What is it like to study a degree?

One of the most significant things about studying a degree at college or university is that you will be living away from home, probably for the first time. You will gain new-found freedom and the chance to meet all sorts of different and interesting people.

Most students opt to live in halls of residence for their first year of study – this usually works out cheaper than finding a flat or house and means there will definitely be loads of people in the same boat as you, so you won’t feel lonely. You will usually be guaranteed accommodation in university if you apply before the deadline. However, even during your first year you can opt (though this is quite unusual), to find your own accommodation.

Your day-to-day life will be very different to what you have experienced at school and/or college. Whilst having a lot more freedom you will also (possibly for the first time) have total financial responsibility for yourself; this can be quite daunting, particularly when you may not be earning anything. You will also be responsible for feeding yourself – you may already have had lots of practise at cooking, or you may not know where to start. You will also have to be mindful of your own safety and security, probably more than when you were living at home.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Everyone in your year is in the same boat and may also be feeling unsure or a little unconfident in their new environment. Your university or college student union is likely to be the hub of activity, so that should be one of the first places you locate. The more you get involved with social or sports clubs and any other activities, the more you are likely to meet others and make friends whom you can share your experiences with. Before you know it, you will have settled in and be making the most of your new life.

Explore the following websites for more information on beginning your degree:

There are a number of summer schools and schemes which can help you sample university life, for example, Headstart:

Headstart is a well-established education programme held in the summer at 30 universities providing Year 12/S5 students interested in mathematics or science with informed choices regarding technology-based degree courses and careers. Headstart invites students to sample university courses and experiences at the time they are faced with making these crucial university decisions. In addition to a wide range of broad-based engineering courses, Headstart also run a range of specialist courses. Through this hands-on experience, Headstart aims to enlighten and inspire students’ future degree choices. More information is available at www.headstartcourses.org.uk.