address saved in your phone means you will always have it on hand and can be useful if you’re getting a taxi home or if you ever need to fill out your personal details.

Attend social events

Beginning university can be daunting but remember that all new students are just as nervous as each other. If you are invited to a social event – just say yes! Nightclubs and parties are not for everybody but there are plenty of other opportunities for socialising at university. Organise a movie night with your flatmates or go for a walk to explore your new city together.


Managing money is an important part of university life. As an adult you are responsible for budgeting. Planning out how much you want to spend each week before you get to university can help you stay on track with spending. It will help you to ensure that you don’t run out of money before the end of each month. Bear in mind that some cities in the UK are more expensive than others – living costs in places such as London or Edinburgh are likely to be higher than if you are in a smaller town.

Buy a planner

Before classes begin, it’s a great idea to buy a planner for the academic year. Between classes, assignments and social occasions, university life can get very busy, so writing everything down can help you stay organised and make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines.

Find your university on social media

Most universities have social media platforms which are great for keeping up to date with important information. You can also use them to find out about events that may be taking place on campus. Some universities have designated Facebook pages for new students which allow you to connect with your future classmates too.

Set up a bank account

If you don’t already have one, setting up a UK bank account will make life much easier when you’re starting university in the UK. Most banks will allow you to set up a student bank account which offer additional features. It is not compulsory to have a student account at university, but we definitely recommend that you do! Monzo is a great bank for international students – simply follow the link and download the Monzo app to get started. Alternatively,  you can find out more information about how to set up a UK bank account here.

Ask for help!

It is very normal to be worried or even a little overwhelmed when you’re starting university in the UK, but you don’t need to feel alone. There are lots of people who are here to support you. Your lecturers and tutors can help you if you are struggling with coursework or assignments, but you can also approach them with other issues you may be dealing with at university. Academic Families are also here to help with any concerns or worries you have. The team are always on standby, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!

This article appears in the following categories  Students

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