With freshers’ week now just a couple of weeks away, here we look at some of the things you’ll need to arrange before you start university.
Open a student bank account
Do some research into the different options and deals on offer and consider which one can offer you the most in the long term. Some banks offer deals like discounted travel for students which can help to save money, but always look at the wider picture to make sure that you really are getting the best deal.
Insuring personal possessions is important in case of accidental loss, damage or theft, as the cost of replacing valuables can be considerable in some cases. Many insurers offer specific insurance for students, but you may also be able to take out student insurance as part of your parents’ home insurance. Take time to find out whether this could be more cost effective than taking out separate cover.
Whichever option you choose, ensure that appropriate cover is arranged before you join university. Consider what valuables you intend to bring and pay attention to any specific cover requirements or additional premiums for specific items.
TV licences are now required to use television receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV, including:
• TV set
• Digital box
• Video recorder
• Mobile phone
If you are bringing any such equipment for viewing or recording TV programmes, you’ll need to ensure that you have a valid TV licence for it at the accommodation you’ll be living at. TV licences will need to be renewed every year and you must update TV Licensing with any changes in address. Failure to have a valid TV licence could result in prosecution and a fine, so making sure this requirement is covered is important.
Further information about TV licences can be found at http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/information/index.jsp.
For enrolment purposes, make sure you have the original certificates. Results slips for exams taken in the Summer immediately before the course starts are usually acceptable however results slips from previous years’ examinations are not acceptable and original certificates will be required by the university.
If you’ve lost your original certificates, you will need to obtain replacements from the relevant examining board. Links to some of the main UK examining boards can be found at http://www.educationalresources.co.uk/examboards.htm. If you’re unsure which examining board a qualification was awarded by, your Local Education Authority should be able to provide you with information about which examining boards were operating the particular subject area at a given school or college.
Whilst it’s not often high up on the list of priorities with the myriad of other things to be sorted out before attending university, it’s important to think about how you’ll get around whilst at university. Many factors can influence decisions regarding this, including cost, proximity of university accommodation to teaching location, size of city, whether the university is single- or multi-campus, etc.
Birmingham is well-served by city wide public transport links. Local public transport timetables are also a must have – especially if there’s travel between the student accommodation and the campus. These can be picked up from local stations around Birmingham. There are also online resources such as Travel West Midlands’ and Centro’s websites for bus and rail information to help you plan ahead:
Students who are members of the NUS may be entitled to discounts on travel passes. Check with the individual travel provider concerned to find out more about any special offers they may have.
The green option for travel for the carbon-footprint savvy student is by bike. It’s cheap, clean and great exercise! Most campuses at Birmingham City University have cycle storage and changing faciliites.
If you are going to bring a bike, make sure that it’s in good condition and meets appropriate road safety requirements. It’s also important to make sure that it’s covered against loss or theft with a suitable insurance policy. Some useful tips about cycle safety are available at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/CyclingAndWalking/DG_10026401.
As environmental policies are introduced more widely in the higher education sector, universities may move towards encouraging both their students to utilise more environmentally friendly transport options and students who wish to use car parking facilities could potentially be affected either in terms of additional costs or availability.
It’s important to consider how costs covering fuel, servicing and wear and tear will be covered. Other things to think about include the availability of adequate parking both at University and at the student accommodation and possible effects to the cost of the car insurance as a result of relocation.
If you are going to be living locally at home with your family, travelling to university by car can be the most convenient mode of transport. If you do decide to use your car, consider whether you could offer a lift to another student on your course or arrange a car share scheme? Car sharing’s not only good for the environment, but also saves money on fuel.