Top tips for attending University for the first time

Are you about to start university for the first time and are wondering what it will be like?

Organising Students - Top tips for attending University for the first time - group of students chattingWell you are in the right place as not only have I been assisting students with this in recent years but many of my students were also keen to share with you their top tips in assisting you with your journey into the world of further education after secondary school!

Top tips for attending university for the first time include:

  • Planning is important – really put time and effort into planning out your schedule to make it as easy as possible for you to actually ensure you can attend both your lectures and tutorials. Sometimes it isn’t ideal to have early morning lectures if you are not really a morning person.
  • Preparing your timetable – potentially try and fit all your lectures into 3 or 4 days and have 1 day free to complete work or deal with the admin of day to day life, particularly if you are moving out of home.
  • Attend all sessions – try and go to all your sessions if you can in person as it is infinitely better than online and it keeps you on track to help stop you falling behind!
  • Make sure you know your way around – keep a copy of a map handy along with your timetable so you can easily find where you need to go. There are always plenty of people willing to direct you if you are not sure so just ask!
  • Use a planning tool to manage all your assignments and their due dates – as one of my students put it ‘unless you have a memory of a super computer there is no chance you will remember your timetable and all of your due dates’.  Each subject has its own details on line and you need to pull it all together in one place so you can see what is due and when.  This will help you to keep on top.
  • Planning ahead – make sure you plan out your week and break up your assessment tasks into bite-sized pieces and ensure you allocate time in your week to get your work done! Use to do lists too so you don’t forget something!
  • Get involved – give everything a go and get involved in something where you will meet new people. Sign up to clubs to expand your social circles or if you are living on campus get really involved at your residence early on.
  • Plan ahead for travel time – ensuring you have enough time to get to campus either by car or public transport. It can take longer than you think.
  • Organising Students - Image of university students walking -Top tips for attending University for the first timeGetting to know others – it was actually much harder than expected to make friends with people in class so try to go to as many on campus classes as possible to increase your chances of getting to know others. It is also important to make the effort to get to know people too.
  • Working with other students – when you start to get to know others it can be useful to find out others strengths to assist one another with work and keep each other motivated.
  • Use all resources available – University assignments can be really overwhelming and daunting because you have less direct guidance than you did in secondary school, but remember to use all the resources given to you.
  • Be realistic – this is in reference to what you can get done in the timeframe you have available.
  • Pre read where possible – whilst they don’t give you ‘homework’ as such they do suggest you watch videos, read books or notes prior to your next class so that you understand the concepts before the class commences or so you have an idea of what you will be focusing on next.
  • Note taking – think about what method works best for you ie typed or written and stick to it. Make sure you keep your notes separated into subjects to0 in order to make them easy to find.
  • University can feel incredibly optional at times – no one including your lecturers are going to follow you up to hand in assessment tasks. You have to have your own motivation and driving factors or it is easy to fall behind where you will either just scrape in or you will struggle and potentially fail subjects.Organising Students - image of students in class -Top tips for attending University for the first time
  • Be prepared to adjust your mindset to the way marks at university are given out – for example one student said getting an 85 can be a freakish mark at University and it is really hard to get something in the 90’s. If you don’t put in the time and effort you might find yourself in the 50% fail rate that some courses have.  It isn’t all just about fun you need to work at times too!
  • Don’t assume you know the content – you are actually at University to learn new things. Remember there are also plenty of options to test your knowledge, such as text book questions, or in class examples and questions.  Study and revision is still an important skill and something you need to do.
  • Finally – take care of yourself, seek help or support if needed as there are many support services on campus or online.  Most of all have fun!

For other tips or ideas you can also usually check out university websites – here are just a couple but you can find plenty more on Google:

Enjoy your new chapter in life at university and it will be whatever you want it to be – many opportunities await you and it is really up to you if you grasp them or not!

A big shout out to Ashleigh, Sophie, Jason and Bella for your insights and for sharing them to support other students who are about to start their university journey.

If I can assist you or your child in any way please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  I have enjoyed supporting many students with this transition and whilst at University!