Preparing for your First Year at University

So, you’ve got yourself a place on a fashion course 👏👏👏 … what next?

I’ve put together a list of things to consider when preparing for your first year on a fashion course at University. Enjoy!

#1 – Pack your bags! (if you’re moving)

If you’ve chosen to move to a new town or city to study, you’ll have a lot more to prepare for! I personally didn’t choose this option, as I decided to stay at home whilst studying, so I don’t want to give you any bad advice. So, instead, I’ve found loads of great links to websites that have advice on things to prepare before heading off to uni & information about student accomodation in general.

  1. UCAS – Preparing for your undergraduate studies
  2. UCAS – Undergraduate accomodation
  3. WhatUni? – A guide to moving away
  4. Independent – 50 essential things every student should take with them
  5. Which? University – Student accomodation 
Prepare for First Year

*image from Highways England

#2 – Sort out your finances

Firstly, if you’re using student finance for your tuition fee and maintenece loan, make sure all your student finance is sorted out way before you start university. Find out more information about student finance here.

The next thing you may want to consider is opening up a student bank account. It’s a good idea to have a student bank account for your student maintenence loan to be paid into. Apart from

this, student bank account are often a lot better than normal bank accounts as most offer interest free overdrafts, which may come in useful if you’re having any financial difficulty throughout your studies. Another reason is that banks often give some great freebies for students opening a student bank account such as a free 16-25 Rail Card (Santander). Read more about student bank accounts here and here.

I also recommend you look into any student discount cards and deals you can get. Look into things like the 16-25 Rail Card, Unidays, NUS Extra Card and the 18+ Student Oyster photocard. You’ll have to wait until you actually start university to activate some of these (as you need a uni email address), but some you’ll be able to apply for before you start.

Read more tips about money at university here.

Prepare for First Year

#3 – Buy your equipment

As a fashion student, you’ll need to purchase some of your own equipment. Your university will almost definitely supply the machinery, irons and pattern cutting paper. However, you will need to purchase some of your own sewing and drawing equipment. Most universities will send you a list of equipment you need to buy before the term starts, so make sure you’ve purchased everything that is required of you during the summer break so that you’re ready to start in September. Some good places to buy your equipment are Morplan, Amazon, MacCulloch & Wallis, Cass Art, Cowling and Wilcox and London Graphic Centre.

If you’re university hasn’t given you a list of equipment before the term starts, I would recommend you emailing them to ask for one or putting some budget aside to buy equipment once the term starts. I wouldn’t recommend buying your equipment without a guideline from your university as you may waste your money on things you don’t need!

You may also have a book list before your start, although this is less common on a fashion course. I personally wouldn’t recommend buying any books until you actually start the course, as the university library usually stock most books you’ll need as a fashion student. Once you get started and find books in the library or as recommended by your tutor that you find particularly useful, then I would recommend buying books. I always buy my books from Amazon.

#4 – Do your summer project!

Most universities will give you a small summer project to do before you start the course. I would recommend you do this as soon as possible! Don’t give into temptation to leave it to the last minute. You want to give a good first impression to your tutors, and start the year as you mean to go on, so do your summer project as soon as they give it to you 🙂

Prepare for First Year

#5 – Research the fashion industry

This doesn’t have to be extensive (unless you want it to be), but have a look at some recent designer collections on Vogue Runway, research into fashion illustrators on Show Studio and look at some student work on the GFW website. It just gets you prepared for the three (or four) years to come!

I hope this gave you some good tips as you’re getting ready to begin your university career! I wish you all the best of luck for September 🙂




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