Your guide to starting university life

From leaving home to making new friends and pursuing your dreams, university can be the most exciting time of your life. We look at what you need to consider before stepping into the world of higher education.

If you’re thinking of attending university next year you are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys in your life. The move from home to university is filled with freedom and new experiences but it is important to be prepared so that you can enjoy this time.

Finding the right fit

Along with learning to do your own washing, picking the right course and university for you is essential.

Open days are a great way to learn more about individual universities, their campuses, courses and student life. Some universities will still be organising normal open days, but this year you will have the option to explore most campuses virtually. Take a look at what education providers are holding online open days.

You might already have an idea of what you want to study, too, but speaking to your school’s careers advisor can be extremely beneficial.

They have the expertise to tell you what university is right for you, what courses you qualify for and any other experience that could help you get in. It’s good to think about activities in addition to your academic studies like part-time work and volunteering opportunities when deciding what you want to study. Thinking about the topics that you feel passionate about can help you decide what course is right for you.


Choosing where you will live is one of the most exciting parts of going to university – hello, independence. Staying in student accommodation allows you to have the full university experience and make lifelong friends.

Before you look at student accommodation, think about your budget for things like rent, bills, and food to understand what you can afford.

Consider how many people you want to live with, if you would like your own bathroom and how close you want to stay to your university. Plus, take into consideration the distance away from home if you do get home sick!

Most universities have their own student halls, but you can also book private halls that are often more upmarket and provide social spaces for you to meet other new students.

My Student Accommodation is a student hall search engine, giving you the chance to look at all of the accommodation available to you.

Change in pace

While university is still full-time education, the way you learn is different from school. Your time could be split between lectures, seminars, tutorials and placements depending on your course – remember, some of this might still be online once you start.

This can seem like a big transition, but completing assignments in plenty of time and asking for help when you need it will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Before you know it, you will be waving goodbye to your family as you head out on your next adventure: University.

FIND OUT MORE: UCAS and Prospects provide guidance on the transition to university.

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