Top skills to learn before coming to Uni

Don't be the Freshers who puts a red sock in with the bright colours...

No ratings yet. Log in to rate.

We’re getting closer and closer to Freshers Week now. There’s still time for you to make sure you have all these important life skills.  


How to do laundry 

Do you know the difference between bio and non-bio laundry detergent? Yeah, thought so. A lot of students will have never approached a washing machine before, and it shows. It might be a useful idea to get your parents to give you an express course on laundry and ironing so you’re not left totally clueless. While it is tempting to take your laundry back home, it’s a vital life skill you’ll need to learn eventually. 

If you read nothing else today, remember this: never ever EVER use fairy or a washing up liquid in your washing machine. It’s a recipe for disaster...*flashbacks* 

Academic skills 

You’ll need to learn good time management skills so you don’t leave coursework and revision to the last minute. 

It sounds small but a surprisingly difficult skill is asking for help. If you’re stuck in a lecture or a tutorial, nobody is going to come round and ask you if you’re understanding it all. If you have questions, you’ll need to stick around at the end of the lecture or tutorial and have a chat with your lecturer/tutor. The staff like to see students engaged in the material and they really don’t bite!  

You’re also responsible for making sure you do all the required reading for your courses - nobody will check up on you!  

When it comes to essays, you’ll need to make sure you have an eye for detail, especially regarding your spelling and grammar. Microsoft Word is pretty good at catching most stuff but it might slip up on more specialised or technical terms so don’t rely on it too much.  

Lectures can move pretty quickly so you might not have long to jot down your notes. Find a way that works for you, whether that’s writing in short hand or typing up notes instead. Remember a lot of lecturers will post PowerPoint slides online to Vision (the virtual learning environment), but these are unlikely to be full sets of notes, just brief outlines. 

How to Budget 

You’ll be paying for your own accommodation, food and socialising for the first time, so you’ll need to make sure you don’t blow all of your student loan on Jägerbombs and pizza. Plan ahead and make sure you keep enough in the bank to cover your regular payments and a little bit for emergencies. Try drawing up a budget before you arrive in September but know it might change when you get to campus. Life happens, you just have to be prepared for it as best you can.  

Professional skills 

E-mails: whether you’re e-mailing a lecturer or applying for a job/internship, you might want to brush up on your e-mail etiquette. It's time to dump that cringe e-mail address you have like or Information Services have a good top tips guide for here

CV building: Dust off and update your CV before you come to uni or create one if you don’t have one, especially if you’re thinking about applying for a part time job while you’re here. The Careers Service have a lot of resources from CV building to interview tips available here


You probably have some cooking experience already – if so, great! But if not, do some experimenting at home or get some great recipes online. Start with the basics like cooking pasta, stir fry, omelettes and baked potatoes then branch out into the fancy stuff! It’s also a great way to learn from international students about their culture!  


No comments have been made. Please log in to comment.

Fancy something similar...?

What to bring to Uni

Here's what not to forget!

Drinking Hard or Hardly Drinking

Who knew alcohol was for more than just hand sanitiser?

Getting Around Edinburgh

Bus, tram, train, we've got it all!