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3 min read
22nd May 2018

Preparing For University

Preparing For University: Advice for College & Sixth Form Students

students lounging

If you’re currently a college or sixth form student studying your A-levels/AS-levels/BTEC etc you may be considering going to University soon. This can be a daunting time and the transition from college/sixth form to University is probably the biggest step most students will go through.

Up until now you have probably been living with your parents and will have to deal with the challenges of living away from home for the first time along with the academic challenges that come with starting a University degree. With this article we provide advice on the application process and look at some of the ways you can prepare for University; to help make the transition easier.

Choosing the right University/Course

Have a good read through the course introduction/summary for each university/course you’re applying for. Most of them will list the modules that you’ll be studying if you’re accepted and will also give you an idea about the teaching style/focus of the course. Once you’ve narrowed down your options a bit (the location/ city you want to study in will probably play a part in your decision making process as well) you should use the University ranking tables and open days to get a better understanding of existing student’s feelings about the course and what the campus looks like.

You'll have probably been told all about UCAS at your college/sixth form. The UCAS site is definitely one of the best place for advice before starting university. They’re not only the place to go for advice on your Course applications but they also have a wealth of advice on other aspects of starting university. They also provide advice on alternatives to Higher Education. As with any new step, it’s important to access whether university is the right step for you. £9,000 is a big investment so don’t be afraid to consider starting work, apprenticeships and training or even taking a gap year.

Finding part time work

The obvious advantage of finding work while you’re at University is that you hopefully won’t have to make as big a dent in your student overdraft as you might without a job. But what’s even more beneficial is the work experience; for the more fiercely competitive job roles and grad schemes you’ll be applying to after University, having worked alongside your studies demonstrates a strong work ethic and good time management. Even better if you can find work that loosely relates to the career you want to go in to.

Get Student Insurance

Your possessions may not be insured when you move away under your parents home insurance...
Check if there’s an insurance policy provided by the accommodation you’re moving in to and if there is, check the cover is suitable e.g. check that your mobile phone is covered or check that your laptop will be covered if you take it to the library or if you travel home with it during term time etc.

For more information Click here.

Other preparations

  • Learn how to cook- You might be in catered accommodation for the first year, but at some point you’re going to have to cook for yourself. Practising some simple recipes now will pay off in the long run and stop you getting take-aways too often when you’re at Uni , which isn’t good for your health or your bank balance.
  • Learn how to budget- Money (or lack thereof) is by far the biggest learning curve for new students. Getting into the habit of writing down your spending and assessing your habits will prevent you from running out of money.
  • Relax- You’re never going to be able to prepare for Uni completely, there’s always going to be some curve balls and surprises thrown in there and things you’d never thought about. Just go with an open mind and the rest will take care of itself.
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