With A-level results coming out next week, many of you will currently be wondering (and hoping) that you’ll get the results you need to move to London as a student and study at amazing colleges such as Queen Mary College, Kings, UCL, Imperial, LSE, Goldsmiths and the list goes on and on. Others of you might secure a university place in London through the limited number left in the clearing system. (More on clearing next week).
But what is life like for a student living in London for 3 or 4 years?
Well you’ve no doubt heard that London is pretty expensive compared to studying at other unis in the UK, (or overseas) and whilst that’s true, it certainly doesn’t mean that only wealthy people are able to study in London. What it does mean is that students in London learn how to be extra thrifty with their money. For those who are taking out student loans, you’re able to take out a bit extra as an allowance for the fact that you live in London. Many students will get a part time job, such as bar or shop work to help give them a bit of extra spending money. Contact your Student Union first of all to see what jobs they might have for you on campus.
Many students in London tend to go to things organised by their own Student Union as they’re often quite affordable. If you’re not impressed with the quality of what your college SU has to offer, then head to ULU (the University of London Union) which caters for ALL students in London. They often have pretty cool nights being held at ‘The Venue’.
For entertainment options outside of campus life, you’ll need to find some student friendly bars. Lots of bars carry discounts for students. Screampubs.co.uk in particular are extremely student-friendly – if you have a student id and £1, you’re able to obtain a yellow card which will save you heaps of cash on food and drinks. Their ‘crunch night’ has beers starting at £1.25!
Once you’ve enrolled as a student, you’ll receive a NUS card, which aside from being an important piece of I.D, is also your ticket to some great discounts at stores, services and venues across the country. Places such as Miss Selfridge, Oasis, Odeon cinemas, JJB Sports, Dominos Pizza, Play.com etc etc all have student discounts. If you’re not sure if somewhere offers a discount, then just ask them, but be warned that you’ll always be required to flash your NUS card or else the discount won’t be applicable.
Any other ways to save money?
London is a fantastic city for free things to do. Please refer to our Affordable London page for ideas on how to save a fortune and still have fun.
Another great idea is to visit Groupola and sign up for their offer of the day.
You can also get student discounts on travelling in London – see Tfl.gov.uk for details.
Where do London students live?
Good question. Students who are originally from London, often opt to live at home when they first start university as it saves money on student accommodation. Whilst this might seem like a wise idea, they find themselves missing out on many of the social aspects of being a London student and often you find that by the time the 2nd year starts, they’ve moved out of home.
So for those of you moving to London as a first-time student, we would heavily recommend moving into your college or university’s halls of residence. Student halls are a fantastic way to meet people and they’re often much more affordable than trying to find a houseshare. However, it’s typical for people to make friends with other people in university halls in their 1st year and then move into a student house with as many as 5 or 6 people for the remainder of the course.
Who will I meet at university in London?
There’s no limit to the amount of different people you’ll meet in London. We have people from all walks of life here. If you move into university halls, then you’re likely to make friends with people from other parts of the UK and international students. But then on your course, you’ll get friendly with people who have similar academic interests to you. If you start doing a part-time job, then you’ll potentially meet people who either study at different universities or who don’t go to uni at all.
What happens during the holidays?
With the exception of living in university halls, when you’re expected to vacate your room pretty much as soon as term ends, we think that London is unlike other university towns or cities, in that most students tend to stick around during the long holidays and get a job. If you’ve saved up enough money, then you could go travelling for a few weeks or a couple of months, because once you’ve finished uni, you’ll wish you hadn’t wasted those long holidays which aren’t so easy to take when you’ve got a full-time job. But if you can’t afford to go away, then just knuckle down to earning some money, reading your books (maybe!) in advance of the next term and having a great time with your uni mates.
What about getting a job after university?
Depending on the type of industry you wish to work in after university, you couldn’t be much better placed to find graduate work, by living in London. Obviously not ideal for those of you want to become farmers, but for those looking at working for banks, the media, or for big corporate organisations with impressive graduate schemes, London is an ideal place to be a student as it enables you to be able to take some relevant work experience whilst studying. Don’t wait until you’re in your final year to start looking around. Do work experience stints whenever you can and upload your C.V to Monster whilst you’re in your 1st year. You can add to it whenever you want. This gives graduate scheme scouts the opportunity to follow your progress through university and means that you’ll already be on their radar by the time you’re looking for a permanent position after you’ve finished your degree.
Finally, for any parents out there who are concerned about their child starting university in London in a couple of months time, we’ve compiled this Parents Guide to Moving to London which is designed to put your mind at ease.