We have put together some useful information and highlighted some ‘top tips’ from a range of information sources to support students preparing for college and university.
There is advice on finances, housing, budgeting, saving money and staying safe.
Preparing for studies
Are there any offer conditions you need to meet?
Your university or college might have given you other conditions, like health or financial requirements, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks.
Are you prepared financially?
If you have a student loan or funding, check that all the details are sorted. Before you can be paid your first loan instalment, make sure:
- you’ve submitted your application and all the correct supporting evidence
- your uni or college and course details are up to date (they may have changed since you originally applied) – use your online account to update these if you need to
- your bank details are correct on your application – check your online account
- you’ve signed and returned your declaration form
- you’ve registered at your uni or college
- your uni or college has confirmed your attendance to the Student Loans Company (SLC)
- you’ve allowed a few working days for the funds to be paid into your bank account
Student Finance for undergraduates: the details – how much, payments, process:
Disabled Students’ Funding
As well as a student loan, there’s other financial support available from a range of sources including bursaries, scholarships, or awards. Click here to find out more.
Many students also choose to open a student account with a bank or building society. These sometimes come with freebies and other useful features like student overdrafts.
Going through Clearing could affect how much student finance you can get – find out what you need to do now.
Are you ready to study?
Studying at uni is different than at school or college. It’s a different type of learning which is more independently led.
The National Extension College (NEC) and UCAS have produceed a set of study skills guides to help you get ready for studying. You might also want to:
- check resources on the uni website to see what support they have for new students
- ask the uni about study skills sessions and workshops that can help with any knowledge or skills gaps
- check if there’s a pre-reading list for your course that you can get ahead with or any research you need to do before you start
Do you have somewhere to live?
Finding somewhere you’ll be happy to live is an important consideration when you’re deciding where you want to study. There are lots of options, from halls to shared houses. To help you make the right choice, use the accommodation search to research your options and find both uni and private student accommodation.
Here are nine top tips from the police for staying safe at university
- Lock up: make sure your doors and windows are always locked securely
- Hide your gadgets: don’t leave your keys or gadgets like laptops and phones out on display
- Not expecting visitors?: don’t answer your door to anyone you don’t know or aren’t expecting
- Back it up: always back up your personal data and uni work to a separate source, in case your laptop gets stolen, lost, or broken
- Heading on a night out?: make sure everyone gets home safely and no-one is left by themselves
- Think about your online presence: check what other people can see about you. Set your privacy settings accordingly if you only want people you know to see your posts and stories
- Keep a list and photos of any valuables: including serial numbers for gadgets. Insurance companies won’t pay out unless you can prove your claim; sending photos and precise descriptions of your stolen items will help. You can use an ultraviolet pen to mark your property. This is invisible but can be detected with a special light
- Engage locally: each area of the UK has its own safety initiatives, and the police often visit campuses to talk about them. Try and attend these talks where you can for more tips
- Spotted a crime?: call 999 straightaway. Want to report a crime which has already happened? Call 101.
- Save the Student (leading student money website) – Click here.
Establish your income
Maintenance Loan will come in three big instalments throughout the academic year, so it’s up to you to budget this out across that period.
Common student income streams
- Your Maintenance Loan
- Extra money from bursaries for students
- Money from your parents
- Salary from a part-time job
Estimate your outgoings
Save the Student have put together an average student living costs guide, click here.
How to save money as a student:
Essential student expenses:
- Student insurance
- Gas and electricity
- TV Licence
- Mobile phone
- Car fuel
- Car insurance
- Study textbooks
Non-essential student expenses:
- Nights out
- New clothes
- Gym membership
- Haircuts and other beauty expenses
- Amazon Prime
- Gifts and charity
- Cinema tickets
- Eating out
- Music festivals
Calculate your weekly budget:
Work out your total income for a term at university
- Minus your essential expenses for the same period
- Divide the number you’re left with by the number of weeks in a term.
Set some goals
Whether you need to budget to get by, or you’re trying to cut back, it’s all about setting goals to either reduce your spending or boost your income.
Other sources of advice and information: