While going to university is exciting, it can also be very daunting.

These nerves can be particularly potent if you’re a first-generation student and don’t have any family experience to rely on.

But fear not, here, we detail our top tips for first-generation students attending university.

What is a First-Generation Student?

A first-generation student is a student whose parents didn’t attend university and get a degree.

You would also count as a first-generation student even if one of the following relatives have gone to university:

  • foster parents,
  • siblings, such as a brother or sister.
  • your care workers,
  • your biological parents, if you have been adopted, and
  • a parent you’ve not had contact with during your education from 16 years old onwards.

The Tips

Get Involved

At university, there will always be something happening and to get the most out of your time there, you’ll need to get involved!

Start by making sure you attend Freshers’ Week.

There, you’ll likely find many of the societies, clubs, and sports teams the university has to offer.

Joining one of these groups will help you find your feet, and more importantly, find like-minded people who you can navigate student life with.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

It’s easy to believe that everyone else has it all figured out, but don’t forget, they’re likely as overwhelmed as you might be!

Asking questions will help you find your feet, and the sooner you find your feet, the sooner you’ll feel more comfortable.

Familiarise Yourself with Your Department

Each course will belong to a particular faculty, and each faculty will have a department in a university building.

Familiarising yourself with where in the building your faculty is, and the office hours of your tutors will mean that you’ll know when you can contact them for help and help build a relationship with them that will serve you throughout the duration of your course.

Try to Budget, but Don’t Obsess

The cash strapped student is a well-trodden label, but it doesn’t have to be a fact.

Drafting a budget is good advice at any time in life, but particularly when you’re a student.

Doing so will help you figure out which activities you can comfortably afford, and which you might have to pass on, but also try not to let it take over.

While you’ll most likely have nights out that you won’t forget, it’s the more personal moments you’ll have with friends in halls or at the student union that will build lasting friendships and memories.

Go at Your Own Pace

While at university, you’ll be exposed to so many different things.

With so many different ways of studying, different cultures, and different personalities, it can be difficult to not get swept up.

You might have a friend that can stay out all night and turn up to a lecture first thing the next morning and be fine. There might be someone in your class who is able to commit everything to memory the first time, and so doesn’t need to study.

If the pace is too fast for you, or you need to put a little time aside to study, it’s important to embrace that and not feel embarrassed or like you need to keep up.

Figuring out what works for you and going at your own pace will help you stay the course and not get burnt out.

Are you a first-generation and looking for some advice?

We’re here to help! Contact our friendly advisors today on +44 (0)23 9283 9210 and let us help start your university journey off right.

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