After Results Day – Get Ready for Uni
As soon as your university place has been confirmed, you will begin receiving messages about registration, course or module choices, accommodation and Fresher’s or Welcome Week information. This will probably be from your academic department, the University Registry (central administration) and perhaps the Student Body (e.g. NUS and Students’ Union).
Most Universities will have a dedicated website (e.g. UniversityX.ac.uk/welcome) and moderated Facebook group for new students. Get to know your university and fellow students before you arrive – visit your university and student's union online, and join the Facebook group.
Carefully read information about your enrolment. Be sure you understand what you need to do and when, and what documents you'll need. You must sift, prioritise and read everything carefully. Some mail will be more immediately important and must be responded to promptly.
If you gain a university place, change your course or university through Clearing, you must inform your student finance company immediately. Always make sure that the student finance company has your up-to-date contact and bank account details.
- Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) – contact the SAAS and let them have your change of details.
- Student Finance England (SFE) – apply online or, if you’ve already applied for financial support and your course/university details have changed, log onto your online account. Remember that you need to sign and print off your final declaration (go to My Account/View Correspondence).
- Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI) – inform the people who deal with your student finance application of any changes (usually your local authority). If you haven’t yet applied, do it now.
- Student Finance Wales (SFW) – you don’t need a confirmed place on a specific course or at a particular university to apply for your student funding. Choose the course you are most likely to attend and if this changes, amend the details online.
If your university place was confirmed as a result of satisfying your offer, much of the admin work will have been completed already.
You will probably have made your choices about accommodation and simply need to confirm decisions at this stage.
Nevertheless, your signatures (or online confirmation) may be required and you must read the small print relating to all contracts. They are important.
Understand the payment methods – you may be given options. Note the date you are required to arrive. Make sure your email account supplied to UCAS is up to date and is able to receive bulk emails, and that your University’s address (UniversityX.ac.uk) is in your 'trusted sender' lists.
If your university place has been confirmed AFTER A-level results and/or via Clearing, you may be starting the accommodation process for the first time (or with a new university).
- Many people will be in this situation and universities will normally be well prepared.
- Most guarantee to find you accommodation in your first year. Maximise your chances by responding promptly to all correspondence via email or online.
- Choices at this late stage are likely to be limited and you may have to settle for what is offered, unless you wish to find your own accommodation. The Complete University Guide view is that university-managed or university-owned accommodation is best in first year if you are planning to live away from home.
- University accommodation brings you into contact with other new university students and is always regarded as a good choice for new students as it helps you settle in quickly.
- Check all the details of the small print of any contract before you sign up. You can also check out the National Code at www.nationalcode.org if you have any doubts.
- Read more about Where to Live at University.
All this takes place at high speed in August/September. It may feel a little stressful as you will be doing this for the first time, but it really is a case of systematically working through the process.
Your parents may wish to share this with you and if they are guarantor in any contracts, it is reasonable and right that they get involved. Another pair of eyes is always a good idea when navigating the legalese.
Universities do things differently but all aim to help you settle in quickly and ensure that your new environment is both safe and secure as well as fun.
You may have a Residential Advisor or Residence Tutor who is there to give pastoral support. These people are worth seeking out, as they may be good contacts for part-time work, events, news and key tips and advice.
Keys, or access cards to property (university or private sector) are always treated seriously. You will be expected to take care of your keys and replacements are deliberately made punitively expensive.
You may want to take out room contents insurance or insure separately a bike, tablet or laptop. This has to be done independently, although you should check that your possessions are not covered by your parents’ insurance before you take out a separate policy. Read more about insurance for students.
If you haven’t already opened a bank account, you can do this as soon as you receive your UCAS confirmation letter confirming your university place. Banks will ask for sight of this. Find out if there is a branch on or close to campus, it may make things easier. Setting up your account before you arrive on campus may save time in queues.
Budgeting and managing your money
Dull though it may sound, it's really worth working out a budget. You'll know your minimum income for the year and how much you have to spend. Although difficult at times, sticking to a budget stops you overspending, reduces financial worries and gives you a good idea of how much the following years at university will cost. Get advice on Managing Your Money and Budgeting, or read Student Finance Survival Tips.
Student Rail/Coach Cards
Student Rail/Coach Cards are good value for money even if you don’t think you need one at first. A three-year deal may also save money and you can normally get a replacement if you lose it. Your University town or city may also offer cheap discounted public transport cards.
Bringing your own car
Running a car is very expensive at university as your insurance may skyrocket, and petrol and parking costs may also come as a shock. Most universities do not offer guaranteed free parking on or close to campus and you may not be able to park a car (apart from unloading your stuff) next to university accommodation. If you do bring a car, be prepared to be a taxi service for your new friends!
Read more about Results Day and Clearing or accommodation.
Next page: Ten Essentials to Take to University