University Tips Blog
An image of a group of students at university
A headshot image of the author, Dr Lucy Judd

by Dr Lucy Judd

Transition Team Manager at Nottingham Trent University

posted on 8 Jan '24

A guide to the university transition – how can your students become university ready?

In the lead up to results day, your students are likely focused on two things; getting the grades to get into university, and imagining what life will be like when they finally start their course at their chosen institution. So, it can be easy to forget about the period in-between!

Here are some top tips for students to be aware of before the start of term. This is sure to support them when settling into their new university adventure.

1. Get started early

Gone are the days of universities expecting students to turn up on their first day and nervously feel their way through the first week and beyond. Now, university transition involves a much wider range of support to ensure the smoothest and most confident transition possible.

This means there will usually be tasks and activities to complete in those last weeks of summer to get students started on their courses. Whilst staff will help anyone to catch up when they arrive, completing those tasks ahead of time will help them to feel as clued-up and in-control as they possibly can. Not least of all, ensuring finance applications are submitted should be a number one priority for students, as those applying for loans may face delays in receiving funds otherwise.

So, the best advice you can give those heading to university would be to get enrolled, to get familiar with navigating their student email accounts and learning platforms, and to check back regularly, right up until they arrive. That way, they will be able to complete any tasks or activities that are communicated to them.

2. Get social

The social element of going to university is always a source of excitement and nervousness for new students, and whilst social media has online networks covered, universities have other ways for students to speak to peers before they arrive too.

Depending on their university, new students should look out for welcome calls from fellow students, contact from peer mentors, or even online chat platforms to start connecting with their classmates. These are great, informal ways to get to make connections, to learn more about university before they start, and to start combatting any shyness as they see that everyone else is asking the same things.

They should also look out for welcome activities they can plan before they arrive - these are so much more than nightlife activities and offer the best possible chance to meet like-minded students. Ranging from academic and disability support to small group events, specialist tours, and beyond; universities have loads to offer students to meet people with similar quirks, hobbies, and interests!

3. Seek help and support

Students’ mental, emotional, and physical health are all hugely important to all universities, and their services will be reaching out to new students before they arrive as well as making sure they know where to find them in the future.

Before they start, students might find it useful to familiarise themselves with the support available, and crucially, to declare any ongoing or existing conditions so that the right support can be put in place as soon as possible. Disclosing a support need will not affect their course or their offer, but it will help to make arriving at and settling into university a smooth experience.

4. ‘Know-Do-Feel’ action plan

At Nottingham Trent University, our approach to transition is designed around three key questions:
• What do students need and want to know?
• What do they need and want to do?
• How might they feel?

Students can use this same framework to help them in the lead up to starting university. By making a checklist of questions or actions they need to complete under each category, they can start to build a personalised action plan for the weeks ahead!

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