Preparing for uni
Joining the university
There's more to starting uni than preparing for your studies. We're here to help you figure out what to bring from home, how to budget your finances, what meals to cook and what societies to join.
Before you arrive in Portsmouth, you'll get all the support you need to be confident in your studies and thrive as a student.
- Get ready to make friends
- Plan to make your halls your home
- Start exploring your campus and city
- Get to grips with your finances
Get ready to make friends
There are plenty of ways you can make friends at uni. But you don't have to wait until you arrive.
Join the applicant Facebook group
As soon as you've applied to join us, start getting to know other students through our applicant Facebook group. The group is only open to applicants and offer holders, and is a safe space to start conversations with future classmates. Use the group to find out who you might live with and to meet people with the same hobbies as you.
Explore societies and sports clubs
Our Students' Union has over 140 societies. Joining a society is a great way to meet other students who share your interests. Whether you're passionate about culture, politics, gaming, faith, acting, singing, languages and much more – you'll find somewhere you belong.
You can also join any one of our 28 sports clubs, including football, American football, golf, lacrosse, rowing and more. Sign up to learn a new sport and make new friends or train with a team to represent the University competitively.
Plan your Welcome Month
To help you feel at home in Portsmouth, you're invited to a Welcome Month full of exciting activities where you can meet loads of new people. From book clubs, dance classes, art nights and music hangouts to support sessions with our friendly advisers on topics around finance, study skills and health and wellbeing.
Start exploring your Welcome Month programme before you arrive so you've already got dates in the diary to look forward to. If you're already in touch with your future roommates, you can make a plan together.
It's normal to be nervous
Meeting lots of new people at once can be nerve-wracking – even if you're excited at the same time! Our Student Wellbeing service has a collection of self-help resources and online programmes you can use before you arrive to help you stay positive.
You can also meet our Welcome Ambassadors on social media or at their welcome event at the start of the year. Welcome Ambassadors are current students who are available to help you settle in and answer any questions you have about starting uni.
I was nervous but mainly about the social side of things. By going to the social activities they had for my course during induction week and putting myself out there, I was able to make a lot more friends than I thought I would.
Plan to make your halls your home
Once you move into halls or a shared house, you'll get support to settle into your new home from our Residence Life Assistants. But there are a few things you can do to prepare for move-in day.
Write a packing list
Start thinking early about what to pack for your new student room and resist the temptation to bring everything you own. You won't have loads of space, especially if you're sharing a kitchen and bathroom. Download our packing checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
Get some decorations
You'll want your room to feel cosy and customised to suit you. Get a few prints and posters for your wall, or print photos of friends and family and make them into a collage. Already know your colour scheme? Treat yourself to a new duvet set and a matching throw... you could even get photo frames to match.
Protect your possessions
When living away from home, especially in shared accommodation, you should reduce risks to your possessions. Get contents insurance when you start uni to protect your possessions from theft, fire or accidents. Find out more about keeping your property safe.
Start exploring your campus and city
If possible, take a trip to your new uni campus and get an idea of where the main buildings are – including the Students' Union. You'll feel more comfortable arriving for your induction if you've already walked around campus.
While exploring campus, find out how to get from your accommodation to the main teaching rooms and the library. Look out for important services when you're getting to know the campus, such as Student Wellbeing, the GP surgery, the Students' Union, IT, Student Finance and Careers and Employability.
You can download a map of our campus and find out where our main buildings are located. You can also do a self-guided campus tour and download Google maps of the city or campus to your phone so you're prepared when you arrive.
Think about transport
Transport options in Portsmouth mean that wherever you live in the city, it's quick and easy to get to campus.
You can use your student ID to get the University bus for free. The bus route passes our main University buildings and the most popular student residential areas. We also have over 1,500 cycle hoops and bike racks across campus, including 4 secure cycle cages that you'll need your student ID to enter.
Find and register with a doctor
To make sure you can get medical treatment if you need it, you should register with a doctor (also known as a General Practitioner or GP) as soon as you get to university.
You can choose which surgery to register with, but it's a good idea to choose a surgery that's close to your home. Find out how and where you can register with a doctor in Portsmouth.
As a new student, you'll need to provide proof of your new address and fill out a medical questionnaire.
Get to grips with your finances
If you can, save up some money before you arrive at uni. Plan your spending wisely and take advantage of student discounts to save while you study.
Make a budget
It's a good idea to make a budget when preparing for university. You should have an idea of how much money you'll have in the bank each month, depending on loans and savings you accumulate before uni. Our guide to budgeting at uni is a great place to get started, and our money-saving tips can help you stick to your budget.
Use our budget calculator to add up your monthly essential expenses and take this away from the total money you expect to have each month. Essentials will include your rent, bills, transport costs and food. Plan your extra spending such as clothes and nights out using the money left over.
Apply for a student bank account
You can have a regular bank account as a student, but a student bank account has extra benefits. The benefits are different depending on the bank you choose. They could include an interest-free overdraft, a free railcard, or free cash.
Get your student discount card
Totum is a discount card and app exclusively for students. It's approved by the National Union of Students (NUS) and gets you money off clothes, shoes, electronic devices, entertainment, restaurants, health and fitness and more.
Sign up for Totum Lite for free, or get Totum Pro from £14.99 per year. All you need to sign up is your university email address.
Apply for a railcard
You should consider getting a young person's railcard if you travel by train regularly. The railcard costs £30 a year (or £70 for 3 years) and gets you up to 1/3 off rail fares across England, Scotland and Wales.
You'll save a lot of money if you're planning to visit friends and family by train. You can also use the railcard to get savings on experiences and days out.
Learning how to cook before you get to uni will save you money when you get here, is healthier than buying ready-made meals or fast food, and gives you a great way to bond with roommates over dinner.
Start exploring and saving meal ideas on a budget. You can also ask your family or friends to teach you how to cook your favourite dish. Being able to cook your favourite recipe will give you a taste of home when you're away.
Order a food delivery
Put together a weekly shopping list and order a food shop online to arrive during your first week. Preparing early means you won't have to worry about finding shops while moving in, and you'll get supplies delivered straight to your door. You could even order a food delivery or click and collect from one of our local stores.