Here are some of the things to think about before starting at university or college.
Making sure that your finances are sorted before you leave for university or college is vital. You don't want to end up with serious difficulties regarding paying for essentials such as accommodation (if not taken care of already), food, bills, and course books and equipment.
Set up a bank account - many banks offer special rates or incentives for students but it's worth forgoing a gimmick to get a longer-term benefit such as an interest-free overdraft or lower charges.
Make sure you know how and when any awards, loans or bursaries (plus any parental contributions) will be paid.
Also find out how and when to pay tuition fee payments to your chosen institution and accommodation payments to the relevant landlord.
Make sure any legal issues are taken care of. Insure your possessions in case the worst happens - many insurers offer special policies for students.
If you are planning on taking or making use of a television (or PC with a tuner card) while at university make sure that it is covered by a TV licence.
If you have expensive items in your house, it is worth marking them with your postcode and house number. You can buy special engraving or ultra-violet kits to do this. It will enable police to return your items should they be stolen and recovered by the police.
You should also make sure that banks are aware of your student status for tax purposes.
Checking the suitability of your accommodation is vital as well as knowing how and when it needs to be paid for.
Also check if the cost of accommodation includes electricity, gas, water and insurance and, if living with others, get agreement on how the bills will be split.It's also a good idea to check for the presence of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and find out when any appliances were last checked.
Check that the doors and windows have secure locks on them; insurance claims for burglaries can be turned down because the locks aren't the required standard.
Check to see if your new halls of residence is signed up to a Code of Practice, such as the Student Accommodation Code. The Student Accommodation Code outlines your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, gives advice on what to do if you've got a problem, and provides details of what you can expect of your new accommodation. Visit www.thesac.org.uk or www.nationalcode.org for more information and to find out if your accommodation is covered.
Knowing how to get to and from university or college is important, because being late will not make a good impression on the lecturers. Check bus and train timetables or use a map to find a good route if walking.
Although walking may save money, please be aware of possible safety issues surrounding this. Until you find a safe route and/or someone to walk with, driving or using public transport may be better options.
You will probably have a mobile phone or plan to take one to university or college, but if not, a landline is recommended for safety reasons, as well as for communicating with each other.
It would also be wise to set up an email account so you can keep in contact.
Check whether there is anything you need to do before attending your first lecture. Reading lists and initial tasks are often sent before the start of term.
Requirements here will depend on the accommodation arrangements made. Find out what equipment and facilities are provided and plan accordingly.
It's worth checking, if you are in self-catering accommodation, that this includes basic cooking equipment.
Try to develop a few cooking skills and, if possible, some knowledge of nutrition before leaving home.
Items that you need at university or college may include, for example, course books/equipment, TV, stereo, bed linen, cooking equipment and toiletries.
Start writing a list of things to take well in advance so you avoid forgetting something.
It may be the first year that you are eligible to vote or you may have voted before. Either way, you are usually able to register to vote at both your home address and your term-time address. Visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk for more information.
You can choose to vote at either your home address or your term-time address in a UK Parliamentary, Scottish Parliamentary, National Assembly for Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly or European Parliamentary election. You can vote at both your home address and your term-time address in a local government election, as long as they are not in the same local government area. Applying for a postal or proxy vote is an easy way to vote long distance - forms for either can be found at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.