This is the ultimate last-minute guide to preparing for university. Get the checklist so you don't forget any essentials!
Whether you applied to university through Clearing and haven’t had much time to prepare, or you’ve simply spent the summer playing Fifa rather than thinking about September, it’s time to get down to business. We’re talking about preparing for university.
We’ve already written guides on the essentials you need to pack, and we trust that most of you won’t forget your underwear, phone and wallet, so we won’t mention those in this article. This, fellow procrastinators, is an alternative guide to getting ready for university so that September runs a little more smoothly. It’s time to get organised.
1. Learn to cook
Ah, the task you’ve been putting off all summer as you depended solely on Pot Noodles. But you know what has more flavour than a Bombay Bad Boy? Home cooking.
Stuck on where to start? Check out our top simple student recipes, and then add a little flair. Is mac and cheese your favourite, or how about curry, stir fry or scrambled eggs? Pick a couple of recipes and practice them weekly. Ask your friends and family for tips, or turn to YouTube for ideas. When cooking for yourself, you want to avoid brown and beige foods as they’re often unhealthy and processed.
2. Rethink the essentials
Chances are you’ve left it too late for a trip to Wilko or IKEA. But even if you haven’t, the other students will have beaten you to it. Essentials like cheese graters, bedding and those oh-so-aesthetic neon decorations always sell out around move-in day. But never fear - chances are, you’ll be greeted with multiple toasters, kettles and cutlery when you arrive, and most students are willing to share.
Instead, bring food you can share with your flatmates as they won’t have space for real essentials in a car loaded with gadgets. Plus, to guarantee instant friendship, pack biscuits, bread and a big box of teabags. You’ll be able to bond over a warming cuppa, and, as the year goes on, you’ll discover that the ultimate university essential is an epic fancy dress costume.
3. Consider your room
Let’s be real - student accommodation isn’t luxurious. You’ll be greeted with a single bed and a mere drawer or two to store all your belongings. Luckily for you procrastinators, less is more. Find out what’s included in your room and prepare for that. There’s no point in buying a double duvet set, as aesthetic as it may be, to find out that you can’t use it on your single bed.
4. Register at the doctors
Register with a GP at your new address while you’re still at home, as there’s often a rush once you get there. Plus, you’ll have your family to help out if you’re stuck on how to register. Trust us, you’re at university, it’ll slip to the bottom of your priority list.
And speaking of doctors, make sure you’re up-to-date with those doctor’s appointments you’ve been putting off. You won’t have time to think about this once Freshers Week has begun, so whether it’s vaccinations (think meningitis and MMR), STI tests or ordering a repeat prescription, so you’ve got enough to tide you over, make sure to get it sorted before you head off.
5. Get your finances in order
This may sound like a grand leap into the adult world, but it can’t be overlooked. After all, you’re about to live on your own, so you need to nail this. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Apply for student finance; you can apply up to nine months after the first day of your course, but it’s best to do this ASAP. Your loan will include tuition (paid directly to your university) and your maintenance (what you’ve got to play with for food, accommodation, nights out and toiletries).
- Apply for a student bank account. This will give you an interest-free overdraft and, while you shouldn’t spend money you don’t have, it is often unavoidable as a student.
- Work out a weekly budget. Calculate your incoming and outgoing cash and work out if you need to supplement your loan with a part-time job. To rein in your spending, check out the best apps for budgeting.
- Make a note of all the places that offer student discounts to make the most of your (fairly limited) cash.
6. Meet your flatmates virtually
In the lead-up to Fresher Week, you might receive the contact information of your flatmates. Start a group chat to get to know everyone - it’ll make moving in less daunting. You can also coordinate what you’re each going to bring (remember what we said before about multiple toasters and cutlery sets?)
Are you looking forward to university? Join the Student Pulse and let us know. Plus, you’ll get 1,000 points for signing up.