Research conducted on behalf of an online student discount platform has uncovered the greatest concerns students have prior to starting their university course, with forming meaningful friendships, not liking their chosen subject and running out of finances coming out on top.
The study, carried out on behalf of StudentBeans, quizzed more than 2,000 students, all of whom were over 18 and attending one of The Guardian’s top 50 universities this year.*
All students were initially asked to share their biggest concerns about attending university, and were able to select all answers provided by researchers that applied to them.
Almost all said they were afraid of not making friends (95%).
Not enjoying their course (92%) and running out of money (89%) were also significant worries harboured by a large majority of soon-to-be students.
Interestingly, the research reveals that concerns differ for students around the country.
The biggest worry for each of The Guardian’s top 10 universities was as follows:
- Cambridge – I’ll get homesick (88%)
- Andrews – I will not make any friends (94%)
- Oxford – It will be too challenging (79%)
- Loughborough – I will not enjoy my course (96%)
- Durham – I will not make any friends (92%)
- Bath – I will run out of money (93%)
- Imperial College – I will run out of money (90%)
- Lancaster – I’ll get homesick (83%)
- Warwick – I will not enjoy my course (94%)
- Exeter – I won’t like any of my housemates (85%)
Debt seemed to be a big concern for students, with just over two thirds (67%) of respondents declaring that they are worried that they will not be able to pay back their student debt upon graduation.
Furthermore, when asked if they knew anyone who had had a negative university experience, 54% responded yes. A third of those said the person concerned dropped out as a result of their negative experience.
What’s more, all respondents were asked what they were productively planning, or had thought about doing in order to overcome their concerns.
The top five results emerged as follows:
- Save money – 75%
- Try to make friends through private social media groups – 68%
- Purchase all necessary text books and reading materials – 60%
- Research clubs and societies to join – 52%
- Learn to cook – 47%
In contrast, respondents were also asked what they were looking forward to most about going to university, with 28% stating that they were most excited to party.
A further 22% said they were most looking forward to making friends and 16% said they were most excited about moving away from their parents.
Still worried about going to university?
Don’t panic, the team at Student Beans have come up with a list of their best tips on how to make the most out of your freshers.
- Arrive early – It’s easy to keep putting the daunting concept of socialising with new people off until the last minute… Don’t do that. Arrive early, unpack and head straight to the kitchen for some socialising. You may be totally out of your comfort zone but you’ll be glad you pushed yourself further down the line.
- Join a society or sports team – There are loads of activities and societies you can join at uni and you already know you’ve got stuff in common with the people there. Making friends can be daunting, but uni gives you so many opportunities to do things you’ve never done before, so you’ll defo find people to chat with and make friends.
- Go to the Freshers’ fair – Your freshers’ fair will be held within the first week of term and it’s a great opportunity to find out about all the societies and groups that you might be interested in. It’s also a great opportunity to nab some freebies from big brands, such as vouchers to branded merch. Student Beans is heading to 20 freshers fairs across the UK with our Wheel of Fortune this September so come check us out and win amazing prizes for every spin!
- Be open minded – You may have joined all the groups on social media and decided who you want to be friends with before you even meet them; however the key to freshers is being open minded. Try not to go in with pre-judgements of everything and everyone and just be open to new experiences. Give yourself a goal of speaking to one new person every day, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll make new friendships.
- Money tips – Yes, money can be tight at uni, but it doesn’t have to be with budgeting, part-time jobs and student discounts. As soon as you have been accepted to your course, you can sign up for a free Student Beans account which gets you instant access to hundreds of discounts and offers with the biggest brands, shops and restaurants.
- Don’t panic if you’re not having the time of your life yet – The first few weeks of university can be hugely overwhelming so it’s natural that you may miss your home comforts, family and friends. With so much pressure on you to be having the ‘time of your life’, don’t feel like a failure if you’re not, it takes some people longer to adjust than others.
- Talk to someone – If you’re having a hard time adjusting, do reach out and talk to your family and friends. If you are really not enjoying your course or uni, it’s not the end of the world if you reapply to another one. There will be plenty of advisors and your tutor of course will be able to help guide you in the right direction. Some unis have student support centres too, so check out your uni website for more info.
Michael Eder, Founder of Student Beans said:
“Fresher’s is an incredibly exciting time and signals the start of your journey as an independent young adult. For most students this will be the first time they live out of the family home, and have the freedom to do what they want, when they want. But this can also lead to far too much unnecessary stress and pressure to have the best time of your life whilst also studying hard, and working a job so you can afford rent. University is a time for you to learn something that you love whilst also meeting friends that will support you through your studies. Our research has shown that almost every student has some sort of worry before attending uni, so everyone is in a similar frame of mind. Talk to each other, reach out to those who may need a helping hand, a chat, or just a smile”
*From the Guardian’s list of top universities 2020