Before You Start University

In this article i will be explaining tips and trick to look into before starting your university course!


Investing in a planner will be worth while at university; or even a colander! This will give you a space in which you can write down any important dates or even organize set times where you will study. Make sure that you know when your assignments are due!

Whilst studying a Criminology degree I have realized that there is a lot of reading to do! I have also realized that if you do not keep on top of the reading, it can all become overwhelming! Make sure you are having a set time each day where you put aside a couple of hours to do some reading or assignment work; don’t fall behind! (Charelle, 2017)


When I first started university, I went out and bought some pens and a folder. Within a week I had bought different coloured pens and highlighters. I have now bought myself a separate folder for each module; I would recommend this for everyone! Instead of carrying around one big folder with a lot of unnecessary notes in (for different modules) I now carry round one folder a day. This has also made it a lot easier to keep everything organized!

Ensure that you have many highlighters, of assorted colors. Assign each color for a specific purpose to create a color coding system, this will make your notes and evaluations easier to read! (Miriam, 2017). One method I use is:

Pink: for useful information, this could be a paragraph topic or an important quote within a text.

Blue: for useful points, this could be an explanation of the paragraph topic (so basically an explanation of the pink highlighted bits!)

Green: for any important names or dates, these could be to include in a reference or to do any further research on someone

Purple: for anything to research. This could be a person or some terminology (you’re not going to know everything and you don’t always have time to look at what something means in a lesson).


Make sure that you invest in a USB before you start your course! This will be vital in ensure your work is safe. Once you know what modules you will be doing, start creating folders. This will make it easier to find your work in the future and to keep everything organized (Lund, 2018).

Also make sure that all work is backed up! There are many places that you can save your work onto (home PC, university account, USB, email, google drive, ect…) and I would recommend saving it everywhere you can! Make sure you are saving regularly as well; from experience, anything can go wrong that is out of your control and you can loose the work you have done!

Basic Understanding

Before starting my degree I felt so unprepared so I ensured I did any reading I could before I went! This meant buying any books recommended and doing online courses. There are a wide variety of websites that offer courses that can give you that basic understanding needed (Open University, 2018).

Note Taking

Ensure that you practice note taking before you go onto your course! There is nothing worse than spending a full lesson writing down every bit of information thrown at you, to then never use it again! Do not just copy what your tutor has on a PowerPoint. I would recommend printing out the PowerPoint before the lesson, so you can refer back to the slides when reading your notes back. A lot of the time, your tutor will tell you when you will need to write something down, meaning that you will not be wasting your time (Uni Learning, 2000).


Charelle (2017) THE IMPORTANCE OF USING A PLANNER, DIARY OR CALENDAR | PRODUCTIVITY HACKS [Online] Available at (Accessed:09/05/2018).

Miriam (2017) Note-Taking Strategies for Students [Online] Available at (Accessed:09/05/2018).

Lund, P (2018) USB Memory Sticks: How They Are Useful for Students and Teachers [Online] Available at (Accessed:09/05/2018).

Open Universtiy (2018) Why study a free course on OpenLearn? [Online] Available at (Accessed:09/05/2018).

Uni Learning (2000) Note-Taking Importance [Online] Available at (Accessed:09/05/2018).

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