9 Ways to get a head start on uni this summer

03 Jul 2019
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

Food. Money. Flatmates. These are just some of the new things to be excited about as uni approaches.

And while September feels like a lifetime away, it’s never too early to start preparing for all the newness university will bring.

Here’s what you can do now to make your first few weeks at university a bit easier.

1) Meet your future flatmates in-app

The MyUnite app is a must-have for anybody who’s living with us. Once you’ve moved in, you’ll use it to do laundry, find out when a parcel’s waiting for you, and get help if you’re locked out.

But it’s essential before you arrive too. The uChat function lets you group message the people you’ll be sharing a flat with. Perfect for breaking the ice and nipping any first day nerves in the bud.

Download the MyUnite app for free for Android or Apple.

2) Register for Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi in your new Unite Students home is provided by a company called Glide. It’s included in the price of your room, and runs at speeds of up to 70mb.

Register with Glide before you arrive so you’re all set up and ready to go.

3) Check out the rest of the Common Room

From making friends and budgeting, to cooking and independent study, the Common Room has more than 250 articles to help you deal with new situations at uni.

Most of our articles are written by current and former students, with a few from professional writers thrown in too. Have a good look around when you’ve read this one.

4) Write for us

Like what you see here? Other students could be reading your articles on the Common Room. We’re always looking for voluntary student writers to join the team, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings about starting university this year.

Student writer roles are fully-flexible, with you deciding when you can fit articles in around your studies. We’ll give you detailed feedback on each piece to improve your writing skills, and you’ll get a nice online portfolio to show employers.

Find out more about becoming a student writer with the Work With Us initiative.

5) Order your bedroom and kitchen essentials

It’s a common question for soon-to-be students: what do I need to bring? The answer is, it depends on where you’ll be living. If you’re living with us, you can order an essentials pack to be in your room when you arrive.

Our packs contain everything you’ll need for your kitchen and bedroom. Bedding, hangers, cutlery, plates, glasses. It’s all in there. Order yours now so you don’t have to buy everything when you arrive or - worse - lug everything with you.

Find out more about kitchen and bedroom arrival packs from Pattersons

6) Learn to cook

Learning to cook some basic meals is one of the best things you can do now to prepare for September. If you live at home with your parents, and you’re not confident in the kitchen, start learning from them now.

Spag bol, chilli con carne, pasta bake, veggie curries, jambalaya. These are all good for beginners and can be made in bulk (and then frozen) when you’re at uni.

7) Find a job

If you know you’ll want a part-time job when you get to uni, look into the options available now. Got a job with a national business? Maybe you could transfer to a store near uni.

I recently spent a year working in fashion retail. We would regularly get CVs over the summer from people who were starting university in September, and we were always interested in seeing them when they arrived.

8) Upgrade to a student account

When you turn 18, and you’re about to start university, you can apply to switch your current account over to a student account. Or you can switch banks altogether, if that’s the right move for you.

Most UK banks offer students interest-free overdrafts, plus other perks such as free student railcards or cashback with top retailers.

Compare student accounts with Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert.com

9) Practise managing a budget

With your cooking skills sharpened, you can turn your attention to money. Now’s the time to get to grips with incomings, outgoings, setting a budget, and spending within limits.

If you’ve already got a part-time job, start taking an interest in your spending habits. Find out what a weekly food shop is likely to cost. Practise sticking to a strict weekly budget.

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Staff writer at The Common Room