Preparing for university
From preparing for your degree to preparing to live independently, here are a few tips to help you on your way to university.
Reading and studying for the degree
This year, I’ve helped at some of the online open days, and a popular question from prospective students is often about what to do before coming to university. Firstly, try not to stress too much about what you need to do before arriving. In your first couple of weeks, focus on settling in, exploring the campus, and learning to live on your own. If you have some time in the summer, however, it can be helpful to do some reading around your course. Some departments might have reading lists online that you can look through before you start.
In my experience, the reading I did before university helped a lot, but the course is designed to ease you in to the content anyway. I bought one key textbook and read through that in the summer before starting the course, which helped familiarise me with the content and theory of some of my first-term modules. I think the most important thing, though, is reading about parts of your degree that interest you – learn to enjoy doing a degree from the get-go, rather than just going through the motions. Also note that you can always get in touch with your department, who might have specific recommendations about how you should prepare.
Connecting with other Offer-Holders
Facebook and Whatsapp groups begin to emerge around this time for prospective students to chat to others, and I remember the sheer volume of potential groups being a little overwhelming. Of course, it can be reassuring to talk to other students on your course, or when accommodation allocation comes out, to talk to those in your residence, but I would recommend not overly worrying about having to connect with other prospective students before you get here. Some people found the groups really helpful, but I found it easier to meet people as and when it occurred, once I’d arrived at Warwick.
Things you might not think to bring, but should
I remember the difficulty last year of packing for university, particularly when you don’t entirely know what to expect. The few items I forgot – but couldn’t go for very long without – were games, a mattress topper, things to cover the pinboard with, and an eye mask. A random selection, I know, but all important. Playing games with your flat is a good way to get to know people; decorating the pinboard makes your room feel more homely; a mattress topper makes sleeping on uni beds a lot more comfortable; and an eye mask blocks the light – because I found that the curtains weren’t that effective in the summer.
Things you think you need, but probably don’t
I’m moving out of halls in a couple of days, and if I could give myself advice a year ago, it would be to bring less books and less folders. There isn’t much time for reading outside of the course anyway, and frankly, it’s now quite annoying having to transport a box of books up and down the country. Similarly, I brought my A-Level folders with me, but haven’t used them at any point. I probably could have used them, but the resources we have at Warwick are more than enough. And again, now I just have to lug all my folders back home. Less is definitely more, in university halls.
Lastly, note that everyone prepares for university differently. I made endless lists and spent a week organising all my packing, but some of my friends were much more relaxed. There’s not really a right way to go about it, so try to find what works for you.