One of the most important aspects of university is the opportunity to socialise, meet new people and try new things. Year 10 students who attended our Summer School 2017 tell us what they learnt about student life at the University of Salford…

Societies

In the first week of university, students will attend a fair where they can choose which societies they would like to join. A society is a group of people who share a common interest and want to spend time with each other, either exploring their interest or participating in activities relating to that interest.

There is a huge range of existing societies, including Football, Ultimate Frisbee, Drama, Rock Music and Islam. If the one you want to join doesn’t exist, then you can start your own.

Societies are very good for socialising. They bring people together and give you more opportunities during university.

Student life & accommodation

Student accommodation gives you the chance to move out but stay connected because it is a close community. On the first night, most people will be feeling overwhelmed and you will soon realise everyone is in the same position.

There are different types of student accommodation, including catered and self-catered. Catered is more expensive because meals are provided and self-catered is cheaper as you need to buy food yourself. Most universities also have the option of sharing a bathroom or having an ensuite. Ensuite rooms can be more expensive and you aren’t always guaranteed one.

You never know who you’re going to end up living with because you generally can’t choose, unless there are special circumstances. You will most likely be with people your own age though.

Depending where you choose to study, halls could be right next to the main teaching buildings. Others are a short walk, bus or car journey away.

After your first year at university, you may be able to stay in your university’s student accommodation for the duration of your study time. However, a lot of students choose to move out into a student house or flat in the local area.

Within the small friend group I have in school, there are so many different things people want to do during their higher education life. Tegan wants to move to America and stay over there for her education. Elishia wants to go to a university in Liverpool but move away from home for the experience. Ellie wants to do courses in an academy for makeup and I want to stay at home and get the train to university.

Students’ Union

  • The centre point for social activity, entertainment and student run campaigns.
  • Ran entirely by students.
  • Yearly elections are held so everybody gets a chance to run for various roles, e.g. Diversity Officer.
  • Social spaces will be catered to students’ interests and will often offer shops, cafes and bars.
  • The vast majority of students’ unions allow students to perform comedy, drama, solo or as a band with the new friends they’ve met on campus.
  • Academic support is also offered.
  • Everyone’s queries and problems are taken into consideration and fed back to the university so that things can be improved.

Part time jobs & volunteering

Alongside studying at university, volunteering or having a part-time job could enable you to increase your skills and gain work experience for your CV. Volunteering with local projects or humanitarian work could be beneficial for others as well as yourself. Working part-time allows you to gain knowledge for future careers you are interested in pursuing and you would be making money to support yourself.

Fees

Higher education is not free and does cost money but you could be entitled to some form of financial support. The costs of higher education should not put people off choosing whether they would like to study at university or not.

Universities can charge up to £9,250 per year for tuition fees for home students, however this can vary depending on courses and institutions. Moreover, students do not pay tuition fees up front and it doesn’t matter how much the student’s parents earn because every full-time UK student is entitled to a tuition fee loan to cover the entire tuition fee. Student Finance will pay the university directly and the reason for this is so that students don’t accidentally spend any of the money that they have borrowed. Students do not begin to repay the borrowed money until they are receiving a steady wage, currently at over £21,000 a year.

Some university students may decide to live at home or they could decide to live on campus. If a student decides to live on campus, it costs extra money. As a result of this, a maintenance and living loan is available. This is when money is paid into the student’s bank account by Student Finance to cover costs, such as food, rent and books. The total amount of money a student is allowed to borrow depends on their household income. Furthermore, students will only begin to repay the money they have borrowed when they start earning.