7 Things Every Uni Student Should Know Before They Start

There are lots of things to think about when heading off to university, and many preparations to make ahead of your first semester. To help you plan for uni life, here are eight things you should know before you start.

1. How to set up a student bank account

There are lots of advantages to opening a student bank account. As well as offering easy access to your finances, they usually feature benefits such as interest-free overdrafts and other perks. The main high street banks offer student accounts and it’s worth shopping around for offers. Make sure you know the repayment terms of any overdraft facility and be aware that the bank might need to access your personal data in order to carry out a background check.

2. Your university’s admission requirements

It’s important to be aware of any admission requirements, especially if you’re applying to an overseas university. Colleges and universities in certain countries, such as the US, often carry out background checks on applicants. So, some students like to opt out from background checking sites. In the UK, a DBS check will only usually be carried out if you’re applying to courses that involve dealing with children or vulnerable people, such as education and healthcare. 

3. The terms of your student accommodation

Whether you are staying in halls or renting accommodation off-campus, it’s a good idea to read the terms of the lease, so you understand your rights and obligations. For privately rented properties, you should ensure you know about paying the bills, including council tax, as well as the lease expiry date. That way, you can make arrangements for your second year well ahead of time.

4. The availability of student discounts

One of the great things about being a uni student is that you can claim all kinds of discounts on shopping, restaurants, entertainment and travel. This can save you serious money over the length of your course. Consider signing up for a TOTUM card, which also works as a proof of age ID for gaining access to pubs and clubs.  

5. What clubs and societies the uni offers

If you have any sports, leisure or cultural interests, there’s a good chance there will be a university club or society with members who share your passion. This can be a great way to meet new people and it can also look good on your CV if you become actively involved. If you have an interest that doesn’t have a dedicated club or society, you could even start one yourself.

6. The location of local medical services

If you’re moving away from your hometown, you may need to think about signing up with a local GP surgery to help with any health needs that arise during term-time. Your uni website may have a list of medical services and local specialist clinics, or you can search the NHS website. Other health-related things to think about include vaccinations, such as flu and Covid-19, and contraception.

7. The requirements of your course

While you might be busy getting up to speed with the social side of uni life and exploring a new city, don’t forget to prepare for your studies. Check out the reading lists for your modules and take some time to explore your subject library services, as well as the location of your lecture halls.

8. How to find support

Finally, while uni can be a great experience, you might run into problems along the way. From mental health concerns and homesickness to bullying and issues with your course instructors, it is important to find out what official and voluntary support services are offered by your uni and to speak up if something arises.