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Top tips for going to university

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger

Taking the decision to go to university is probably not something that was an easy decision – I know for me it certainly wasn’t!

In fact, I actually graduate tomorrow!

Over the last three years I have learnt a lot, with this not necessarily being things I learnt in a lecture theatre. So here are my top tips:

As a disabled student you are often entitled to extra support

Disability Student Allowance (DSA) is run by the government to cover the extra costs of having a disability, this can be specialist equipment or non-medical help (a notetaker or mentor for example) and is given on the basis of a needs assessment. It’s recommended you start this process as soon as possible to everything can be in place for when your course starts.

open laptop sat on a dark brown table with a cup of coffee and notebook on the right

It’s okay to ask for help

I believe this was one of the things I found the hardest. Yet universities have disability support services for this reason. I resisted extensions and sometimes found it hard to be honest with my lecturers. However, by doing so allowed them to support me more during my degree and allowed me to achieve at the same level as my peers.

Enjoy it!

We deserve to have fun while getting a degree as much as the next person. If going out and partying until 6am is your thing, then go for it! If it isn’t then, that’s okay too! Believe it or not, there are other students who like to watch films and drink cups of tea as well. I got to know the people I lived with in first year through a Facebook group that was set up by the university. 

What would your tips for university be? How would you like to be supported as a disabled student? Let us know in the comments below!

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Replies

  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    I’m pretty secretive about my disability so nobody knew at first. My number one tip is take it slowly at first. You can always join in social events and activities later after the first week. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    That's great advice @April2018mom!! Thank you for this :)
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  • AilsAils Member Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    Congratulations @Chloe_Scope on your graduation!  Fab news!  :smiley:  I loved my time at uni and often think that I would love to go through it all again as I lived away from home and so gained a great and valuable experience from it!  One tip would be to just enjoy it and if you are living in don't be afraid to admit if you get homesick at times.  At first I was so intent on trying to fit in and do all the typical uni stuff to block out feeling homesick that it was starting to catch up with me after a few weeks and every weekend I would go home and then not want to go back and it wasn't until I spoke to my parents and friends about it that things began to change.  I then made a go of staying at uni the odd weekend and getting to know more people also living in and so it made life a whole lot easier and before I knew it, I wasn't homesick anymore!  Although I realise this doesn't work for everyone, it helped me.  Support services for disabled students are fantastic so use them if you need them and involve your lecturers as much as you can if you are struggling with anything.  Also something that really helped me at uni to get about was a mobility scooter as the campus was so large I couldn't have coped with walking and I didn't have a car at the time.  Also it was great to get to the local pub at the end of the road on student nights!  :wink:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you @Ails, it was a great day!

    Thank you for sharing such great advice! Feeling homesick when going to university is probably more common than people realise. I'm so glad that talking to people about this helped :)
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  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    These are my top tips 
    Find out about DSA and apply. Use the money to pay for things that will help you achieve and succeed at university. For me this was a proper evaluation and a calculator for classes in case. 
    Get comfortable with your environment too. Do not hesitate to ask questions either.
    Speak to disability services. Have a plan in place for unexpected emergencies especially. Arrange a meeting to discuss your needs. 
    Try not to succumb to your disability. Get involved in some social events and clubs additionally. Look on the website. Make friends. Decide what you wish to study.
    Narrow it down. Make the most of any university information events and open days. Make a list of questions to ask. Look beyond the scenes. Trust your gut feeling. Request a tour. Learn about rules. 
  • zebedeezebedee Member Posts: 7 Connected
    People can also study via distance learning with the Open University and you are still entitled to help and can get Disabled Students Allowance if this is your chosen option.  Do not let things such as having commitments or not being able to study at a brick University stop you from following you study dreams.  If a brick university refuses you due to they cannot meet your needs it does not rule you out of education. Yes, you can get help with tuition fees if you would have been entitled to them at a brick university due to family circumstances. You are also provided with the textbook for the module you study in England and Wales in the price of the module and you are designated a tutor.  At the moment I am studying a Bachelor of Laws on a part-time basis with the Open University although I could have done it full-time but would have still been classed as part-time and if you start after September 2018 you are also entitled to a part-time maintenance loan although for this you do have to prove that a brick university has declined you because they are unable to meet your disability needs.  Good luck to those planning to study either at a brick university or with the Open University, believe me, it will be the best thing that you can do as it will give you confidence and also you will be proud of your accomplishments.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for sharing this @zebedee!
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  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Really helpful @April2018mom, and thank you for sharing your experiences of Open University. I know I looking into this before I started studying :)
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