How to… deal with those last minute pre-course worries

You’re due to start a course but the dreaded last minute doubts sometimes creep in for a whole host of reasons. Many people who are about to join a course may feel apprehensive as the time to start their studies draws nearer. It’s quite natural and totally understandable to feel like this as studying at university is a big step and can mean many changes for you.

Here, we talk about three typical last minute niggles and give you ideas about how to deal with them.

Worry 1: I’ll be away from home and won’t know anyone!

Studying at university may mean studying a new subject, moving away from home and will certainly mean meeting new people so can seem a little overwhelming! Try and remember that there will be many other people in exactly the same situation as yourself. Freshers’ Week takes place at the beginning of the academic year and is a great way for students to get together and meet each other in a social environment. The Students Union organises the event and you’ll usually also be introduced to the full range of social and sporting events, societies and activities on offer to students at the university during this time.

For some students, settling in at university seems to come as second nature; for others it may take some time to get used to the course, the city and student life away from the family home. Like anything new, starting university takes a certain amount of personal adjustment to accommodate the changes that come with it. Remember – you won’t be the first and certainly not the last person in this situation to feel like this! Talking to your friends, getting involved with student societies, sporting activities or social events, and establishing a routine for yourself can help to ease the transition.

The university is also here to help – our Student Services team are here to support you and have a wealth of experience in helping students with all sorts of different issues. Don’t feel that your concerns and feelings won’t be listened to – we want to help you to make the most of your time at university and to support you with situations that you may be finding difficult.

Worry 2: I’m worried about supporting myself financially!

There are a number of financial support options available to eligible students on Higher Education programmes within the UK. For some courses, students may be able to apply for loans and grants to help pay for their course and living costs. Certain health-related courses and some teacher training courses may have alternative financial support in the form of bursaries.

If you haven’t yet applied for financial support or are unsure of what support may be available to you, you should contact the university as soon as possible. Birmingham City University has a dedicated team of Student Financial Advisers who are able to provide information and guidance on the full range of support available to students. You can contact them on 0121 331 6387 or e-mail student.finance@bcu.ac.uk.

If you have already applied for financial support but feel unsure about coping with the support available to you, it’s important that you talk to someone about this. Call one of our Student Financial Advisers on 0121 331 6387 to talk to them about your situation – they may be able to help you plan a budget or talk to you about any additional sources of funding you might be able to apply for to help you. If you still feel that you’re not in a position financially to take up your place, you may want to consider deferring your place until the following academic year if you think you would be better able to cope at that time. Please contact the University if you would like to request a deferral.

It’s important to feel comfortable with your financial situation when embarking upon study, as financial problems can make it difficult to concentrate on study. We want your time at the university to be enjoyable and rewarding, which is why we provide guidance and information to applicants and students both before and whilst they are studying. We understand that sometimes applicants find that they are unable to take their offer of a place up when they originally intended to due to financial constraints, and where possible will try and accommodate deferral requests which are made in an appropriate and timely manner.

Worry 3: I don’t feel ready to study yet!

Maybe you feel burned out if you’ve been studying for the past few years and feel that you need a break from study. Maybe you feel daunted at the prospect of studying if you’ve been out of study for a few years. Either way, there are a few things you’ll need to think about before deciding on what to do next. Would you benefit by taking a year out before starting University? What could you do during the year to help prepare you to start next year? Do you want a year to travel? Do you want to use the year to work and save money to help with your costs when you’re at university? Do you want to use the year to gain some practical experience which is relevant to the subject you’re applying for?

You may choose to talk to your friends or family about your options. It’s important to remember that there are only certain circumstances in which we can permit deferrals so you must contact us if you do think about taking a year out after being offered a place. It’s also worth considering that tuition fees may also increase if you join a course the following year.

You are also welcome to talk to the university if you’d like to; the friendly advisers here at Choices are on hand to help you.

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