Preparing for University in 2013-14

With your university place safely under your belt after the mania of the 15th August, it's time to look to the future - moving out.' It's a big deal, and you'll probably find that everyone you speak to over the next few weeks will have some advice to give to you.' Our advice is, take it.' This is not to say listen to the life-story of the man you met in the bar last night ' but taking on board what parents, friends, and (most importantly) students and recent graduates have to say, is a good idea. In this time of excitement, what your parents are likely to do is feel that compiling a checklist for you is a necessity, but now is the time to get into student-mode.' This means that whilst (in our experience) fairy lights are a standard 'must' and an iron is a definite surplus item (everyone will bring one, no one will use one, save yourself ten quid) and therefore student life is unlike home life, you have to think for yourself. National Insurance documents, medical records and student bank accounts. Not the most interesting of things to organise, but probably even more vital than the fairy lights. Quite simply, make sure you're up-to-date with this information or make sure you give yourself enough time to change details that no longer apply. For those who haven't yet opened a student bank account, it's also important to look into what the best deal is for you.' For example, it is important to take the time to think about whether you'd prefer to have the '1500 first-year overdraft that Santander are willing to offer, or if you'd rather be kept away from temptation with Natwest's limit of '1000.' Some banks also offer incentives such as the 16-25 railcard, which gives you a third off the price of all train journeys.' All these details can be a little overwhelming when comparing the pro's and con's of each bank, but thinking about things practically ' and not getting carried away with thinking of a loan's overdraft as more 'free money' ' is worth it in the long run.' A recent BBC article you may find helpful in making your decision can be seen here:

One of the most important ' and exciting things ' to be thinking about is the reality of everyday life as a fresher.' Who will you be living with? What events will be on? What will your seminars be like? Balancing the different elements of university life can be a struggle, and it is worth taking a moment to think before you think packing your entire fancy dress collection instead of normal clothes is wise, and before you make a vow to be asleep by 9pm every day in order to continue studying at 7am. . . University can be extreme, but it is still real life.' A good way to get mentally prepared is to take a look at your university's social media pages, and of course, their official website: get to know which fancy dress you're likely to need during freshers' week, where you'll be living, and which people are also going to your university.' Your social life is also where being a good flat mate comes in.' Don't expect everyone to appreciate your heavy metal blaring out at midnight, though understand that most people will also not appreciate you starting a row within the first two weeks.' These things are common sense, and you will probably have been told a great number of do's and don't's by other people, but the only way to learn how to live with others is to experience it.' For now, get cracking on your financial preparations, packing, and make the most of social media sites.