Top tips for freshers starting university

Here are some top tips for students starting university this year, written by the experts over at giffgaff. 

Study essentials

It’s very important you bring your own stationery. This can include; pens, highlighters, staplers, a diary, a personal organiser, post-it notes. Also having your own laptop will make your work and study easier.

Most students spend the first year of their studies in some form of student accommodation. So make your space as comfortable as possible as this is your space for you to feel at ease. Decorate your room with photos of friends and family, bring your own cosy bedding and cushions.

Other suggestions for the room include; a desk fan, a desk lamp, a torch, a portable music speaker, a board – with drawing pins for putting up anything important.

What you won’t need – aim to travel as light as possible. I know you’re probably thinking WHAT! Travel light, but I need a lot of stuff. Do check with your accommodation but you shouldn’t need kitchen equipment (fridge, freezer, and kettle), a printer, a car (parking spaces may be limited), large suitcases (you are restricted to space so having a large suitcase in your room can be an issue), your old study books (reading lists will be handed out of the start of term).


If you will be taking the train regularly we recommend getting the 16 – 25 railcard. It costs around £30 for one year and this gives you a third off all rail fares and will save you around £200 per year.

If you are living out, you could also consider investing in a bike as this can work out effectively in the long run. Some universities do run bicycle loan schemes so do check that out.

Financing and budgeting

The first thing you should do is set up a student bank account. Many banks offer these with added incentives such as travel discounts.

Securing student finance is a lengthy process, but don’t forget this is important so make sure this is a priority.

Top tips: It’s important to keep track of your spending. Create a spreadsheet of your finances so you can see how much you are spending each month and including your incomes (student loans/ bursaries/ part-time jobs).

Don’t get tied down to a mobile contract

giffgaff have launched a new golden goodybag, giving you more data as well as unlimited calls and texts. Get your hands on 13 GB data for just £10*. This offer is only for students with a .ac.uk email address. Head over to https://www.giffgaff.com/students and unlock all the benefits. 

With the student golden goodybag you have complete control over your plan and so much more. 

  • No contracts – change or cancel your plan anytime
  • Bag yourself an extra 1 GB data for free after your 3rd goodybag purchase**
  • Unlimited UK calls and texts 
  • EU roaming included