Top tips for freshers’ week
Advice for moving to student halls, freshers’ week and beyond, so your start to uni is a success!
Freshers’ week is your chance to meet new people, get to know your university and new home, and have fun! Our top tips will give you a good idea of how to make the most of it and what to expect.
Before you arrive
Get familiar with your university by looking through the welcome emails sent to you. You should be able to find your timetable online and see what other information is already available. Follow your university’s various social media channels for the latest information and advice before and throughout your first year.
You can buy kit such as stationary or kitchenware before arriving for freshers’ week, but you don’t need to get everything. It’ll be easy enough to sort things out when you’re there.
When you get there
Arrive as soon as you can, once you’re allowed to move into your halls of residence. This means you’ll start making friends earlier and can check out the surroundings before everyone arrives. Get unpacked early – you’ll be busy in the days that follow, so it’s a good idea to make your place as comfortable as possible from the get-go.
You can begin settling in by getting to know the area. Start with your halls – where’s the laundry room, reception, friend’s flat, bar? Then, move on to your wider surroundings. Think along the lines of: where are you going to do a ‘proper’ food shop? What will be your route to lectures? How much is living in this city really going to cost you?
It may seem scary at first, but remember that everyone is in a similar boat. They are all new to the university and looking to make friends. Say hello and chat to other students when you’re queuing to register or waiting to enter a lecture. Most will appreciate you making the first move!
In your student halls, try not to shut yourself away in your room while your new flatmates get to know each other – get out and introduce yourself. Keep your door open when everyone is moving in, and offer help if they need it. Be present and friendly, especially in the first few days – the awkwardness will ease in no time!
Freshers’ week and beyond
A lot of events are held for new students during freshers week and the weeks following, so make the most of it. Go to the freshers fair – this is your chance to have a look at what societies are on offer. Societies provide the perfect opportunity to pursue your extracurricular interests, no matter how quirky.
Freshers fairs are also packed with freebies. You’ll probably get enough pens to last the year, as well as food vouchers or a few bits for your new flat.
Be sensible with money
Work out a budget and stick to it. Use a budgeting app on your phone to keep track of your spending. Too many students spend way too much money during the early weeks and are relying on 20p noodle packs by the end of semester one!
Student loans don’t always arrive in your bank account straight away, so don’t turn up completely empty-handed. See our guide on how to budget at university.
As you’re not living at home anymore, you’re now responsible for your diet. Make sure to stay healthy by eating fruit and veg as well as carbs and protein. Don’t just rely on takeaways – your bank account will thank you for this, too.
Big, less frequent food shops can be a good idea. A bulk shop will cost you a great deal less than daily trips to the local express store, and it means you’ve always got something to eat at home. If you’re not sharing or cooking together, cook in bulk and keep things refrigerated or store them in the freezer. This is a far more cost-effective way of looking after yourself.
Be a good flatmate
Try to maintain a friendly relationship with your flatmates – it’ll make living issues much easier. Whether you’re friends or not, living with a group of people is a team game. Help out with the washing up, general cleaning and other household chores.
Discuss the flat’s food policy early on. What are you sharing? How are you going to make it fair? Some flats go for the ‘all in’ approach which is great for developing relationships, but it can get complicated. Others go for a few shared items e.g. milk, bread. And others will go for a ‘buy your own’ policy. Whatever you decide, make sure everyone is happy.
Stay responsible on nights out, especially when alcohol is involved. Eat well beforehand, familiarise yourself with the area, and keep an eye on your belongings – particularly your drink. If you’re going home late at night, do so with friends and on trusted transport (e.g. uni bus, certified taxi company).
University can mean lots of new experiences, but make sure you feel safe and comfortable in everything you do. If in doubt, steer clear. See our pages for a comprehensive guide to staying safe and secure at university – including how safe is your university city? our annual data on the rate of student-relevant crime.
Make the most of student services
Feel free to use the help available to you. Early on, you’ll meet your personal tutor and other department staff whose jobs are to support you when necessary. There will probably also be dedicated student support teams made up of student mentors, and the Students’ Union is on-hand if you need extra support.
International support teams can help if you’re new to the UK, with airport arrivals, orientation events and help with settling into a new country.