Essential Checklist For Students Starting University

Posted on 20 Sep 2021

So you’re thinking of going to university? Amazing! University is an incredible place to not only shape your career and your future, but meet amazing people while having the time of your life. You may be wondering what to expect from your university experience, so we’ve popped together this useful guide for students when starting university - whether you’re fresh out of college or starting a new career.

Things to do before choosing a course

When choosing a course to study at university, there’s a few crucial factors to take into consideration:


Asking yourself why you want to study is the most crucial factor to consider when picking a course. Do you wish to advance your career by gaining new skills? If this is the case, you should enrol in a course that is a natural extension of your current knowledge and skills. If you want to advance your career with your existing employment, you should take a course that is related to your field. Discussing your educational alternatives with your friends, coworkers, or employer might assist you in determining which qualifications will benefit your career.

Do you want to broaden your knowledge or make a total career change? If you want to change careers, you may need to study. If this is your motivation for studying, you should think about what job path you want to take. Studying can be costly, so do your research before deciding on a career path.

What are you interested in?

It's critical to consider what you're interested in and what course you want to pursue. Is it because you can see your bright future ahead of you? Is it because that's what your parents want, or is it because it's what you want? You can figure out the exact path you want your course to go by asking yourself now.

While not every second of your studies at university is going to be exciting, it’s also important to pursue something that you’re interested in. Studying something that you feel you should because others have told you to may become boring and therefore discourage you when it comes to finishing the course. Again, studying can be very costly, so you don’t want to waste money on a course you may not even complete.

Is it feasible?

Now that you've discovered your ambition, take a moment to double-check if it's feasible. Are you able to pay the travel, tuition, and living expenses? Are there any prerequisites, such as English language proficiency or certain qualifications from lower level courses? Don't give up - a pathway programme may be all you need to get over those obstacles. If this is truly your passion, demonstrate it in your application and you may be eligible for financial assistance.

What’s important to you?

You'll come up with a variety of criteria to rate a university or course based on your research. As a result, establish a list of the top three features you want. These factors could include school ranking or prestige, research facilities, hands-on experience, tuition costs, student support services, safety, social life, and the opportunity to travel. There are so many factors to consider, and what works for you might not work for someone else.

How do you like to study?

By now, you should have a good sense of how you prefer to study. Some students enjoy final exams, while others prefer continuous work throughout the year to keep them occupied. Some people prefer theory, while others prefer real hands-on learning; some people prefer to work in groups, while others prefer to work alone. Some students prefer to deliver their work orally, while others prefer to write reports. Choose a course that fits your learning style and you'll have a better chance of succeeding. Alternatively, if you want to push yourself, enrol in a course that will push you out of your comfort zone!

Things to do before choosing a university

Choosing which university to study at is another crucial decision. You may like the idea of studying closer to home for the familiarity of friends and family nearby, or perhaps you love the idea of starting a new chapter of your life in a brand new city. Think about these things before choosing a university.

Check out university websites

Although it may seem obvious, visiting the university's website can provide valuable information into the university's culture. Academics and students frequently engage in Q&A sessions. There are student blogs that provide a realistic picture of life on campus, which should help give you a good idea of what to expect at that university.

Check out league tables

This provides a clear picture of how well universities are currently performing. They employ a variety of indicators to dive further into what makes each university successful, such as graduate prospects, student happiness, and admittance requirements.

We propose using "The Complete University Guide," which is organised into a subject-by-subject rating. You can see how they rank based on the metrics that matter to you. However, league tables should only be used as a guideline. Because different weightings and categories are used, each league table will be unique.

Every year, rankings change, and employers are unlikely to be aware of exact ranks. They frequently assess a university based on its reputation, such as whether it belongs to the Russell Group. Certain employers have a history of only hiring graduates from specific colleges.

Will the university be able to offer a course with a placement year?

Why not choose a course that includes a placement year in your third year if you know what you want to do after university?

This will provide you with essential insight into what life is like in your chosen profession outside of university. It will put you miles ahead of the majority of graduates in your field when it comes time to seek jobs following graduation.

This brings us to the next point, which is the curriculum of the course. This is crucial to investigate because courses might differ drastically from one university to the next. The course content can be found on university websites. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to contact them; they'll be happy to help. is a fantastic website that can help you compare courses at any university in the United Kingdom. They also provide a university rating section with hundreds of genuine testimonials from current and previous students.

Previous requirements

It goes without saying that you should enrol in a university course with entry requirements that correspond to your expected grades. However, far too many students choose an "insurance" option that, well, isn't really an "insurance" option at all. Make sure your “back-up” university requires you to have grades that are lower than your expected grades. The last thing you want is to be without a university and have to retake your classes.


It's crucial to look into student accommodation. Some universities, such as the University of Nottingham, are located on a single campus, while others, such as the University of Bristol, are located throughout the city. It's also possible that you'd want to be in a catered hall rather than a self-catered one.

What you prefer differs depending on who you are. A university with a campus feels more like a community and makes it easier to get about. You have more freedom at a non-campus university. After taking a look around, you'll get a sense of what seems like "home."

You can, of course, use Elkamy’s accommodation feature on the app to find student halls, private residencies, or even list a spare room if you’re looking for someone to share a house with. Everything can be done from within the app, and you have the added bonus of being able to get to know potential roommates before agreeing to live with them.

Go to plenty of open days

This is the single most crucial step in determining whether or not you would enjoy studying there. You may read all you want about a university, but attending an open day is the only way to get a sense of what it's like.

Make sure you plan beforehand because it will always be an action-packed day with plenty of things for students to do. You'll be able to attend seminars on the topics that interest you. This will give you an idea of what it's like to study there and what the course will entail. Make an effort to get some advice from the admissions tutor. Learn how to make your application stand out, as well as the essential elements to include so that you can make an informed decision about which university you’d like to attend.

It will also allow you to go around campus to get a sense of what the university is like and whether you could imagine yourself there. You can look over all of the available amenities as well as social activities. Remember to spend some time exploring the city, as this will be an important part of your university experience. You may even go there afterward on a non-open day to get a first-hand look at the campus.

Student experience

The term "student experience" is difficult to define. Think about this when choosing a university:

  • Do you wish to live in a small town with a university or in a big city?

  • Do you prefer a university that is dispersed throughout the city or one that is more conventional and collegiate in nature?

  • Can you handle being far from “home” for long periods of time?

  • Are you used to large cities, or are you from a small town without much experience of city life?

These are critical factors to consider when selecting a university because you will be spending at least three years there, and they are generally overlooked by students.

Must have items in university

There are a lot of things you'd like to bring to university, but keep in mind that you're packing for university, not a trip to the moon. Wherever you move, there will be shops, and it may be easier (and less expensive) to wait until you arrive at university before purchasing some necessities. There are a few different types of items to bring to university. Because the complete checklist is lengthy, use it as a reminder to ensure you don't forget anything important.

  1. Important documents

There are a number of documents you should take with you that you may not need every day - or ever - but may come in handy in certain situations, such as:

  • Documents concerning your Student Finance

  • Valid passport and/or driving licence (ID)

  • University admission acceptance letter

  • Course acceptance letter

  • Accommodation contract

  • Letters of scholarship or bursary

  • Certificates of insurance (cheap student contents insurance)

  • Photographs for passports

  • History of vaccinations (speak to GP before you go) - if you’re moving to a new city, another thing you’ll need to do is register at the local GP in case you need to visit the Doctors.

  • Copies of prescriptions

  • Debit card from a bank (best student bank accounts)

  • Discount cards for students (e.g. 16-25 railcard)

Visa papers, travel insurance, proof of funding, pound sterling currency, and an English translation book may be required for international students. Remember to keep all documents like these in a designated folder and keep them locked away safely.

  1. Electronics

We live in a world where electronic devices literally help run our day to day lives, so this is one you don’t want to accidentally forget about. Make sure these electronics are packed and use this guide as a checklist:

  • Mobile phone and charger (obviously)

  • Power bank - you never know when you’ll need one!

  • USB memory stick. This will make transferring coursework much easier and you can use it as a backup should your laptop break down.

  • Rocketbook - if you’re someone that loves to take notes through writing, this is a great way of doing it without wasting any paper! All of your notes are uploaded to your laptop for you to use, and you can reuse the rocketbook over and over again.

  • Ethernet cable: You never know how good the wifi in your student accommodation will be.

  • Extension leads

  • Laptop/phone/tablet

  • Chargers: if you want to avoid arguments over who's charger is who's, put your initials on them.

  • Straighteners/hair dryers, etc.

  • Non-essential:

  • Having a printer in your dorm is useful for last-minute panic prints, even though you'll get a lot of printing credit at the university printers.

  • Speakers are a great idea if you plan to host pre-drinks.

  • Fairy lights: most halls ask that you bring battery-operated fairy lights.

  • Noise-cancelling headphones may be useful for studying while your roommate is having a party...or to lend to your next-door neighbour when you're off partying!

  • Games console: use it socially and you could be very popular.

  1. Kitchen cookware

If you live in a shared apartment, you'll almost certainly have one toastie maker per person... In fact, you'll have multiples of many kitchen products. You'll undoubtedly want to bring your own dishes and cutlery, but most people are willing to share cooking equipment, and appliances like kettles and toasters are usually provided. If you're not sharing a kitchen, keep this in mind because the following is a comprehensive list of items to bring to university.

  • Student recipe book

  • Small cutlery set

  • Plate

  • Bowl

  • Mug

  • Glass

  • Sharp knife (general purpose)

  • Scissors

  • Tupperware

  • Multitool

  • Bottle opener

  • Chopping board

  • Kitchen tongs

  • Ladle

  • Spatula

  • Wok and/or frying pan

  • Saucepan with lid

  • Colander

  • Measuring jug

  • Can opener

  • Peeler

  • Cheese grater

  • Whisk

  • Baking tray

  • Oven gloves

  • Tea towel

  • Washing up liquid

  • Washing up sponge or brush

  • Bin bags

  • Tin foil

  • Cling-film

  • Cupboard essentials - we have an amazing post detailing which dry food stores you should have in your cupboards.

Keep in mind that if you are sharing a kitchen, it’s very likely your new roommates will be bringing items like these too. Utilising the Elkamy app and talking to your new roommates through our herds feature will allow you to decide who’s bringing what so that you don’t end up with duplicates. However, if you’re not sure, this list will cover you from any angle.

  1. Bedroom items

Your university or housing provider should provide all of the basic bedroom furniture. A bed, bedside table, desk, lamp, chair, wardrobe, mirror, curtains, and a bin are basic items. Even so, it's worth double-checking, especially the bed size!

  • Duvet with covers (thick and thin for all seasons)

  • Pillows with cases

  • Bed sheets

  • Mattress protector

  • Laundry basket

  • Small mirror

  • Wall clock

  • Clothes horse

  • Desk fan

  • Small safe

  • Earplugs

  • Photos of friends & family

  • Vacuum storage bags

  • Wash bag/basket

  • Coat hangers: some might be provided but it’s always useful to have more.

  • Clothes horse: most halls will have a dryer but a clothes horse might be a cheaper long-term option.

  • Blue tac/drawing pins: just be aware that you might lose some of your deposit if you leave marks on the walls.

  • Decorations for your room

  • Extra storage: storage boxes might be useful and can double up as a bedside table.

  • Anti-bacterial wipes: they’re just good to have on hand.

  • Keyring: bring a unique one that will be easy to identify as yours.

  1. Products for the bathroom

A lot of your bathroom products may be kept in your bedroom, especially if you’ve got a shared bathroom or you’re using a communal bathroom, so it might be worth finding a caddy to store these items in to keep things neat and tidy.

  • Bath towel

  • Hand towel

  • Dressing gown

  • Toothbrush

  • Flip-flops (communal showers)

  • Hairbrush or comb

  • Make-up and remover

  • Nail cutters

  • Tweezers

  • Plasters (or small first-aid kit)

  • Razors and shaving cream

  • Contraceptives

  • STI testing kit

  • Paracetamol

  • Medication

  • Personal supplies (e.g. contact lens solution)

  1. Clothing

A top university recommendation is to avoid having a major shopping spree for new clothes ahead of time; most people's styles change drastically in university, and you end up hating a lot of what you had before!

  • Bring pyjamas that you don't mind strangers seeing you in if a fire alarm goes off at 3 a.m.

  • Dressing gown: for the same reason.

  • Slippers/flip flops: Student floors are rarely clean enough for barefoot walking.

  • Everyday clothing: depending on the environment where you're going, this is entirely up to you.

  • Formal attire: certain halls hold regular "formals" when you must adhere to a strict dress code; inquire if yours does. It's worth mentioning, though, that many halls have a black tie dress code.

  • If you think you'll be attending a job event or an interview, bring whatever relevant clothing you already own, but don't go out and buy anything new just yet.

  • Sports clothing: you never know what you'll find at the freshers fair - even if you don't plan on joining a sports team, it's worth having something in case.

  • Fancy dress outfits. Back to school, the armed forces, emergency services (police, fire fighters, etc. ), toga, and lifeguards are all popular themes. You can buy clothes there, but if you already have something, you might as well save money.

  • Miscellaneous clothing such as underwear, socks, hats, gloves and scarves. While you may not wear a scarf everyday, you’ll miss it when it’s not there come the winter.

  1. Miscellaneous

There’s some items you might not need very often but are definitely worth taking. Things such as:

  • Rucksack

  • Weekend bag

  • Umbrella

  • Padlock

  • Cash

  • Drinking water bottle

  • ThermoFlask

  • Lighter

  • Hot water bottle

  • Iron and ironing board

  • Pack of cards (drinking games)

  • Beer or spirits

  • Tea, coffee and milk

  • Box of chocolates or biscuits (for instant friends)

  1. Stationary

Every student needs plenty of stationary, so check out this checklist to make sure you don’t forget to buy any of them!

  • Pens and pencils

  • Ruler

  • Pencil case

  • Scissors

  • Stapler & staples

  • Highlighters

  • A4 or A5 writing pad

  • Student planner - your uni may provide you with one, but it’s always best to have your own as well.

  • Document storage folders

  • Ring-binders

  • Printer paper

  • White tack

  • Post-it notes

  • Calculator

  • Course textbooks - you can check your course guide for which textbooks you’ll need and places to buy them from.

There we have it, a pretty comprehensive list of essential things you’ll need for starting university! Feel free to bookmark this page to use as and when you need it, and share it with a friend so they don’t forget anything either! Our herd feature easily lets you share with your friends or roommates!

Items you don’t need for university

Every Fresher makes the mistake of overpacking their belongings. You'll bring way too many things to uni, no matter how organised and efficient you are; stuff you don't need and won't ever use.

It's a common blunder, because no one understands what to expect while starting university for the first time. You'll get anecdotes and advice from your siblings and friends, as well as articles like this on the internet, to help you prepare for what's ahead, but you'll never really know what to anticipate until you're there. So, to avoid overpacking for university, here are some things you should consider leaving at home - at least for the time being.


An excellent rule of thumb to follow when packing for university is to ask yourself, "Can I buy this when I get there?" If the answer is yes, then the object should be left behind. If you can simply and inexpensively replace toiletries, do your best to leave them behind. Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and other cosmetics bottles can take up a lot of room and weight in your suitcase. This is especially inconvenient if you're traveling to university with limited baggage space and every kilogramme counts.

Your whole wardrobe

Every new student wants to have a diverse wardrobe at university, and while it's tempting to pack your complete wardrobe into your suitcase, it's not a good idea. You'll find that you spend the majority of your time at university wearing loungewear and pyjamas. You'll be fine as long as you have a fair assortment of these, as well as a couple more presentable outfits.

Luxury kitchen supplies

Items like kettles, toasters, and microwaves will be provided if you live in halls or furnished student housing. Luxury equipment like toasters, coffee machines, and rice cookers are unlikely to be used, so they should be left at home. This is especially important if you're sharing a kitchen, as there's a chance of damage or even theft. You can borrow items from new friends or buy them at the local store if you need anything else.

Old coursework and notes

We understand that you want to be a well-prepared and responsible student, but it's best if you leave your old school books and notes at home. University isn't like school or college; you're virtually beginning from scratch, so the vast bulk of your old notes and folders will be useless. Leave all of your school books at home to save room in your luggage, and if you find something you absolutely need, you may have it delivered to you using a cheap courier or a student shipping service.

Every textbook for your course

All students will tell you that buying your whole suggested reading list before attending university is not a good idea. These books are not only bulky and take up a lot of baggage space, but you won't need them all. Wait until you've started your course before deciding which books you need to buy, which you can borrow from the library, and which you don't need for your studies. Not only will you save space in your small room, but you'll save money too - a win-win!

Your car

Your car may be an important part of your everyday life at home, but it will be less so at university. Most universities are in the heart of the city, within walking distance of everything, and public transportation is generally reliable. Furthermore, parking at universities is sometimes expensive and hard to find.

Of course, you can bring these items with you if you wish, but most students will tell you they ended up regretting it, so we thought we’d save you the time and effort of lugging anything unnecessarily!

What to expect from freshers fairs

Every academic year, welcome week – or Freshers' Week as it is more widely known – takes place at the start of the academic year. It is an introductory week designed to allow new students to adjust into the student lifestyle before classes begin. Every university has its own Freshers' Week, with a variety of parties and events to attend every night of the week.

Freshers' Fair, often known as a "societies fair," is usually held in the middle or near the end of Freshers' Week. It allows new (and current) students to learn about all of the university's societies and clubs, as well as learn about the greatest student offers your university and local organisations have to offer.

Freshers Fair is usually held in a huge facility on campus and can be a fun day - prepare to get a lot of freebies (including pizza), goodie bags, and enough pens to last you the duration of your university life and even beyond.

Who’s going to be there?

At your university's Freshers' Fair, you'll find hundreds of exhibitors ranging from student activity organisations to societies and sports clubs. There will be a variety of stalls with plenty to see and do. External corporations and organisations may also be in attendance, displaying their finest student bargains. To get a complete list of who will be attending, go to your university's website before freshers to find out more.

If you’re worried about attending alone and feeling overwhelmed in large crowds, it might be a good idea to seek out your housemates beforehand and purchase tickets to attend as a group. It’s a great way to get to know the people you’ll be living with, as well as bag a load of amazing freebies.

Freshers' Fair is also an excellent opportunity to join clubs and groups that reflect some of your most loved interests, as well as to meet new, like-minded people who share your enthusiasm. It also allows you to attempt something completely new, which can be equally as exhilarating.

Don’t hold back from joining clubs and societies - make the most of your university experience! A university society is often a student-run organisation that serves students at a university. Societies are fantastic places to meet new people, create lifelong friends, and, if you become involved, build your talents and improve your job prospects. At university, there's a club for almost everything, from professional interests and causes to unusual and occasionally just amusing hobbies and interests.

Choosing accommodation

Finding a place to live as a student should be high on your priority list, yet it's not always as simple as it may seem! You must not only find a place to live before the start of university, but you must also consider the type of housing you wish to live in, so let's look through the options you have available so you can make the right choice when it comes to university accommodation.

What kind of properties should I look out for?

Your choice of property is determined by your budget and preferences. If you don't like the concept of living in a university hall with other students, you'll have to look into other choices such as private university halls or a private landlord. Here are your choices:

  • University residence halls

  • Private halls

  • Private landlord

  • Staying with family or friends

The issue that many students have with university halls, whether private or not, is that you run the danger of not liking the people you're living with. A private landlord, on the other hand, may be too costly for you to afford on your own. Using the Elkamy platform to arrange your housing will allow you to get to know those people so you aren't caught by surprise when meeting your new housemates, whether you choose university halls or a private landlord.

We’ve put together this useful infographic to help you get the idea of how much you can expect to pay each week for rent as a student.

Created by Elkamy

Okay, so I know what kind of accommodation I’d like, how do I find it?

Another issue that many students face is figuring out where to look when it comes to seeking university student housing. You can talk to an estate agent, ask friends and relatives, or utilise the Elkamy platform to find the appropriate place for you quickly and effortlessly. Elkamy-approved accommodations are available, or you can use the Zoopla API incorporated into the app.

Can the Elkamy app help me find a new roommate or someone to house share with?

Absolutely! This is something that can happen from time to time! It can be tough to make up a housemate's share of the rent if they move out or drop out of university. We solved this problem by including a function in the app that allows you to list details about the available accommodation. This will be visible to everyone at your university and in your area, and it will also help you get to know that person before you move in with them.

So, before choosing your accommodation, take into consideration how much you can afford to pay for rent alongside every other expense you’ll have as a student.

Saving money

It’s a common known fact that students don’t have a lot of spare cash they can play around with. Not only is it nice to have money to spend on luxuries like nights out or a weekend away, but you’ll also need to have some money tucked away for emergencies such as your laptop breaking down or buying necessary textbooks for your course. That’s why it’s important to save as much money as possible as a student.

Saving money is much easier said than done, so here are some tips to help you create positive spending and saving habits:

Buy your food in bulk wherever possible

This might seem a little backhanded, but bear with us. Buying little amounts of food on a regular basis (for example, buying your meals for each day on the same day) can quickly lead to overspending, not to mention the risk of choosing less-than-nutritious foods. Buying in bulk on a regular basis, such as once a week or even once a month, will inspire you to cook in bulk and reduce the amount of food you buy unnecessarily. Make sure you have meals prepared for uni so you aren't inclined to go to Greggs every day.

Have at least one no spend day every week

It’s a simple premise, right? However, when you think about it, it’s very likely you spend money at least once every day - whether it’s for bus fares or a bottle of water on the way to uni because you left yours at home. Making the conscious effort not to spend money at least one day every week will help you save a surprising amount of money. If you like, you could put a bit of money in a jar on your no spend day and see how much you’ve saved over the space of a few months - the amount will surprise you!

Divvy out bills fairly with housemates

This seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to fall into a trap like this. If you’ve got housemates, sit down and work out exactly how much your home costs from rent to gas and electric, all the way to the cost of your broadband. Rather than paying one bill each, divide the cost equally and put your money together to pay your bills. That way, nobody is accidentally paying more than everyone else.

Budget your loan as soon as it comes in

We know. It's difficult to ignore that small inner voice screaming at you to "TREAT YO' SELF!" as soon as your loan is deposited into your bank account – and resisting the urge is terrible. However, believe us when we say that budgeting as soon as your loan is approved is critical to save money at university. Set aside money for your basic needs, such as rent, utility bills, food shopping, and any savings, before you do anything else. As a result, you can be assured that all of your bills will be paid and that you will know exactly how much money you have left to spend and “TREAT YO’ SELF!”

Make the most of pre-drinks

Even the local student-friendly clubs and pubs in your university town might get pricey if you go every other night. So gather your pals and take advantage of the pre-drinks. Before a big night out, playing drinking games with your friends can be half the fun!

Don’t do the food shop when you’re hungry

The ability to shop for your own food is a fantastic thing, but it's all too easy to overpay, especially when you're hungry (or hungover). Instead, plan your meals ahead of time, down to the last ingredient. You'll know exactly what you need to buy and how much you'll have to spend, plus you'll be far less likely to waste anything. You'll also be less likely to order an expensive takeaway if you plan your weekly meals ahead of time.

Cook with your housemates

On the topic of cooking, why not try to cut the cost of your grocery shopping even more by pooling your resources with your housemates? You'll not only save money, but you'll also get to spend more time with your housemates and possibly enhance your cooking talents. You don't even need to buy a cookbook; there are plenty of simple, student-friendly recipes available online.

Earn some extra money

If your course gives you enough spare time to take on part-time work, do so to supplement your income. Retail, waiting, and bartending positions are frequently available in university towns. If taking up part-time work isn't an option for you for whatever reason, there are lots of money-making options available online, such as student brand ambassador programmes.

Don’t rush to buy your textbooks

When you receive a reading list worth more than your parents' house at the start of the academic year, you might have a heart attack (well, not quite, but it can certainly feel like it). Whether you believe it or not, not every book on your reading list is a must, and buying every single one might be a major waste of money – especially if you buy them brand new. As mentioned earlier it might be worth your while to wait as you figure out which key texts you'll need, and even then, you can get them used from older students. If you need anything else, you can always borrow it from the library.

Make the most of student discounts

You’ll be well aware by now that students can apply for discount cards for essentials such as textbooks and even your food shop, but did you know that there are other places you can get a student discount too? Services like Adobe offer a student discount that’s a fraction of the regular price for their suite. Before purchasing something, look around for student discounts so you can save as much money as possible.

Planning transport

Getting about as a uni student can soon rack up costs, not to mention mess with your timeline because of the timetables of each mode of transport. However, as mentioned earlier, it’s not always feasible to take your car with you to university and therefore, walking and public transport are going to be your best bets.

Take the time to research the most direct route to university (if you live off campus) and the best mode of transport. While a train or taxi might be faster, it’s likely to be extremely expensive in the long run. Looking for alternative methods such as the bus and a short walk would save you money and help keep you fit and healthy.

However, if using a train is your only viable option, then you can still find cheap tickets and use your student discount to bring the price down. You can also utilise the Elkamy app to browse and buy tickets for your journey.

Utilise Elkamy features

This might seem like a massive plug (and well, it really is) but you can use the Elkamy app to make so many aspects of your university life easier! Here are some of the features you can utilise:


Whether you’re looking for student housing, searching for someone with a room to let, or you have a spare room available yourself, you can use the Elkamy app to solve all of these problems. With Elkamy approved accommodations, and the ability to list and search for properties, you don’t have to worry about accommodation ever again.

Finding new friends

The Elkamy app is the perfect place to meet new people. Looking to meet some of your course mates and get to know them better? Use the Elkamy app! Want to get to know your new housemates before moving in? Use the Elkamy app! Interested in speaking to other students on the same course but in a different university to swap notes? You got it, use the Elkamy app!

We have a nifty feature called herds, and anyone can make one. You can make one for you and your housemates, you and your course mates, or even one for those with the same music interests as you. Herds are a key feature of the app and will help you stay connected with everyone in your university life.

Planning your route to university

As mentioned above, you can use the Elkamy app to look for train tickets, plan out the best route to university, or even find new and exciting places to explore in the city.


Your friends might not be interested in exactly the same things as you are, and that’s completely normal! However, we realise that you also may want to connect with people that have the same interests or hobbies as you, and that’s why we created communities. Within communities, you’ll find tailor made content, offers, events and herds that you can join to make

Local offers

We know how expensive being a student is, so we’re constantly on the lookout for discounts - and we make them available directly from the app! So keep an eye on the discount page for loads of student discounts that you can take advantage of! From money off a haircut to free entry to your favourite bar, every little counts.

Ask a question

You’re not expected to know everything the second you arrive at uni, but sometimes finding the answers to your questions can be difficult. We’ve created a feature allowing you to ask questions to other students, whether it be a question about your course, or where to find the best second hand textbooks in the area, no question is stupid! You can even ask questions anonymously if you’d rather keep your information private.

Useful resources

A place to go to find out useful information about university life that you might not have been taught before. We’ve popped them into useful infographics (like the one above) so they are quick and easy to digest - we know how busy you are. It features information about the rights you have

We’re constantly finding new ways to make university life easier for students, so you can look forward to exciting features that can take a load off your back!

Learn how to cook

When you first start university, the prospect of suddenly having to prepare all of your own meals can be intimidating, but as you get the hang of it and gain confidence in the kitchen, cooking will become much more pleasurable.

Invite your friends home for dinner parties to save money and show off your skills instead of spending money on expensive restaurant meals and takeaways. It takes time and patience to become an expert in the kitchen, but the cooking tips and techniques listed below will help considerably.

Embrace seasoning

Even the most drab and uninteresting dish can be transformed into something beautiful with a little seasoning. A little seasoning can really spice up a 15p can of beans or a 12p pack of noodles if you start going for 'basics' while doing your weekly shopping. While salt and pepper will always be your best friends, it's worth figuring out which spices and herbs you prefer, as they can drastically alter the way you cook and eat. A pinch of chilli powder, Cajun pepper, or paprika will provide a wonderful kick to almost everything, while dried oregano and basil are fantastic in any Italian pasta meal.

Make sure your dry food cupboard is full

We’ve spoken in detail about useful items to keep in your food cupboard before, and as you begin to experiment with new recipes you’ll realise how useful they really are. A tin of chopped tomatoes can make a brilliant base for many pasta sauces and can help bulk out a meal with one of your five a day. Other useful items to stock up on are soups, jarred sauces, stock cubes, tinned vegetables, tinned meat and, of course, good old baked beans.

Fall in love with one pot meals

If you’re short on pots, pans and stove space (which let’s face it, you probably will be), then one pot meals can be an absolute lifesaver. You usually begin with a base like onions, mushrooms and other base vegetables and begin to add in other aspects like meat, sauces and pastas. They save using lots of different pots and pans, infuse lots of beautiful flavours, and can be frozen if you make too much! Not sure what to make? Here are some amazing one pot meal recipe ideas for you to check out.

Learn how to create meal plans

Planning your meals ahead of time can save you a lot of money and help you eat healthy by preventing you from buying food while you're out or ordering takeout. You'll only buy what you need from the supermarket if you plan your meals for the week. The same goes for lunches: make sure you have enough of everything to last you the entire week, or else life will get in the way and you'll end up eating at KFC to save time.

Cooking at home does not have to be monotonous. In fact, you could use your cooking skills to make half-priced restaurant meals at home. There are many home-made recipes for popular takeout chains like KFC, McDonalds and even Nandos! Why not follow a recipe for a night of fun and delicious food?

Gain inspiration and tips from online foodies

There are so many online channels that give off plenty of useful cooking tips and recipes. If you’re looking for ways to save money yet still cook delicious and healthy meals, we recommend checking out SORTEDfood on YouTube. They regularly upload budget versions of meals and show you how to make them just as delicious as more expensive versions as well as teach valuable skills like how to hold a knife, and many other extremely useful tips.

Learn how to organise yourself

As a student, you have a lot on your plate. You will be stressed if you are not organised and do not feel on top of things. You may find yourself working late and sleeping less, which is not a good idea. It's all about creating strong study habits and routines when it comes to being organised for university.

Create a routine for yourself

The key to student success is consistency. Create a routine by writing down your overall weekly schedule. Include things like when you'll finish your assignments, review what you've learned, and exercise, among other things. You won't be able to stick to a routine 100 percent of the time, but you can develop a system to help you stay focused and on track.

Create rules that are easy to stick to

Make a list of clear rules for yourself. For example, “finish all projects and assignments at least two days before they are due” or “start studying for tests at least one week ahead of time.” This will eventually become a habit that you’ll do subconsciously in the future.

Set deadlines before tasks are due

Following on from the last point, this one is a great way to get ahead of the game. Make your own deadlines and write them down in your calendar or planner. As a student, having your own deadline minimises stress. You'll be more inclined to send in your best work as well.

Treat the actual deadline as though it were not the deadline. Set a one- or two-day deadline for yourself and plan appropriately. This will benefit you because you are most likely already stressed out from taking tests and examinations!

Avoid multitasking

Multitasking always seems to be a wonderful idea because it allows you to look as if you are working twice as hard. We all become bored with the activities we're working on, so moving around seems like a better way to pass the time. The problem is that it does not produce the best results.

Here's what we suggest: Take a spare piece of paper and jot down the task you're currently working on, such as a math assignment with questions 1 to 5. Place that scrap piece of paper on your study table as a reminder to keep focused on your current task.

Regularly declutter

Assess all of your papers, notes, pamphlets, and other items you've accumulated at the end of each week. Everything you don't need should be recycled or thrown away. Clutter produces more clutter. You'll be more likely to keep organised in general if you declutter once a week. It will also be easier for you to stay focused.

Learn that it’s okay to say no

You can't say yes to everything if you want to be a well-organised and productive student; you'll have to make trade-offs. Decide on the limits you want to impose on yourself. Decide how often you'll hang out with your friends each week, how many days you'll dedicate to extracurricular activities each week, and what your priorities are. Then, to safeguard these boundaries, practise saying no. And, don't feel bad if you say no! It's important to remember that being a busy student isn't the same as being an efficient student.

Create a productive working environment

If you want to be a successful student, you must work in the right environment. You'll need all of the required materials, including stationery, paper, and study tools. A good table and lamp are also a really good idea. And you should never study on your bed if you want to be productive!

Eliminate all distractions when you’re studying

Consider the kind of distractions you normally encounter when attempting to study. Text messages, phone notifications, social media, YouTube, books, and magazines are all common examples.

Before you start working, get rid of these distractions. Put your phone in a different room, switch off your computer's Internet access (if you don’t need it for studying, of course), and stack your books and magazines at the far end of the room.

Join an orientation programme (international students)

If you’re moving to the UK to study, then you may be wondering if there’s anything you could be doing to make life easier when it comes to starting university. Many universities around the UK offer orientation programmes for international students. For example, Birmingham City uni offers fun activities to help you get settled in, make new friends, and make sure you’ve completed everything you need to before university starts. Get in touch with the university you’ll be attending to find out more information.

We also welcome international students to use the Elkamy app to help make uni life a thousand times easier. Find your way around in a strange city, make new friends on the app, and look for accommodation so you can begin your new journey.

Basic life skills

The newfound freedom is one of the most difficult transitions for incoming university students. Personal accountability is higher among university students, and there is less external structure. There are no defined study times, no mandatory lunch times, no one telling them when to sleep or wake up, an increase in their academic workload, a higher need to multitask and balance, and a plethora of new social options and difficulties. The skills listed below will assist you in developing your own internal structure and succeeding in university:

Stress management

Regular exercise, proper rest, decent nutrition, and/or meditation are all recommended methods of stress reduction. Finding ways to expand coping tools will assist you in reducing the difficulties that life will throw at you.

How to be assertive

Speak out for yourself in a confident, non-aggressive manner rather than passively allowing others to take advantage of you. Roommate communication, study groups, teams, and dispute resolution all benefit from assertiveness skills. They also entail understanding and putting into practise healthy boundaries.

Self care

Develop bedtime routines that are focused on your physical needs and health. A good night's sleep and a balanced diet can help with mood, athletic and academic performance, and stress coping strategies. Self-care also includes things like exercise, relaxation, and proper hygiene.

Knowing when to ask for help

Knowing when to ask for help is an important component of advocating for yourself. University years are a time for gaining new knowledge, life skills, and a new perspective on the world. It is a show of strength and integrity to seek help when you need it, not an admission of failure.

Learning honesty, integrity and perseverance

Learning to incorporate personal beliefs and ethics into all aspects of life is an important part of personal development during university. Learning to persevere and stay dedicated to goals in the face of adversity is an important part of the path to integrity, and makes you a well rounded person that’s very likeable in life.

Money management

We touched on this earlier, but money management is a crucial skill to learn during your university years. Once you’ve completed your studies, you’re going to be responsible for a whole lot more than attending university. You’ll have other costs, new costs such as higher rent or a mortgage and paying back student loans. Learning how to handle your money now will be great practise for later on in life.

In conclusion

We get it, it’s a lot of information to absorb and if you’ve made it this far then well done! University can be very difficult and here at Elkamy, we strive to make university life easier for students like yourself.

Ultimately, remember that you’re not alone and there are plenty of places to turn for help - including our app!

What are you most excited about at university? What are you worried about? Is there anything that’s troubling you about starting university? Let us know below!


Have your say today! You'll need to login first to post a comment.

Elkamy Worcester

7 months ago


Have your say today! You'll need to login first to post a comment.