Blog post

Freshers – top tips for new students

Starting university can be a very exciting, busy and overwhelming time. You may be living away from home for the first time, settling into your course, and making new friends.

By Anisha Johal - 1 September 2017

My top tips for new students

Course Induction

It is extremely important that you attend your course induction programme. You will gain a deeper insight into the modules that you will be studying. You’ll also meet others on your course, make new friends and get to know your lecturers. Course inductions don’t just consist of you sitting in lecture theatres all day; they can also include trips to museums, key places in the city and even the cinema!

Students’ Union Events

The Students’ Union holds a variety of different events to help students to get used to the university and the city. You’ll also find out how you can get involved with the Union through sports, societies and academic representation. During your first week or so you’ll be invited to a Freshers’ Fair or similar event where you can find out about the range of extra-curricular activities that the Union offers.


Establishing a relationship with your lecturers and personal tutor during the early stages of university is essential. Your lecturers and tutors are vital to your academic success. Book a tutorial with them in order to get to know them better and to answer any questions that you may have about the course.

Careers Appointment

Even though you have only just started university, it won’t do you any harm to book an appointment with the careers adviser. You can familiarise yourself with the services that they offer, and career events taking place and talk about your long-term plans. I made one in the first week and it really did result in me being a step ahead of my peers.


The library is probably the most important building at university. You’ll find a range of resources that will be invaluable throughout your time at university. So head there to find out where the books relevant to your subject are located. It’s also worth talking to the Subject Librarian as they can help with queries such as referencing, essay writing and subject-specific secondary material.


Having a map of the university and the city if you are living away from home is a good way to get to know the area. Highlight where your lectures/seminars will be held, where your tutorials take place and where key buildings are. You may also need to travel to other sites or campuses so get to know where they are.


If you’re living away from home for university you will probably want to spend some time getting used to halls and the shops/facilities nearby. It would also be useful to experiment with the different modes of transport available such as walking, public transport and the buses. You may want to time how long it takes you to get to campus from your accommodation too.

Part-Time Jobs/Student Employment Agency

You may be looking for a part-time job whilst studying at university. You’ll find opportunities on offer through the Union and Student Employment Agency. You may be able to work directly with the university as a student mentor/ambassador, providing support at open days, Freshers’ and other events. It’s worth signing up for these things quickly and taking full advantage of the opportunities on offer.

Freshers’ is a great opportunity to socialise and make new friends, so enjoy yourself, but do spend some time to follow these tips and settle in properly. Remember, ultimately you’re at university to get a degree so don’t lose track of your main goal.

About the author

Anisha Johal
University of Derby student

Student on Integrated Masters in English at the University of Derby. Freelance journalist, columnist and blogger