Freshers week, also known as welcome week, is the first week of the university year which introduces you to the university, your housemates and the city before your classes begin. For most universities, freshers week is at the end of September with the specific dates varying depending on where you go, but it can extend into October for Oxbridge universities. Learn how you can make the most of your fresher’s experience and start your first year at university with a bang.
- What is freshers week?
- What happens during freshers week?
- 8 tips to make the most of freshers week
What is freshers week?
Starting university is a big step and it can come with some worry. To combat this, freshers week is designed to ease you into university life by combining fun activities for you and your new housemates to do together and tours of the campus or university which can really help you feel comfortable in your new location.
Partaking in your freshers week is a great way to meet the people outside of your course who will be your neighbours for the next academic year, but also to connect with societies and other people across the university who have similar interests and experiences to you. This helps you set yourself up for success outside of your classes so you can enjoy the social side of university as much as the academic side.
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What happens during freshers week?
Wondering about what you can expect from freshers week? Here are the most important aspects of your freshers week to experience and be a part of.
Settling into university life
An important part of starting your university career involves letting the university know that you’re coming. Some universities require you to register online before you arrive on campus, so make sure you know what you need to do to make your entrance as smooth as possible.
You may also need to register in person when on campus so you can collect your keys and confirm your attendance. This often means going to one of the bigger rooms in your university, often a sports or exam hall, and checking in. Some universities require you to show some form of ID, for example, a passport or driver’s licence, along with your student loan documentation and exam results. This may not be necessary, but it’s worth checking so you don’t have to have a hurried trip to the library to print off the documents!
Connecting with new students is something your university is keen to do to make you feel welcome and ensure you know what is expected of you and what you need to do before term begins. Therefore, you’ll likely have welcome talks with a mid to senior level representative of your university, or your college if you’re in a university structured around colleges. You also have welcome talks from a head of department or representative of your degree subject. This is a chance to get to know your lecturers and your coursemates.
Getting to know your way around a university can be tricky and often takes some time. This is especially hard if you’re at a city university where the classes and buildings are spread out throughout the city. Therefore, you can expect to go on a tour of the campus or university buildings led by either a member of staff or another student. Going on a tour helps you learn where everything is and can help reduce any nerves you may feel around getting between your lectures. You may have back-to-back classes, especially in your first year. If you’re doing a subject with a high number of contact hours, learning how to get around the university reduces stress and stops you being late to your classes.
Another important task to complete in your first week is a tour of the library. Some universities, especially city universities, will have several libraries, but often there is a central or main library for you to use. The library is particularly important because it’s a place to study, meet other students to collaborate on work, print off your work and find books which you need for your course. Because of this, knowing your way around and knowing how to use all the different pieces of equipment early on helps reduce stress before your assignments are due. Going on a tour of the library means you know exactly where the group work, quiet and silent areas are, where to use the university’s computers and the sneaky spots that fewer students go to at busier times of the year.
Taking part in freshers’ fair
Freshers’ fairs are another important part of joining a university. The main benefit of attending one is to make connections. These can be connections between the friends you go with, the societies you want to join and companies you could get involved with either during your degree or after you graduate.
Societies often have stalls at a freshers’ fair. You can sign up to receive updates on when they will start meeting so you can join in and become a part of the society. Additionally, you can notice if there are any societies you’d like to be a part of which don’t exist at your university and create your own!
Organisations outside of the university also attend freshers’ fairs. This might be for promotional purposes to let you know about their services, or to encourage you to work with or for them after you graduate. Either way, it’s great to make some connections with organisations you’re interested in so you can get involved and have some great experience to include on your CV after you graduate.
Freshers week is meant to be about having fun! There are many social activities organised during the week for you to get involved with. This includes events for your course, society-led events and fun day and evening events to settle you into the university. You might even find the local clubs and pubs have promotional evenings you can go to. If you’re at university in London, you can get involved with city-wide freshers events, for example, London Freshers Week.
8 tips to make the most out of freshers week
Want to make sure your freshers week is the best it can be? Follow our tips for making the most out of your time:
- Party… in moderation! Freshers week is all about having fun and getting to know your university and housemates. Part of this is socialising. While we encourage you to have fun, remember to be safe for yourself and your housemates. Getting lost on your first night doesn’t benefit anyone!
- Set up a budget and stick to it. When the student loan comes in, it’s easy to take your sensible hat off and enjoy the sudden income. However, this won’t set you up well for the term ahead. Making a budget for yourself including what you need to spend on food, travel costs and books and resources for your course will help you make your money last longer.
- Register for your local doctor’s surgery. Whilst not the most fun of prospects, being a student often comes with some illness throughout your time at university. Being prepared and registering with your local doctor saves you the hassle of registering when you’re not feeling well. Also, if you have any prescriptions, you won’t have to wait for them when you need them most.
- Register to vote. Elections can come up without much warning. By registering to vote when you get to university, you’re ready to support your chosen party and won’t have to travel home and vote there.
- Find your local supermarket. Some campus universities have a shop onsite. These are often more expensive than larger supermarkets even if they are more convenient to get to. By knowing where the closest supermarket is, you can make your own meals and save money on takeaways.
- Make your living space comfy. Student rooms are not known for being luxurious. If you’re living in your student accommodation for term times, remember to get anything you need to make it a comfortable space to live in.
- Find out where you get pastoral support. Nobody knows what the first year of university will hold. It’s best to be prepared so you know what kind of support you can get, whether that’s extensions on your deadlines or access to counselling, and where you can access it.
- Ask questions! It’s okay to be stressed and overwhelmed during freshers week. It’s a big change and this might be the first time you’ve lived away from family. Remember that the university staff are more than happy to help you with any questions you have and can help ease your mind and make you feel more comfortable. They want you to succeed, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Want more tips for freshers? Read our top 10 tips for freshers.
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Freshers week is an exciting time when you settle into your university and begin your student life. While it’s important to have fun and enjoy yourself, remember to build connections with the people living near you, your coursemates, societies you’re interested in and the university staff whether relating to your course or not.
Take the time to prepare yourself for the academic year by attending any talks, tours and activities you can because they’re all designed to help you settle in and feel involved in your new university. Don’t forget to have fun in your freshers week because when classes start, the REAL fun begins! Don't forget to visit our freshers hub to learn everything you need to know about making the most of your first year of university.