Ballymena Today know that the step from School to College is a big step which is exciting and daunting all at once. Here are some Ballymena Today tips for what you need to do  to get prepared for college. Photo Credit: Peter Lindberg; Creative Commons

1/ Open a bank account – By now you should probably have a bank account but if you don’t then get one – student loans, grants and bursaries need to be paid in somewhere and it is best to be prepared. Most of the Banks and Building Societies have Student Bank Accounts – advice website has a list of the top 10 student bank account which you can read about and compare here.

2/ Consider getting a contract mobile phone – So you have been managing with a Pay as you go phone for College or University  consider looking into a getting a contract. At college you emergency tenner is likely to go toward a pizza because you don’t feel like cooking and, guess what – suddenly you have no credit and haven’t phoned home for a week. If you get stuck in an emergency situation your phone will be useless if you have no credit on it but having a contract means you can call anyone at anytime. Moneysavingexpert has a guide to getting the cheapest mobile phone contract deals and if you are spending over £20 on Pay as you go, you might be surprised to see that you could pay the same on a contract and be better off.

3/ Be kind to others – Going to college and university means meeting new people, roommates and class mates. Try not to gravitate towards people you already know but get to know others too. If your roommate has nothing in common with you then be kind and keep an open mind – remember you have to live with them for at least the next year and maybe they are finding it hard to fit in. Be kind and make as many friends as you can.

Photo Credit: vinylmeister; Creatove Commons

Photo Credit: vinylmeister; Creatove Commons

4/ Do some work – College and University promise a new exciting lifestyle but don’t forget that you are paying a lot of money to be there to learn something. The step between school and university is vast and folks who are used to getting straight A’s can struggle to adapt to the more relaxed atmosphere. Keep an eye on your timetable and coursework schedule – at university several of my class mates failed a module because the lecturer mentioned an assignment once a the start of the year and with no reminders people forgot and ended up with a fail.

5/ Be nice to the librarian – When you are given your recommended reading for the year everyone in your class is going to want to get hold of those books. If your class has 50 people in it and there are only 4 copies of your textbook in the library then you need to be fast, or work together. No one wants to have to buy expensive textbooks for just one module. Team up, get in first and be nice to the folks who work in the Library.

6/ Eat well – Elizabeth from our youth team recently wrote about healthy eating. Read it here and keep you diet healthy. Keep an eye out here at Ballymena Today for some easy recipes.

7/ Join in – Universities and Colleges have lots and lots of clubs which you can join. Take advantage of all that is on offer and give things a try. Ju Jitsu, Volleyball, Computer gaming, Caving, Sailing, Hot Air Ballooning (well maybe not that last one) – could be your favourite new thing to do. This is a unique opportunity to have a go at something that you might end up loving.

Starting College or University is a big life step. Lots of people find it overwhelming or not quite what they expected and on campus there is help for anyone who needs it. Find your chaplain, or visit Nightline which is partly tailored especially for students. Do your best and remember that you aren’t on you own. Enjoy your first few weeks settling into your new college or university.