Congratulations – you’re off to uni! Now it’s time to start preparing for your move into higher education – whether you are moving away or staying at home.
Here we've collected guidance around studying, wellbeing, coming to the UK as an international student, individual needs, and more to help you make a great start.
Here are some tips to get you started, followed by a bunch of useful resources:
- Don't forget to check your emails - unis will be sending through lots of pre-arrival information and support, including invites to welcome events.
- Lookout for any online groups and communities you can join to meet others on your course before you arrive.
- Check out our social media (Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram) for info on upcoming live stream events, and our event listings for everything else.
- Also have a read of our blogs, which feature up-to-date student opinions on just about everything uni related.
- Resources for mature students can be found here.
- University Ready hub: a collection of resources from all of Wales' universities to help you get started with all aspects of higher education, wherever in the UK you plan to study.
Preparing for your studies
If you need more info about preparing for your studies, make sure to take a read of our dedicated advice page.
Studying in higher education can be quite different to the structure you’ll have experienced in school or college - you’ll be expected to be more independent and self-motivated. Use the summer to hone your study skills using the resources below.
- Supporting student transitions from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) will help you make the move into higher education, from blogs and webinars and resources helping you fill any skills and knowledge gapsQAA have launched resources to cover gaps in knowledge and skills
- Skills4Uni – a short online course from the University of Birmingham to guide students through the skills you’ll need for higher education – wherever you plan to study
- Preparing for university from FutureLearn/UEA – a MOOC to build the academic skills you need for university study
- Check resources on the uni website to see if they have any resources to support new students
- Ask about study skills sessions and catch-up sessions, workshops, etc
- Ask the uni about any study skills sessions, catch-ups, and workshops that will help you with any knowledge or skills gaps.
Living away from home, independence, and finances
If you are moving away from your friends and family, it can be a really exciting time to make new friends and explore your independence – but it helps to have some guidance along the way.
- Unite Students - Leapskills: preparing to live away from home - an interactive game to explore communal living and some of the challenges that might arise
- Unibuddy – chat to current students about their uni experiences
- Budget calculator – a handy tool to help you plan your finances
- Learn more about managing your finances.
- UCAS student discounts - get discounts and advice on the stuff you need to make uni affordable
- The UCAS accommodation hub – not only can you find somewhere to live, you can read lots of information and advice about student accommodation
- Getting support – find out where to get help and support if you have any problems
For many, starting university is an opportunity to make a fresh start, to discover who you are and make new friends. However, this isn't always easy, so these resources will help you to be your true self and make the most of your time at university.
- Follow UCAS' #LGBTatUni campaign on social media.
- Making the move to university: LGBTQ+ students – a guide from the Charlie Waller Trust.
- A guide to coming out as LGBTQ+ at university from Student Minds.
- A guide to coming out at university for trans students from LGBT Youth.
- Making the move to university: not fitting in from the Charlie Waller Trust offers guidance for anyone worried about not belonging.
- Check out the advice on the UCAS Blog.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing
Whether you want help to manage an existing mental health condition, or to get some general advice on looking after your wellbeing at uni, try these expert resources:
- The student mental health hub from Mind can help you settle in and adjust to your new life at university.
- Student Minds - Know Before You Go – if you’re still at school or college, this guide will help you get ready for the move into higher education
- Student Minds - Transition into university – A guide for new students giving lots of helpful tips for navigating university life
- Student Space – information, advice and services to help you with the challenges of student life during the COVID-19 pandemic
- How to Cope with Student Life from Mind explains how to look after your mental health as a student, with practical tips on how to get support
- Charlie Waller Trust - Starting university guide – a guide to coping with the social aspects of student life, from living with new people to joining clubs and societies
- The 'Making the move to university' guides from the Charlie Waller Trust include specific guidance for students who are care experienced, LGBT+, young carers, those who have had adverse childhood experiences, who feel like they don't fit in, and international students.
- Kooth: Find out what student mental wellbeing support is available for you. 1.8 million students can now access free, safe, and anonymous mental health support online (providing NHS services). Check availability in your area.
- Read more about the mental health and wellbeing support available in higher education
There is a wide variety of resources available in HE to help students achieve their full potential - including support for personal circumstances and individual needs (e.g. if you are care experienced, a carer or estranged from your parents), so speak to your uni to find out how they can help.
Remember: your information is always treated confidentially and you are fully in control. If you decide you don't need the support, that’s fine – but it's there just in case you change your mind or your circumstances change in the future.
If you are disabled, have a mental health condition, or a learning difference
If you have not already shared a condition or impairment with your uni, it's not too late. Contact the student support team or wellbeing team to find out more. Remember, you are fully in control, so if you decide you don't need the support, that's fine - it's there just in case your circumstances change. This info is kept confidential and only shared with your consent.
You can also check if you are eligible for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) which can help you cover any additional study-related costs.
International students - UKCISA resources:
We look forward to welcoming international students to the UK! Get ready for this exciting new step with these practical guides from UKCISA:
- Preparing for your arrival to the UK
- Study skills for success
- Facing culture shock
- Travel to your institution
Also check out:
- The British Council’s guide to Moving to the UK
- Information and advice for international students from UCAS
- Read the Charlie Waller Trust's guide for international student Making the move to university: looking after your mental health