In the UK, last week was a crucial time as sixth form students received their grades and found out which universities gave/confirmed the offers they were hoping for to carry on into higher education. To those of you this applies to, I sincerely hope you got the response you wanted! Having been there, I remember just how stressed and freaked out I was, going to college to meet my friends and teachers to see if I got the grades I needed to move on to the next chapter of my life.
This post is designed for those of you who have decided to go on to university, and I have some tips from my own experience, which hopefully will make the transition feel a little less daunting and scary – because honestly, it’s not that bad, and you’re more than capable of adjusting.
Prior to Moving:
Organising where to live – most universities have their own Halls of Residence, which most UK Student Finance loans will cover. However, this does depend on your own loan amount since it is based on your family income. I couldn’t afford all of mine just from my loan, so consider looking at part-time jobs to supplement that last bit. If your university doesn’t have Halls of Residence (I’m pretty sure most do) or it’s a bit outside of your budget, then it’s worth emailing or calling your university to see who they recommend for private (non-university halls) accommodation. I didn’t think of this at the time, but in some cases, universities may have a list of agencies for you to contact and arrange with to look at apartments. If this does become the case, I strongly recommend bringing an adult with experience at looking at properties (your parents definitely count if they’re able to) so they can talk you through any red flags when looking at flats.
Now that you’ve had some time to really let the news sink in, you definitely need to get your accommodation sorted if you haven’t already. As far as I understand it, most universities have Halls of Residence, and if they don’t, a little pestering with university staff on the phone can get you some contacts of companies they recommend looking into for find a flat/apartment that’s near your campus. I personally went down the route of finding a private flat, and after some visits to flats (they were awful, and thank goodness my mum went with me) I ended up opting for Halls of Residence in the end.
For UK students, your costs of living, including rent primarily, will likely be covered by your Student Finance loan or any grants you’re eligible for, but I strongly advise doing the math first. Make sure you can afford what you’re applying for, and while it might be a headache, it’s a needed one. If you find you can’t afford all of it with just your loan, I strongly advise looking at a part time job. I couldn’t afford to pay my rent entirely with my loan, and as I had a job through college with a big company, it was simple requesting a transfer so could move to a different store. While I know many of my fellow students could get by without a part time job, you definitely live more comfortably knowing you’re keeping your bank account topped up each month.