preparing for university life

11 Tips to Prepare for University Physically and Mentally

The time between securing a spot at your university of choice and the first day itself can be seriously stressful. Of course, there’s the celebrating on results day but then it can feel like a no man’s land until the big day when you actually begin your course. 

How to Prepare for University Life?

It goes without saying that you’ve got to prepare. But what does preparing for university life actually look like? Tick off this list to get yourself physically and mentally prepared. 

We cover everything from how to prevent homesickness to how to send luggage within UK and other items. Here’s your tips to prepare for university!

university student with books

Start preparing early 

First up, you’ll need to decide when to set yourself the ‘preparing for university’ challenge. The truth is that the earlier you start the better. 

Whilst you can leave it to a few weeks before, spreading the task out over a couple of months is our first tip for protecting your mental health. You’ll avoid last-minute panic and avoidable stress. 

Start your reading early

Most university course departments will send out a course reading list ahead of time. To give yourself a major advantage start working your way through these books and textbooks whilst you wait for your course to begin. 

This is the perfect time between finishing school and starting at university to tick off this bit of university preparation.

You’ll be doing your future self a huge favour and lightening your workload. Plus, it’ll be much harder to carve out a few hours of reading between hangovers and parties! 

Get organised 

One of the best ways of preparing for university is to choose a physical planner or download an organisation app on your phone. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it’ll fill up with social plans and lectures. Without any method of organisation it’ll be easy to fall behind.

physical planner

Another part of getting organised is figuring out a budget. This will be hard to do speculatively without knowing what you’ll be spending on nights out and other miscellaneous items. But if you can get a rough plan down this will help to give you a steer once you get to university. 

Consider holding off on a job 

You might’ve heard that the best move is to get a job as soon as you get to university. So you may have thought that part of preparing for university would be to start sending out applications. 

IBut if it’s financially viable, we’d suggest holding off on taking a part-time job until you’ve settled into your course. The time requirements might be steeper than you have imagined and you won’t want your work to suffer because you have limited availability. 

On another note, it can also be overwhelming to get to grips with a brand new course and job at the same time.

Learn basic cooking

If you aren’t a keen cook, there’s no point in attempting to become proficient before your course starts. But you’d do well to add some basic recipes to your preparing for university checklist. Even if you’re in catered accommodation, it’ll be handy to master a few simple and affordable dishes you can make in a pinch. 

Register with a GP

Physical illness and mental health struggles mean that registering with a GP will be invaluable. This kind of life admin seems like a hassle but it really pays off. Whilst doing this it’s also a good idea to look up a local dentist and join a local library too. 

Set up a student bank account

This is another life admin task that you could do once you get to university but it’ll be much less stressful if done in advance. Also, if you’re applying for loans or any kind of overdrafts you don’t want to leave it too close to your course in case you don’t receive sign-off in time. 

piggie bank for uni students

This might even be an important and necessary step for preparing for a university interview to prove you will be able to pay for your university accommodation. 

Prevent homesickness 

A natural part of starting university will be feeling homesick. Try and arrange regular calls with family and friends, facetime is even better, when you start university. 

As part of preparing for university try to arrange some meaningful time with your family and friends before you leave. Also planning some trips back home once you’ve started your course will also give you something to focus on and lessen the homesickness. 

Advice for mature students

If you’re a mature student returning to university or going for the first time, you might be staying in a private house rather than halls of residence. 

In that case, it’ll be a good idea to familiarise yourself with how the bills are currently set up. Another tip for mature students is to join your university’s social media groups to connect with other mature students. 

Cut yourself some slack

Don’t expect to be amazing at all aspects of your course. The first year of university will be about honing in on writing techniques, learning how to be analytical, and crafting compelling work. 

There’ll be course modules and parts of your course that you don’t excel at – and that’s okay. You’ll get the chance to specialise in future years so don’t panic if you don’t get it all right straight away. 

university lecture in auditorium

Sort out packing and transport

Of course, a huge part of preparing for university is packing. We’ve put together a whole packing checklist for you to tick off here. Once you’re all packed up you’ll need to ship your items. 

Sherpr can take the hassle out of this prep step – simply get a quote online, pack your items, and our student shipping service will get them to your university accommodation at a pre-agreed time. You can even track your items in transit.