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100 things to do before university starts

Whether you’re beginning an undergraduate or graduate degree, thorough preparation in various life aspects is essential for a smooth university start. It’s all about proper readiness. You might often find yourself questioning if you’ve covered everything. Don’t worry! Here is a list of 100 tasks to complete before your university journey begins, categorized into ten main areas.

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Academic preparation

Commencing university entails a wealth of new information. While you likely reviewed the program when applying, it’s now crucial to delve into all the course offerings, requirements, and become acquainted with your university’s administrative systems and procedures. For those who are eager to prepare, one standout consideration is improving your academic English and writing skills, as these skills will prove invaluable in all your future academic pursuits and endeavors.

1. Familiarize yourself with the courses your program offers.

2. Familiarize yourself with program requirements.

3. Familiarize yourself with the online learning environment.

4. Ensure access to your student email.

5. Verify the accuracy and completeness of your class registration.

6. Obtain your student ID.

7. Check semester dates and deadlines.

8. Organize textbooks and reading requirements.

9. Familiarize yourself with academic support services.

10. Enhance your academic English and writing skills.

Life admin

We all tend to procrastinate when it comes to tasks like scheduling dentist checkups or organizing legal documents. However, if you find yourself with some available time before university begins, this is the ideal opportunity to tackle these important tasks and get them in order!

11. Set up a study schedule and plan for the upcoming semester.

12. Find a new GP (General Practitioner) nearby.

13. Ensure your legal documents are up-to-date.

14. Create copies of your most important documents.

15. Make plans for extracurricular activities.

16. Create an emergency contact list.

17. Register with the university or local library.

18. Prepare an emergency kit, including first aid items.

19. Schedule a medical checkup.

20. Set a dentist appointment.


The significance of financial matters should not be underestimated, which is why they hold a prominent place on the list of 100 tasks to complete before university begins. Pursuing higher education carries significant financial implications, and for many students, it marks their first experience with personal financial management. Instead of simply going along with the flow, it’s crucial to be proactive and gain a firm grasp of your finances right from the outset.

21. Assess your current financial situation and get real with your finances.

22. Open a bank account if you don’t already have one.

23. Start tracking your expenses to understand your spending habits.

24. Create a budget to manage your income and expenses.

25. Review your student debt, if applicable, and understand your repayment options.

26. Explore opportunities for scholarships and grants to help reduce education costs.

27. Apply for financial aid. (There are many reasons why you deserve a scholarship).

28. Investigate potential side hustles or part-time job opportunities for additional income.

29. Review your subscriptions (e.g., streaming services, gym memberships) and consider canceling any unnecessary ones to save money.

30. Set financial goals and create a plan for managing your finances throughout your university journey.


Indeed, you’ve read it correctly. The next ten items on your pre-university to-do list pertain to decluttering. An excess of possessions can be distracting and, during a move, a logistical challenge. When embarking on your university journey, you’ll want to concentrate on new experiences. Therefore, it’s beneficial to have everything well-organized and minimize the number of items you need to handle and maintain. You’ll appreciate the effort you put into decluttering later on.

31. Declutter your wardrobe and only keep what you are really wearing.

32. Organize your financial documents and shred unnecessary paperwork.

33. Declutter your laptop and remove any unnecessary files.

34. Declutter your phone and remove unnecessary apps, store old images, and delete unused files.

35. Declutter your toiletries, cosmetics, and skincare products.

36. Assess which furniture and décor items are useful and meaningful, and declutter (e.g., donate) the rest.

37. Declutter electronics, including old phones, broken cables, etcetera.

38. Make a conscious decision on what kitchen items you really need.

39. Declutter school supplies, pens, papers, and notebooks and keep only what is necessary for your upcoming courses.

40. Simplify all other possessions as much as possible to avoid unnecessary items in your new physical space as well as in your mental space so that you can focus on your tasks ahead.

Housing, accommodation and moving

Many new university students relocate before their academic journey begins, and moving is commonly recognized as a hectic period with numerous organizational tasks. Below is a checklist of items to help you ensure that everything is well-organized, allowing for a smooth settling-in process before the start of university.

41. Find and secure your housing arrangements, whether it’s on-campus or off-campus.

42. Double-check the date when you can move into your new place and mark it on your calendar.

43. Start packing your belongings well ahead of time to avoid last-minute stress.

44. Ensure that utilities like electricity, water, and internet are set up in your new place.

45. Update your address with the post office and any important institutions or subscriptions.

46. Arrange for help with your move, whether it’s from friends, family, or professional movers.

47. Pack an essentials box with items you’ll need immediately upon arrival at your new home.

48. Prepare your new living space by cleaning it thoroughly before moving in.

49. Create an inventory list to keep track of your belongings during the move.

50. Familiarize yourself with safety features and emergency procedures in your new housing.

New environment

When you begin university, it’s highly likely that you’ll be relocating to a new city, requiring you to familiarize yourself with a new environment. This process can be time-consuming and energy-draining. Therefore, it’s advisable not to save everything for the first day of university. If possible, take the opportunity to explore your new surroundings before your university journey begins.

51. Get to know your new neighborhood.

52. Get to know your new city.

53. Find the closest budget-friendly supermarket.

54. Find the closest library.

55. Figure out public transport routes to university.

56. Explore the university campus.

57. Check how long it takes you from your home to your classes, to make sure you are on time once university starts.

58. Explore local community groups.

59. Identify emergency services.

60. Familiarize yourself with local services, such as gyms, restaurants, or pharmacies.

Technology and other essentials to purchase

Before university begins, it’s important to ensure you have or acquire a range of essential items. These items can greatly enhance your daily life, and while many are related to technology, not all fall into that category. You might be surprised by the significance of item number 70!

61. Ensure you have a reliable laptop or desktop computer to complete your coursework.

62. Make sure your smartphone is functional and has sufficient battery life, especially if you spend the entire day at university.

63. Have headphones on hand if you find it difficult to focus in a noisy environment; they can help block out distractions while studying.

64. Ensure you have a backpack or bag that can accommodate all the essentials you need for a day at university, including your laptop, beverages, and lunch.

65. Organize pens, notebooks, highlighters, and other stationery items necessary for studying.

66. Invest in an external hard drive or utilize cloud storage to regularly back up important files.

67. Ensure you either own a printer or have access to one at the university for printing important files or coursework submissions.

68. Get a reusable water bottle to save money, reduce environmental impact, and always have water on hand.

69. Consider purchasing a reusable coffee mug so you can bring your homemade coffee or tea to university.

70. Invest in a comfortable pillow to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

Healthy routines

When you’re faced with new expectations, challenges, exams, and deadlines piling up, it can become incredibly challenging to establish healthy routines. That’s why it’s strongly advisable to establish these routines before commencing university, as outlined in the following list items. This way, when things become hectic, maintaining a routine becomes significantly more manageable.

71. Learn how to cook your favorite budget-friendly meals.

72. Explore simple meal prepping to save money and time during busy university days.

73. Get your sleep in order as it is essential for learning, and even thesis writing.

74. Establish a workout routine to incorporate physical activity into your schedule to boost energy and reduce stress.

75. Find what works well for you to relax, such as meditation or engaging in a hobby.

76. Establish a self-care routine, which is going to be crucial for maintaining mental and emotional health.

77. Develop time management skills to stay organized and reduce academic stress.

78. Make it a habit to stay hydrated, which is essential for maintaining concentration.

79. Build a support system with family and friends which can help you to transition to university life.

80. Learn about different study methods and ways to increase motivation to study.

Social life

The social aspect of university is a common concern for many incoming students. Questions about maintaining connections with old friends, coping with homesickness, making new friends, and avoiding loneliness all come into play. It’s equally important to set boundaries and allocate time for self-care and solitude. While not all of these concerns can be fully resolved before starting university, there are several proactive steps you can take in preparation.

81. Establish routines to catch up with ‘old’ friends to maintain the important relationships in your life despite a potential change of living location.

82. Make agreements and set expectations with family on visitation.

83. Plan ahead for holidays with family and friends.

84. Get to know dormmates, flat mates or neighbors to create a friendly living environment.

85. Attend pre-university orientation events to get to know new people.

86. Join online university groups (for instance on LinkedIn, Facebook or WhatsApp) to meet fellow students.

87. Learn about campus clubs and organizations that align with your interests and to make social connections.

88. Explore extra-curricular activities offered in your local community.

89. Learn to set boundaries and say no if you need some time alone to recuperate.

90. Get comfortable being around people but also with solitude.

Mental health and wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing tasks may be the most abstract and challenging to check off your pre-university to-do list, yet they are undeniably crucial. Many students encounter mental health challenges, and being attuned to your emotions, inner thoughts, and seeking support or exploring strategies to manage your mental health can significantly improve your long-term university experience.

91. Establish a mindfulness or meditation practice to maintain calm during challenging times.

92. Set realistic expectations.

93. Develop a growth mindset and recognize that challenges and “failures” are normal aspects of your academic journey.

94. Familiarize yourself with university mental health resources so you know where to seek support when needed.

95. Create a plan to engage in activities outside of university to maintain balance in your life.

96. Cultivate self-compassion and treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would extend to a friend.

97. Consider seeking counseling or therapy if you are facing challenges with your mental health; there is no shame in seeking help.

98. Practice open communication with family and/or friends about your mental well-being and challenges.

99. Recognize that you are embarking on a new chapter in your life that will bring personal growth.

100. Understand that perfection is not necessary, and that you are valuable outside of your academic achievements.

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