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WELCOME WEEK ADVICE: 5 tips to help you get ready for first year

University students enjoy a ceilidh ball
Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Izzy, MA (Hons) Geography and Social Anthropology 


Hi guys! I hope you are all ready and raring to start university.

Before you come to Edinburgh in September, here are 5 ways you can prepare for the upcoming semester (and next four years of your life!) I study geography and so this advice is mainly based on my experience of Geography but its advice which is applicable to all wider geosciences degrees.

1. Getting organised….

As we near the start of semester, all courses will start to release timetables which includes lectures, tutorials and practicals. The welcome week calendar will also be revealed, with all social events and society inductions.

One of the first things I always like to do is to make a big calendar planner, this way I can visualise course deadlines and also make time for society events and wider university functions. Alongside this, I also have a diary which is more for day to day tasks and notes from the day.
Organised university students desk.You can find your timetables on the page, if you go to the “Studies” tab on the homepage you will find access to your timetables.

2. Checking out readings and elective course choices

This leads onto my next tip. Reading. One of the main parts of your degree will be all about independent wider reading, but your welcome lectures will introduce to you the core texts during all introductory lectures. Having said this, there’s no harm in checking the texts out beforehand to prepare you for the first few weeks and get ahead.

If you click on the “My courses” tab on you have access to all of your courses, and clicking on the DPRS tab will take you to the course catalogue page which details the major key readings you will need to have a look at. Readings will also be in your course handbooks, which should be available on learn. The link for learn is

You should also get an opportunity to meet with your personal tutor and choose your electives. These consist of modules beyond the core ones for your degree. You can choose them from any school and they are super varied. This will allow you to pursue an interest or passion beyond your degree, so make the most of it! You can find these here.. You should use this in conjunction with the PATH ( website (or course timetable browser which helps to identify any clashes with your degree.

3. Societies and wider opportunities
People dancing at an annual Ceilidh ball.All societies will be looking to find new members this term, and it is a great way to make friends. With the relaxing of covid rules, it is likely to be more in person based this semester. If you aren’t sure what kinds of things you might want to sign up to, there’s an extensive list of societies on the EUSA website, for an idea I have attached this link here.
A good way for you to find societies, clubs and sports is through the welcome week online fair. The University recommends getting the official Edinburgh Events app to help you coordinate these fairs and inductions. You can find the app here





4. Making use of university services

As you can see, all the links I have attached are from the university website. There is a plethora of resources which will help you find your feet. I’d recommend the EUSA events page, and the Student Life tab on the undergraduate home page. These will give you an idea of what you can do to get yourself started in exploring the city.

Likewise, all societies have an online social presence. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are also your friend in this situation.

There are also Geosciences specific blog posts based on our student experience and our recommendations of places to visit. Check these out if you want a more student based list of things to do.


My last bit of advice is to relax! First year is an opportunity for you to make friends, learn the core themes of your degree and find your passions. Because first year doesn’t count towards your final grade there is no need for you to lose sleep over your how you choose to spend your time in the first few months. It is all about learning and growing, and finding out what interests you.

Admittedly, if you are looking to do a year abroad, you will need to get a high 2:1 or 1st. If you think this is something you might want to do, pay attention in introduction lectures as staff contacts and what you need to do to prepare will be mentioned there. If you are interested in this, start your research now! There is again, no harm in looking for options and opportunities. This is the link for the go abroad page Similarly, internships and careers advice offered by the university can be found on the careers hub page. This can help you find an opportunity to do alongside academic work, if finding a job in first year also sounds like something you are keen to do.


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