15 Apr 2013

preparing for university: finances, forms and accommodation

Going back to university after a year out has meant that I need to prepare for university all over again. Although I have done it all before, this doesn't make it any easier and this time, I have some other extra bits to tackle too (as being a graduate makes a lot of difference to various things). Because of this, I thought it would be helpful to do a post on preparing for university.

I will run through the following: finances, forms to fill in and return and accommodation. In another post, I will go over creating a flexible study timetable and also preparation in the form of study equipment.


By far the biggest headache of all is sorting out your source of finance. Here in the UK, the source of that headache is Student Finance, a Student Loans Company. They are currently the bane of my life and can come across as quite incompetent so it is essential that this is your first step, especially if you want to be 'income-assessed' where your parents' income is taken into consideration for loans, grants and bursaries. I would start this as early as February, when applications open, as you can change the course and university through a 'Change of Circumstances' form a few months' later.

That leads me onto my next point - bursaries and scholarships. At some universities, this is done automatically, but at others you might have to apply for them yourself. Again, do your research and start early. Missing out on a deadline can be costly as some bursaries and scholarships could be in the region of several thousand pounds. Start researching this as soon as you get your offer, would be my advice.

Forms to Complete and Return

Credit: Avcvs

If you're embarking on a course that requires health and other sorts of clearance, it is essential you fill in the required forms and return them in a timely manner. Quite often, they will form part of the offer you are holding and if you fail to return them, it can lead to your offer being revoked. For example, my offer is conditional upon occupational health and CRB clearance as I already have the academic grades. Until I achieve the clearance from those two checks, my offer will stay conditional. These forms are usually sent upon the culmination of the UCAS cycle so you can't do anything about that until you receive them.

Further to this, with health courses, vaccinations is another thing to ensure you take care of. Hepatitis B injections is one example that springs to mind - and its course of injections can take up more than half a year!


This will be my accommodation when I start university again because... I'm living at home! #privileged #lucky (if I were to hashtag that)

I covered this briefly here but I can go over more general points instead of purely financial ones. In most cases, you'll be guaranteed accommodation if you've never attended university before and more information will usually be supplied in your offer pack. If you elect not to live in halls, it might be a good idea to start house hunting around three months before you want to move in.

On a travelling note, in London, there is the option to apply for an 18+ Oyster Student Card. This gives you a discount off weekly/monthly/yearly travelcards, which can come in very handy. However, you can't apply for this until after you've started your course and registered with your university as you need proof that you are a registered student.


  1. Student finance is the bane of my student life :(
    The only advice I would offer is to do as soon as possible!

    Day Dreams & Daisy Chains

    Kelly ♥

    1. It's currently the bane of my life too! I applied as soon as applications opened and I'm still battling now :( xxx