Congratulations! You got the A Level results and you’re off to University next month. For many of you it will be the beginning of your life as an independent adult. It’s a really exciting time and it’s important to get off to a good start, so, how can you set yourself up for the future in the best possible way?
1. Work out what you need to do to succeed academically
Study is probably not going to be your top priority when you first arrive at Uni, (at least not if I remember my first few days there correctly)! There are friends to be made, social activities to attend and there might be the cooking and laundry to sort out. But, you came to university to study! You’re going to want to get that degree and to do as well as you can. Don’t be seduced into thinking that your first year results don’t really matter. You may well be applying for an internship in your second year and most employers will ask to see your first year results.
Don’t assume either that you will ace the work without having to worry too much. You may have been the brightest at your school, that won’t necessarily be the case at Uni. If you’re joining a top institution, then it’s likely that everyone on your course was at the top of their class at school. It’s a good idea to do the set reading and to turn up for timetabled teaching sessions!
2. Join several university societies
Most Unis will hold some sort of society fair during the first week of two. Go along and see what might be interesting. Why not join several societies? Give yourself a chance to try out to a few to find out where you feel most at home with both the other members and the activities. Could you see yourself being part of the committee running the society next year? It’s a good idea to build your skills through your participation in the management of societies, employers really like to see that you’ve “made things happen” while you’ve studied. Organising activities for a society is one great way of showing that.
3. Take the support on offer
Unis offer a lot of support but generally you need to be proactive about finding out about it and asking for help. Typically nobody will be chasing around after you! So, if you have special educational needs make contact with student support. Problems with finances? Look for the team helping out with that. Need help with essay writing skills? There will be people to help you with that too. And then there’s careers. This is a careers blog after all! Your careers team will be offering talks, there’ll be employer presentations and careers fairs and you’ll be able to make an appointment for career guidance. Check out what’s on offer and make sure that you don’t miss out on relevant talks or events. Drinks and nibbles will be available at many of the employer presentations here at Warwick. What’s not to like? Keep an open mind about what might interest you for a future career and come along to find out about different options.
4. Think about work opportunities
For some students working will be an imperative. There are likely to be opportunities to do jobs at the university and at Warwick there will be advertisements on the intranet for many of these. Keep a look out for them, any job you do will enhance your career prospects. Employers like to see a work ethic and, among other things, you’re likely to learn about team work, attention to detail, organisation, time management and marketing. Not bad for a list is it? You may not need to work to earn money but you could be interested in some of the first year opportunities offered by graduate employers. Look out for deadlines which may be very early in 2016. You could find that you’re taking the first steps towards being recruited by your dream employer. You might find that the career you thought would be for you does not suit at all. Either way doing a first year scheme might be a win/win. If none of this appeals, why not consider some volunteering, it’s another great way to build you skills.
5. Make friends and have fun!
You’ll want to make friends, your time at University should be a really happy one and many of your friends from Uni will end up being friends or business contacts throughout your life. Build a big network and be active in seizing every opportunity that comes your way. In addition to making sure that your university time is fun, every experience you have will add to your employability.
Welcome to your future. Make the best of it. You might just even want to sign up for this blog to help you do just that!