After months – actually, let’s face it, it’s been years – of researching, mind-changing, decision-making, thinking, deliberating, comparing and applying to university, it happened. You got your responses back and settled on a decision. You have accepted your university offer.
Firstly, congrats! Cue happy little dance.
But now, without all that deliberating over and done with, it seems a little quiet. Sure, you’re excited as anything, but you seem to have run out of steps to take. You’re struck by the feeling there are definitely things to be doing but you’re just not too sure what those things are supposed to be.
While you busy yourself with finals, spend valuable time with friends and family, and flit between fretting and rejoicing about your blank canvas of a future, here’s what you need to be doing in those long months before you arrive on campus.
Put other universities out of your mind
You made a decision and no matter what that decision was, it will be the right one. There’s little use dwelling on all the lives you could have led had you chosen another university – or even country – instead, focus on the decision you did make.
You obviously chose where you did for a reason (likely many reasons) so try to concentrate on that and let your imagination go crazy dreaming up all the wonderful adventures you have ahead of you. This is an exciting time, try not to focus on what ifs.
Apply for scholarships
You might not know quite how much is out there in terms of scholarships, but you would be surprised. There are countless scholarships offered through many different organisations from your university itself, the government and local and international companies.
Whenever you have a spare minute, it would be wise to send off applications for as many scholarships you’re eligible for that you can find.
Not sure where to look for scholarships? If you’re headed to the UK for your studies here are the best scholarships for international students in the country. If it’s Canada you’re off to then here’s what to do. Anywhere else? Keep your eye on our website for more up-to-date information coming soon, but in the meantime, a quick Google search should return thousands of results.
Sort out accommodation
Now you have accepted your offer, your university is likely to have sent, or be in the process of sending, you a welcome pack or at least an email with all the information you need before term-time comes around. In it, you’re bound to have information on accommodation, and if not send across an email to your university to ask for assistance.
There are a lot of choices to be made: halls or house, catered or self-catered, go it alone or share. Done some research and still not sure? Try taking our quiz and see if you feel happy with the result, or weigh up the pros and cons of living in university halls of residence.
The thing I'm gonna miss about halls is being so close to uni I can roll out of bed four minutes before my lecture and still make it on time
— Jacob Monteith (@JacobMonteith94) June 22, 2015
“You may want to live on campus your first year, which is both convenient for getting to classes and ‘forces’ you to see other people frequently and make friends. However, don’t be afraid of looking into off campus options your first year,” University of Florida sophomore Iesha told Her Campus.
Make sure to keep in mind any deadlines for university housing and the financial aspects of your decision.
Spend time with loved ones
It’s safe to say you’ll miss your friends and family a crazy amount while you’re away. So make the most of your mother’s home cooked food, your sister’s non-stop babbling, the warmth of your grandfather’s hug and the long nights spent with your best friend by your side. Hold these memories dear for they just might get you through the odd tough day away at university.
Read, read, read
You might have required reading you need to have finished by the time term starts, or you might have recommended reading or perhaps you have nothing at all. No matter the circumstances, buying or borrowing a few books relevant to your course – or even just your wider interests – is bound to be beneficial and set you up well for the beginning of your time studying abroad.
Get online and get connected
Social media can be a wonderful tool, so utilise it. There is bound to be at least one Facebook group which has been set up for eager nearly-freshers like you to get connected, so get online and get searching. If you search the name of your university with ‘freshers’ that will be your best bet – but check out your university website, because there may even be dedicated pages for it.
It should help ease any anxiety you may harbour to know there are a going to be few friendly faces (even if you only know them digitally at first) around campus.
It’s never too early to start thinking about packing. The last thing you want is to end up forgetting anything. While you will want a few home comforts and essentials, a lot of things you can buy at university so keep this in mind while you pack.
Don’t fancy putting together your own list? Have a look at our ultimate packing list to give you a bit of a hand packing your life up into a suitcase (or two).
Check your visa requirements and book your travel
Before you can totally switch off for the summer it’s good to make sure everything is in order. Make sure you’re going to be in the country before the beginning of your course but not before your visa starts. Put together a clear plan for arrival and gather all your travel and study documents ready to go.
Scholarships applied for, accommodation sorted, potential new pals digitally befriended, summer reading done, loved ones hugged and suitcase packed (and unpacked and repacked and unpacked and packed one final time)? Time to unwind…
Switch off for a while
And lastly, just take some time to relax – you deserve it! Who knows when, if ever, you’ll have this amount of free time again before you are a busy student and then in the workplace.
“This might not be the advice you’re expecting to hear from a college advisor, but I think it’s a great time to do nothing, however you define that,” certified educational planner and co-founder of Expert Admissions Bari Norman told Her Campus.
“Most students have been working really hard leading up to college, and they’ll be working hard again once they get there, preparing for the next phase after college.”