Preparing for your course!

Published by Sophie
on 15/06/2020

I remember all too well the feeling of uncertainty before starting University. I think this was heightened by the fact that I am the first person in my family to attend University, and I was set to study a brand new course that cannot be studied until University level. But regardless of the course you are set to study, or how much you know about University, getting prepared for your course is key to making a successful start at University!

The biggest piece of advice I can give you for getting prepared for your course is to email the head of your degree department and ask for some reading suggestions. These won’t necessarily be texts you will be studying in class, but the academics that teach your course are your best bet for suggestions great foundational reading to put you in good stead for starting University in September. When emailing Nathan Cardon back in the summer of 2017 for reading suggestions, he tailored his suggestions to my own interests (which at the time were the history of terrorism in the US, and Indigenous history in the US, but would now be Indigenous Literature and US Horror film), which made the reading exciting, whilst also preparing me for University texts at the same time.

I would also recommend refreshing your memory on the basics of your course (which is especially useful for those doing English, Biology and the like as you will have definitely studied them before). In my case, I was able to re-read my GCSE History notes on the American West, and to re-read my EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) on the decline of the Native American population from 1830 to 1900 to prepare me for the historical side of ACS, as well as doing lots of reading and watching of YouTube videos to increase my knowledge of common subject areas (these included The Cold War, The Vietnam War, Slavery and Reconstruction, and re-reading The Great Gatsby).

Then, of course, there is the physical preparation that needs to be done, including purchasing any stationary you need (and I would definitely stress the importance of having a folder for each subject if you prefer to write out your University notes).

All in all, preparing for your course can be very straightforward. As well as throughout your time at University, utilise the academics and tutors that work on your course to get guidance before you begin by asking for advice on preparing for your specific course at UoB.

Happy preparing, and follow my Instagram (@sophie_kxo) for chatty video advice on University and lockdown life!