University survival pack: tips for studying, socialising and budgeting

We have a wealth of articles on how to navigate your time at university, which we've put into one huge, helpful guide to get you started

September 18 2017
university survival pack

The start of the new university term is finally here. Whether you are heading to university for the first time or are a returner, here are a series of articles to help you get the most out of every aspect of university life.


Getting an education should hopefully be one of the main reasons why you came to university. It is well documented that there is a huge difference between how you are taught at school and how you are taught at university. At school, teachers will be more involved in your learning, whereas at university you have to be more self-directed and take your learning into your own hands. Blogger Charlie Pullen explains the differences in teaching methods between school and university and how you could be doing yourself and your peers a disservice if you aren't proactive with your learning. 

Sometimes it is difficult to stay on top of all of your studies and the pressure of getting a good grade can get a bit too much. But fear not, Oscar winner and Harvard University graduate Natalie Portman is on hand to shed some light on how to manage your perfectionism at university. On a similar note, it's also easy to bend under the pressure of being at university so here are some helpful strategies that can help you to manage any feelings of pressure. 

It could be said that it is just as important to make a good impression on your university tutors as it is your peers. They are after all going to be educating you for the next three years and they can help you to get ahead in your studies. Here is a helpful guide on what tutors are looking for and and how to make a good impression on your university tutor.

Another tip that can help you with your studies is using an academic learning diary. This can be a way of recording the things you learn and helping to develop your ideas and form opinions about the things you read and discuss with your fellow students.  

university students studying


Next stop: money. Managing your finances at university is tricky but once you've mastered it, it can make all the difference to your university experience. Try not to be that student who spends their entire student loan in the first two weeks of term and has to live on cheap packet noodles for the remaining eight weeks. 

The first thing to do is to open a student bank account. Even if you already have a bank account or have previously opened a student bank account, it's still worth shopping around at the beginning of every academic year to find the best deals. Some banks will offer free railcards, coach cards or cashback at various retailers so it's worth comparing what each bank is offering. Luckily for you we've compiled a guide to student bank accounts in the UK to help you work out which is the best one for you this year. 

We also have tips for managing money when you have budgeting blues and even more help and advice about handling student finance here.

Putting money in piggy banks


If you're still struggling to find accommodation and are starting to panic slightly, make sure you check out these tips for finding student accommodation to make the process as stress-free as possible. 

Before you get to university you need to know what to pack and what you should leave at home. To make sure you take only the essentials and leave behind those that won't be so useful, use this guide here for packing for university: items you do and do not need. In terms of the logistics of packing and how to transport your belongings from home to university use this ultimate guide to moving to university to help you out with that. 

Once you're at university and you've settled in to your room, you'll be meeting lots of new people and this can be terrifying. Just take a deep breath and look at these five ways to make friends at university, which can be used throughout your time there. 

One way of making friends is to learn a few recipes and share the cooking with your flat mates. Here are five steps to eating well at university to make sure that your diet does not consist solely of oven chips, chicken dippers and takeaways. 

Once you've settled in you might find yourself becoming overwhelmed with managing other aspects of your university life. Well, these five mobile apps for students can help you to manage your finances, studies and to even find work, should you need to. 

And don't be alarmed if you somehow find yourself feeling homesick while at university. It can happen to anyone, no matter how independent you are and can strike at any time. Here are some ways to help you deal with homesickness at university.

eating well at university

Advice from current students and graduates

And finally, who better to give you advice about going to university than students and recent graduates themselves? We've collated some of the best advice we've seen on our #THEUniAdvice thread on Twitter right here: #THEUniAdvice: social media campaign reveals top college tipsand have pulled together the top 10 university hacks from some of the UK’s most successful students and graduates.

For some further advice from students from France, Australia, India and the US watch this video below. If you send in your own video to about what you wish you had known before you started university, you could win a £350 smart watch! 

If you are looking for even more student blogs or advice pieces check out a selection of some below: 

My advice for prospective students
Making the most of your university experience
Four things you need to do to survive university
What to expect at university
Five tips to make the most of your university experience
17 books you should read before (or at) university – chosen by students

Hope this has all been helpful and best of luck in your first few weeks of university! Just remember that everyone is in the same boat as you and just try to enjoy the experience as much as you can. 

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