11 free things you can get from university
One of the best perks of being a student is having access to loads of brilliant opportunities and services for free throughout your time at uni. Read on for the top ones to look out for.
It's no secret that uni life can be expensive. As the average student's Maintenance Loan is £340 less than their living costs each month, any possible chance to save money can make a big difference to your bank balance.
Thankfully, there are a number of great things you can get for free from your uni (including money!). Making the most of the free services, facilities and other opportunities listed below could really benefit your studies and help your Student Loan stretch further each month...
Best free things you can get from your university
Here are the 11 top things that you can get for free from university:
The first point in this list is arguably the most important one to look out for – you could get free money from your uni.
This could be as a university scholarship or as hardship funding, and neither of these sources of money need to be repaid. Here's a bit more info about them:
- Scholarships, bursaries and grants – This can include funding for students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, from ethnic-minority backgrounds or who are particularly gifted, such as in academia or sports.
- Hardship funds – If you're struggling for money, it's definitely worth talking to the support services at your university to enquire about hardship funds. They may be able to offer you some funding, helping you in the short term until you can get back on track with your finances.
Freshers' week freebies
At freshers' fairs (or even refreshers' fairs) there's so much free stuff available.
The types of freebies on offer during freshers' week will vary from uni to uni, but you could get free stationery, vouchers, condoms and lots more.
At these university events, try to pick up as many free things as you can. It helps to visit lots of different stalls and chat with the people at each one to see if they're handing out anything particularly exciting or useful.
If you're ever struggling with your mental health at university, it can really help to talk to the student support service to enquire about counselling.
Therapy with the university counsellors is free to access, and it can make a huge difference to talk through your concerns and issues in a confidential space.
Hopefully, you'll be able to start receiving counselling soon after getting in touch with the support services about it.
However, if you get put on a waiting list and don't want to wait too long, you could consider referring yourself to an NHS talking therapies service outside of uni. This is also free and it's possible you could start the NHS therapy sooner. Talk to your GP if you'd like to find out more.University can be stressful at times, so it's super important to take plenty of breaks and make time for self-care.
If you're offered the chance to do a free course alongside your degree at uni, this is the perfect opportunity to learn new skills and improve your CV.
As an example, it may be that you're able to study a language course for free. Not only could it be a welcome break from your degree to learn about something different, but it will also help you stand out among other applicants when applying for graduate jobs.
Advertising services for free
If you're planning to start a small business as a student, you might be able to get a bit of free promotion from your uni.
For example, you might be able to get a shout out from your university on social media, a feature about your work on their blog or perhaps an advert on a noticeboard on campus.
At Save the Student, we know first-hand what a difference this can make. Support and promotion from the University of Manchester really helped our founder, Owen Burek, while he was developing this site.
Bars with free entry
The average student spends £47 a month on going out, making it the third biggest expense after rent and groceries. Nights out can quickly add up in price, but one cost that's easy to cut out as a student is the entry fee of overpriced bars.
Instead of paying over the odds just to get into a bar, let alone then having to buy expensive drinks when there, it can work out as much cheaper to go to your Student Union bar where entry will likely be free.
Granted, you'll still have to pay for drinks while at the SU bar, but the free entry could help to reduce the amount you spend each month on going out.
Proofreading services for no charge
When you first start uni, you won't be alone in feeling daunted by the prospect of writing degree-level essays.
They're generally longer and more in-depth than the ones you'd have been used to writing at A Level. But the good news is there should be plenty of opportunities to have your work proofread at uni for free. This could be by your tutor, lecturer or by specialist support staff.
Particularly if you get similar feedback each time you submit an essay, it helps to ask other people to check your work with a fresh pair of eyes before you hand it in. They could identify typos and highlight aspects of your structure and argument that can be improved.
If your university has essay-writing experts as part of their support staff team, book an appointment with them. They might be able to spot areas of your essays that need work and help you achieve a first. And as the meetings are free, it doesn't make sense not to.
In university libraries and IT suites, computers often have software that could be very useful to your studies. As the software can be expensive to buy, make the most of having free access to it at uni.
Having said that, if you find your uni computers don't have the software you need, it could be worth contacting IT support to find out if there's a possibility that they might buy it. It might be a long shot, but you'll never know until you ask.
Alternatively, check out the best free software for students to see if there are any good programs you could download for free on your own laptop.
Free use of university facilities
While at uni, make use of as many of the facilities as you can to try to get your money's worth out of your tuition fees.
Firstly, keep in mind that you'd have free access to study spaces at uni – this includes the uni library, cafe and perhaps even a study room that's available to hire.
And as well as this, check with the sports centre on campus to find out what facilities you'd be able to use for free.
You'll likely need to pay for membership to use the uni gym. But, you may find that if you get a gym membership, you're then also able to use other sports facilities for no extra cost, like the sports hall or the AstroTurf for a kickabout with your friends.
Access to books and journals for free
If you haven't yet made full use of your university library, you are missing out on so many free-to-access resources.
Before buying any textbooks, be sure to check first if the books are available at the library. Borrowing books from uni rather than buying new ones will save you a lot of money over the course of your degree.
Not only this, but if your uni has signed you up for free access to journals on JSTOR (one of the most useful sites for students), definitely make use of it. It can be a real lifesaver when you're researching specialist topics for essays and assignments.
Free careers advice
Particularly as you approach graduation, you'll become all-too-familiar with hearing the question, "what are you going to do after uni?"
We know that job searching can feel scary – in fact, as many as 62% of students say they don't feel confident about finding work after graduating. If you're feeling this way, get in touch with the careers advice department at your uni to ask for a chat about your options.
This will be free expert advice that could make a huge difference. Examples of topics you could discuss with them include:
- Which career paths you could follow with your degree
- Whether you should apply for graduate schemes or graduate jobs
- How to improve your CV
- The best ways to write a cover letter.
These are just a few examples – ultimately, if you have any questions at all about graduate jobs, the careers advice team at uni are the ideal people to talk to.
Your university isn't the only place you can find freebies – check out the ultimate list of free stuff.