How to Prepare for your First Year at University

The issue of student finance has been discussed in great detail for years now, with an estimated £16 billion currently loaned to aspiring graduates in England every single year.

This represents a huge sum, with many arguing that rising tuition costs don’t offer students value for money. It therefore came as something as a surprise when a recent proposal to slash tuition fees from £9,250 to £7,500 was dropped by ministers in the House of Commons.

This can certainly create a headache for students, who face several challenges when pursuing their course of higher education. Many of these are particularly pertinent for the first 12 months or so, and here are some tips on how to prepare for your first year at University.

  1. Create a Monthly Budget

If your student loan is currently your own source of income, you’ll need to learn how to manage and deploy these funds across the duration of your course.

After all, inflation and the cost of living remains disproportionately high in the UK, and this is where the assertion that student loans don’t offer genuine value begins to become relevant.

With this in mind, there are a couple of things that you need to consider as a new student. Firstly, you’ll need to create a manageable monthly budget from the precise amount of cash that you have to play, as this ensures that you can live within your means during your first year of studying.

If this sum is meagre and unfit for purpose, you should consider finding part-time and flexible work that boosts your income without overly compromising on your studies.

2. Distinguish Between Things that you Need to Take and Items that you Want to Take

For most students, leaving for Uni will represent the first time that they’ve lived away from home for any concerted period of time.

This can create anxiety and desire to retain home comforts, which in turn needs them to overpack and take a selection of items that simply clutter their new living space and contribute towards it being disorganised.

So, whilst there are a few essentials that you’ll need to take with you (think bedding, gadgets and laptops, for example), it’s important to distinguish between these items and unnecessary luxuries that will be of little practical use once you’ve arrived at your new destination.

There’s always room for one or too sentimental items to remind you of home, of course, but just try to keep these to a minimum where possible.

3. Consider the Importance of Contents and Tenants Liability Insurance

Whilst you won’t want to incur additional costs during your first year, some of these may be worthwhile if they have the potential to save you money in the long-term.

For example, contents insurance is a must when renting property during your first year, as this provides much-needed coverage in the event that some or all of your items are stolen.

Similar, it’s also worth investing in affordable tenants liability insurance as a new student. The reason for this is simple; as it provides protection in the event of accidental damage to your rental home or the material possessions that have been left by the landlords.

image credit: First Year at University via Aleksey Boyko/shutterstock

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