Making the move from college or sixth form to university can be quite tricky at first. There will be lots of differences that you will need to adjust to. If at any point these changes start to get a bit too overwhelming then just remember there are lots of options you can use for support! Everyone deals differently with the changes, but I wanted to give you a few tips to ease you into university so carry on reading to learn more!
Understand your new timetable
One of the first things you will need to do is to understand your new timetable. The difference with university is you have a lot more freedom than you would have had before. Some days you may start at 9am, but some days you might not have to be into university until 12pm.
Occasionally you may even get a day off. Lots of universities offer the majority of students a day off on Wednesdays as this is most commonly the sports day for universities. It is the day where practise and competitions take place.
Some timetables might look a little complicated at first so try to get to grips with any coding on your timetable and the room labels. It might also be a good idea to link up your calendar with your phone calendar to make it easier to check. Most universities will offer this.
A big tip is to double check your room before each class as sometimes rooms can get changed last minute. You will most likely be emailed but this is possible to miss.
Know your distance from university
Work out your commute to university and trial it a few times. This is what I did not have time to do but wish I had! It was my first day at university and I was following my maps to try and find the building I was meant to go to but my maps was not picking it up. So, if you are within walking distance, make sure you do the walk to figure out the quickest way. Some of your buildings might be in completely different areas if your university is a spread over the city so make sure you look into this! Don’t assume they are all next to each other.
Make use of the university map that you will be able to find online.
Check your emails!
Emails are a massive thing at university which you might not have used very much at college. Your university will email you with lots of updates and events which can be a great opportunity. This will usually be from your student union. You will also get course updates via email as well as possibly through another platformy our university uses. A lot of this information is extremely important and will include things like room changes, exam updates, seminar answers, etc. You can miss out on a lot of information and opportunities if you unsubscribe or don’t check your emails so this is a must!
Do your induction work
There’s a possibility that you will be sent some prep work you need to completely for your induction week at university. It is key to attend your induction week as this is where you will meet people! Despite this week not counting towards anything it is a great chance to make friend’s and ask any extra questions you have.
The induction work will give you an insight into the sorts of things you will be diving into when you start your course, so it helps you become more prepared. The course will be more specialised compared to what you were doing at college or sixth form so the induction work will prep you for this.
Find your rooms the day before
As mentioned earlier, finding your building on the first day can be difficult if you are looking on your own for the first time. The second thing you need to do is find your rooms. Sometimes university rooms are not necessarily set out the way you would expect, and the labels can be confusing. So, take a look at where your seminar and lecture theatre rooms are.
I have seen far too many cases where students have tried to find their room 10 minutes before they start their class only to find out they are supposed to be on an entirely different campus a bus ride away!
Try and reach out to students in your position
There are many Facebook groups where you can make a post and find others on your course. This is a great way to possibly meet other people and get to know them before you start. It also means you can find the buildings and rooms with someone else to make it slightly less confusing.
Research your options
Starting university means getting thrown a tonne of information all at once. So, during your transition period it might be a good idea to do a little bit of your own research to find out what options and opportunities you want to take on.
Take a look at the sports and societies teams available to see which ones you could join and what they entail. Research the city you will be staying in if you are moving to see where your nearest shop/ club/ bar/ restaurant is.
It might be a good idea to look into all the modules in your course so there are no surprises when it comes to it. If there are option modules, then make sure you research these are make a decision on which options are best for you so that you don’t have to impulsively pick at the time.
The change from college and sixth form to university is a fairly big jump but there are a few small steps that you can do to make the change much easier. Make sure you do your research on your university and your course, prep for your induction week, take a look at your commute – if you need to get the bus double check you know which one and the stop names, and if you want to, reach out to some student on your course in some of the Facebook groups