14 common myths about university
There's no shortage of hearsay floating around among students-to-be. We're here to bust those myths out the water – for better or for worse!
As if surviving uni wasn't stressful enough, it's likely that you'll hear a whole plethora of misinformation and urban uni myths floating around that will sometimes make it totally impossible to separate fact from fiction.
We've been there – we swallowed the tales whole and as a result either wasted time worrying about stuff that was completely fabricated, or panicked last minute after realising we'd been lulled into a false sense of security by fellow students.
Anyway, it's time to put some of these university myths to bed, so we can all get on with our lives! If you know of any new myths that have reared their ugly heads in recent times, get involved in the comments section and we'll get set on debunking.
14 common myths about uni
You need to be rich to survive uni
However, the good news is that while these changes to student finance are unfair and something we strongly oppose here at Save the Student, it's worth knowing that they're more likely to have a mental impact on your finances than they do on your wallet.
Maintenance loans have gone up this to compensate for the grant scrap, and although this will leave you having to pay back more after you graduate than you would have done with grants, you're likely to have more in your pocket whilst you're studying.
Not only this, but it's unlikely you'll even get to the stage of paying all your student debts off before it's wiped after 30 years! Don't believe us? Have a look at our student loan repayments calculator to see when your debts are likely to be cleared.
Loan repayments will leave you struggling
So, the whole point of going to university is to set yourself up for a prosperous future ahead, right? But will it all be worth it when the government starts clawing back the money you owe them for your (very expensive) education?
Well, yes, and repayments are a lot less scary than they might seem at first. Remember you’ll only have to start repaying what you owe once you start earning £25,000 a year (although, it's true that it might not be that hard to earn £25,000 by the time you graduate).
The amount you repay is fixed at 9% of earnings over the threshold, and nothing more than that – no matter how big your student debts are. The only way your repayments will increase is if you start earning more dough, and if you're earning more dough you should be able to part with a bit more. Geddit?
For example, if you're earning £30,000 you would still only pay £810 towards your loan annually (that's less than £16 a week) under the new system. Plus, you don't even see it to miss it. It simply disappears straight from your pay cheque, like it was never even there.
If you're still confused about anything to do with your uni financial situation, make sure you read our big fat guide to student finance.
You have to buy everything before you arrive
If you've ever tried to fit your whole life into one car before, you'll know exactly why we're saying this. It's just so not worth the hassle.
Save yourself (and whoever's been dragged into helping you move!) the stress by buying some of your essentials when you arrive at your new digs, or have them delivered to you if you know the address – you do know you qualify for free Amazon Prime now you're a student, right?
You may even turn up to find you live in a house full of fellow health-fanatics and you have five nutribullets between you! Remember you're likely to head home at some point, so anything that you find is missing can be grabbed at a later date.
Find out what current students recommend you take to university when first moving to your new student digs.
You need to excel in your first year
Okay, so we're in no way advocating that you should spend the year dossing, drinking cheap gin and eating takeaway pizza, but don't stress out if you're not getting first class grades in your first year.
University is a big step up from A Levels and, coupled with an entirely new living environment, you might find it takes a while to get adjusted.
Lots of universities recognise this and won't count your first year grade in with your final mark (not always the case though!) meaning you'll just be required to pass with 40%.
However, if you're missing lectures left, right and centre and not keeping up with course work, 40% can be a pretty difficult target to reach!
In case of severe emergencies, we'll just leave this guide on how to write an essay in a day right here…
First year doesn't count
Just to hammer the point home, while contradicting ourselves ever so slightly, you do actually need to do some work in first year. You'll always need to do enough to pass, even if the grade you get doesn't count.
It's also worth mentioning that what you learn in first year will be built upon in your further years of study, so you will need to know your stuff and get off to a good start. It also always helps to make a good impression on lecturing staff in the early days.
To the library!
You'll make all your friends during Freshers' Week
There seems to be a common misconception amongst uni starters that the first people they hang out with during Freshers' Week will be uni buds for life.
Fact of the matter is, in your excitement/anxiety to make friends ASAP, you're likely to strike up friendships with people you'll later realise you have nothing in common with… apart from being Freshers.
That's not to say that you won't meet some amazing people during Freshers' Week who you will potentially build great friendships with, but just don't put too much pressure on yourself and those around you to make it happen.
You'll meet loads of people as the year goes on and your friendships will undoubtedly change. Just chill!
Clubbing is an essential part of student life
Club, schmub! While clubbing can be fun, it certainly isn't the be all and end all of student nightlife – not by any means.
Why not have a cocktail night at home, host a dinner party or a even throw a house party instead. These are much more budget-friendly options, and are a much better way to get to know people than on a crowded dance floor where you'll struggle to hear anything that's being said.
If partying simply isn't your thing, that's ok too – whack on some DVDs or pants TV and eat Ben and Jerry's in your pyjamas. Fun comes in many different forms, my friends, and more often than not it involves ice cream.
You'll have to drink all the time
Just as you don't need to go clubbing to have a good time, you don't need to drink either!
If you want to drink, drink, and if you don't want to drink, don't! Anyone who tries to force you into doing anything is someone who isn't worth being friends with. We know it sounds like a cliche, but it's true!
But remember, not drinking doesn't mean you have to miss out on a night out. If you still want to go on the night out, just without the booze, there are plenty of ways around it.
Good friends will accept that you don't want to drink, and if you don't want to draw any attention to yourself, it's easy to pretend – after all, coke and orange juice both look exactly the same whether they've been mixed with vodka or not!
A part-time job is bad for your studies
You'll hear a lot of people proclaiming that their university course is too intense for them to have a part-time job.
While we would never challenge this, and it's true that some courses are incredibly time-consuming (and some unis even forbid students from working), it's worth knowing that sometimes having a part-time job can actually be good for your studies.
Juggling uni and a part-time job requires organisation, which means you're likely to use your time more wisely. Once you're thinking ahead more often than you would do without a job, you'll become more aware of things like deadlines.
Doing some part time work will also ease your money stresses and provide you with another opportunity to make new friends. If that's not enough, it'll also look great to future graduate employers when you're able to indicate on your CV that you supported yourself through uni.
That said, your studies should always come first and if you are struggling financially then there are other options to consider. Why not try blogging for cash, becoming a private tutor or one of these 50 small business ideas you can set up at uni?
Next year's digs need sorting ASAP
It can feel like you've only just arrived for Freshers' Week before people around you are already bunking up and finding their new pads for next year.
However, as we covered in point six, there's no need to rush into things. Let's be honest, who knows if these people will still be your friends in six months' time!
Don't panic and start making commitments – take your time and find a group of flatmates you know you'll get on well with (something you'll only know for sure with time).
If you need some help and advice on where to start when looking for your new student digs, never fear, we've put a guide together on this one too.
It's all sex, sex, sex
Not to disappoint you if you had your hopes set on this, but university really isn't the big sex-fest it's made out to be in US movies. Seriously, it isn't.
Of course, not living with your parents means you'll have more freedom to invite special friends over, but it's likely you'll start to notice that people around you are more interested in making friends than anything else, and there certainly isn't any pressure there.
You live it up how you want to. And if you fancy getting a little blue, just be safe, yeah?
If you move abroad your student loan will be wiped
Wouldn't this be so great if it were true? Sadly it's just one of the many tuition fee myths. Sorry to disappoint!
Even if you move abroad for a number of years, those pesky dudes at the Student Loans Company will track you down and make you start your repayments.
Not only this, but you're expected to continue with your repayments remotely if you're working abroad. Make sure you look into how to do this, otherwise you'll be slapped with a hefty catch-up bill to pay on your return. No fair!
You'll never find a job after graduation
Graduate employment levels are currently at a record high, so don't you worry your little cotton socks – the situation is far less bleak now than it has been in the past for students.
Aside from working hard to ensure you get the best result you can from uni, there are also a number of things you can do while studying that will make you more employable when you graduate.
For example, now is the time to start getting involved in extracurricular activities suited to your interests and industry. You might also want to think about learning a second language while you study or setting up your own business! All these things will make you stand out from the competition, so get working on them ASAP.
Every day is a wild party
If you're under the impression that you'll be spending the next few years of your life like Van Wilder on campus, we're sorry to be the bearers of bad news.
While we're sure you'll come out of your three years with some pretty fun memories that were sponsored by jagerbombs, not every day is a wild party.
In fact, most days will just involve bog standard lectures, scraping the barrel to feed yourself and binge-watching Netflix. Oh, and studying. Definitely studying.
Interestingly, you'll also find that the people who boast about their ‘wild' uni years are normally the ones who spent the majority of their time eating ice cream in their pyjamas with the guys mentioned in point seven above!
Reckon we've missed any university myths that are calling out to be debunked? Drop us a comment below or get in touch and we'll add it to the list!