The hardest part of uni isn’t getting accepted. Plan now to make sure student life is all you dream it will be
You’ve spent so long applying to universities and studying for exams, and now you’ve finally been accepted. Congratulations! Now the real work begins. We don’t want to scare you, but preparing for university doesn’t stop once you get you’re a-Level results
Moving to a new town or city and starting an entirely new phase of education takes careful planning if you want to make a success of it. Of course, nothing is guaranteed to go to plan, but if you’ve prepared properly you’ll be ready for all the things university can throw at you, good and bad (and they’re mostly good). Follow our simple guide below to get yourself ready for university life.
Learn about your university
Every university offers a unique experience and unique options for their students. Make sure that the place you accept can give you everything you need to start building your bright future. It might be that you want to live in the centre of a vibrant city, like London, Glasgow or Manchester, or maybe a more intimate campus community is more your style. The same course might be dramatically different depending on the university, for example, one Art course might be more practical, another school’s more theoretical. Research your uni and course choices thoroughly, and visit as many as you can to see what they’re like with your own eyes.
Pick the brains of a current student
Email the admissions office or use social networking sites to get in touch with current students at your choice colleges. Many will be happy to give you plenty of information about courses, student life, accommodation and the campuses location. This is no time to be shy, so consider it practise for the social tidal wave that is freshers week.
Choose your classes early
You probably won’t be able to select the classes you want to take until the first week of lectures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t research the options and circle the ones that appeal to you. Being able to make immediate decisions will give you a jump on others who are yet to make up their minds, meaning you’re more likely to get a spot on the more popular classes.
A bit of structure in your first year will make it go so much more smoothly. You have a lot of new freedoms, but allowing yourself too much licence will only result in overlong lie-ins, missed lectures, and last minute cram sessions in the library. Plan when you’re going to study and complete assignments, and fit your social obligations around that. Don’t forget that you’ll need to plan things out financially as well once your student loans come in – in most cases you’ll get one payment to stretch out over the course of your year, so having a plan in place is vital to ensuring you have a pain-free experience first time round.
Plan for a culture shock
Be kind to yourself. There is a huge difference between secondary school and university. You have more freedom, but also more responsibilities, and the level of work required of you is much higher (one reason why the first year doesn’t count towards your degree mark. It takes a year to get into the swing of it!). On top of that, none of the familiar securities are there, like family and friends. Give yourself permission to break down every now and then, take a break, moan to your new friends (who will be experiencing the same thing), and try again in the morning. If you feel too overwhelmed, speak to your tutor or student doctors, that’s what they’re there for.
If you really want to get a head start on university, by getting a taste of what level of work is expected of you, nothing can be more effective than completing a summer school programme. Immerse Education summer school in Cambridge offers university level courses taught by world class university tutors. You’ll engage in class lectures and discussions, put your newly acquired knowledge to good use, and give yourself a running start for September. The location of the summer school is Cambridge University, so you’ll also get a taste of student life outside the lecture hall. What could be better preparation for your new life?