Preparing to Start University or College

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Health Assured team

26 July 2023

Starting university or college can be an extremely daunting and anxious time. But it’s also an exciting opportunity to meet people and experience new things. To make the process as stress-free as possible, here’s what you’ll need to do when preparing to start this new chapter in life.


Younger students may prefer to stay in halls of residence, as it’s an easy way to meet people. Off-campus housing is fine too but may be more suited for mature students. College or university students with the means to remain at home can save a lot of money by doing so.


Understanding how much money you’ll be getting and budgeting for it is an important part of starting higher education. Explore which banks offer the best overdrafts (aim for 0% overdraft charges should you exceed your arranged one). For college students still at home or receiving financial support from parents, it’s still a good idea to budget in preparation for university.

Reading Lists

Coming to grips with the reading list can help reduce worries and give you more confidence before lectures begin. Most universities will have their reading list online before term begins and are easily accessible via your university library or at a discount on sites like eBay.

Cooking Skills

Take the time to cook with your parents or study some student cookbooks. Cooking on a budget can be challenging but also extremely satisfying when you’re preparing your own meal. Many supermarkets also offer student discounts for you to take advantage of when shopping on a strict budget.  


If your college or university is far from home, allow yourself a day to walk around the area and get to know your surroundings. It can help to reduce anxiety before you begin your studies, and some students even like to do a practice run to and from their university or college as extra reassurance.

Spending Time with Loved Ones

Before this new chapter in your life begins, get some quality time in with your family and friends. For some people, especially if they study far from home, spending months away from the people who matter most can be very emotional.

Embracing your First Week

First-year students for college and university are given an initial welcome week that's full of fun and informative things to help make the adjustment into these new surroundings easier. It's a great opportunity to join teams and societies or meet your lecturers. While it can feel overwhelming at times, try to approach this week with a positive mindset.

Knowing your Support Systems

It’s natural to feel anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed when you’re surrounded by so much change. In times like this, being homesick can quickly lead to feeling isolated and depressed.

Does your university offer a Student Assistance Programme with Health Assured? Our team of counsellors are waiting to hear from you 24/7 for a confidential discussion about how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get the mental health and wellbeing support you need.

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