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What to Expect from Your First Year at University

4th September 2017 Chris Clark Accommodation, London Life, Study

Making the transition from high school to university can be a daunting situation. There are a lot of expectations when you start university, and of course, there are the student stereotypes of crazy freshers’ weeks, cheap beer and the occasional lecture but what can first-year students expect from their first year at university?

They say that your student days are the best days of your life, that you will meet lots of new friends and learn life lessons. While the freedoms that come with leaving home for the first time will occupy many students’ minds, the reality of studying at an undergraduate level is much different to being taught from the confines of a school classroom.

Moving Out

According to Which? University, 51% of first-year university students, found moving away from home a lot easier than they had first expected. Additionally, 54% said that making friends was easier than they thought it would be.
Moving into student accommodation can be scary, but it can also offer lots of opportunities to meet new people. It is natural to feel shy but remember that everyone is in the same boat. If you are moving into university halls, then leave your door open and invite others in to say hello.
Make the most of freshers’ week. There is no better time in the university calendar to get chatting to other people.


Increased university fees are a constant worry for students. Rising prices and the idea of moving from an almost cost-free lifestyle to one where everything has a price is a scary one. It is paying for the students’ lifestyle from day to day that is the biggest concern for many.
Managing money can be more difficult than one would expect but setting budgets and taking the forgotten extras into consideration will help you to have a better grasp on just how much money you will need.
Study books, food shopping and nights out are a given but how many students remember all the little extras? Snacks, the internet, insurance, travel expenses, clothes – overspending is all too easy. While many students are tempted to avoid looking at their bank balance, it is advised that they stay aware of how much is being spent to budget accordingly.
If you are struggling to budget, bear in mind that the university is always at hand to help support you. One in 10 first year students that Which? spoke to had already visited student services to talk about financial support.


The workload in the first year of university is often a lot heavier than many students anticipate. It is a common misconception that there is very little work to do in the first year, especially considering the transition from high school or college to university.
Many students fall into the trap that because lecture slides are made available online that there is no need to go to every lecture. However, reading the slides or notes from friends is not the same as attending the class yourself. In fact, it can cause problems when it comes to completing assignments.
When students were asked, 6% of first-year students admitted that they missed at least half of their lectures in the first term of university. First-year students need to be organised and self-motivated to ensure that they hit all their deadlines.
Some students might class all-night essay writing as a student rite of passage but for those that want to take their degree seriously need to organise their time and make sure that they make it to all of their lectures.

Joining a Club

University freshers’ fairs will introduce you to all the societies and sports clubs that are available to you. More than half of all freshers will join a club in their first week but how many of them will stick at it?
11% of first term students joined and dropped out of a club. Joining a club takes a lot of commitment and is a great opportunity to meet new friends. Stick with it and the rewards are ten-fold.

Are you a first-year student this year? Do you have any questions you want answering before you start your first term? Drop them in the comments below, and we will do our best to answer them for you.

Chris Clark

Chris Clark

For more great posts from Urbanest about accomodation, London life, study tips and much more, visit the Student Journal.