Transitioning: How to prepare for university

Picture of Glasgow University blue skies and pink flowers in the foregroundThe transition to university can be an exciting time, but you might also feel scared to move out of your comfort zone, where you feel confident with your skills and your environment, both socially and academically.

Here are some tips to help reduce stress and keep you looking forward to the next phase.

Watch our video on tips for transitioning to university

Our Assessment Services Manager, Teresa Loftus, and DSA Centre Manager and Subcontractor Manager, Beck Lambourne, cover the main resources and tips to help you settle into university life including information on Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).  

Apps to support you throughout university

Time management

Google Keep app allows you to make notes, lists and set reminders, including location-based reminders. All of which will sync on your phone, tablet and laptop, so wherever you are your notes and thoughts are with you.  

Note taking and organisation

Microsoft OneNote allows you to take and keep notes about multiple subjects and research projects, all in one place. Colour coding, tags, drawing, and the ability to save mixed media, like video, audio and images can help you to feel organised and easily find important information and study notes. University studies often include group work, and OneNote will allow you to share your notes and collaborate with others.  

Desk by a window with Mac, cup of coffee, phone and notepad and pen on.Reminders 

Microsoft To Do is your daily task list all in one place. The built-in smart planner will even make personalised suggestions. The app will integrate with Microsoft 365, Outlook and Teams so you can sync your tasks to help you organise your study and social life.      

Create positive habits (and break the bad ones)

HabitBull helps you to build up positive habits, like reading, exercise and meditation, and reduce those unhelpful habits. Watching your positive stats build up can be really motivating, plus with customisable features, easy set up, and colour coding, your goals are more achievable.  

Reduce worry, stress and panic

MindShift CBT is an app for phones and tablets and uses proven strategies based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The app can help you get relief from anxiety and help you to create positive ways of thinking and increase relaxation and mindfulness. The free app has useful ways to keep you on track, it includes audio to help you relax and plenty of tips and ideas.  

Dealing with feeling overwhelmed

Your new academic level can mean more reading and assignments, which can feel overwhelming occasionally or to begin with. Thankfully, most universities provide you with Microsoft Office 365, and within it are some great free tools to help you:

  • Immersive Reader: reads text, breaks down words, changes line spacing and length, and provides coloured background options. Making reading a more enjoyable task.
  • Dictate: helpful if you struggle with spelling, forget ideas quickly, or find typing difficult. Use the dictate feature in Microsoft Word, and type with your voice.
  • Editor: spelling and grammar checker to help proofread your work before submitting your final assignment.

Adapting your technology 

It can be hard to choose and install the right adaptions that would best suit your needs. AbilityNet’s My Computer My Way, offers step by step instructions on how to adapt your phone, computer or tablet to meet your needs. You can search for a specific need (e.g., making text larger) or filter the guides based on your symptoms (e.g., hand tremor) or condition (e.g. dyslexia).

DSA Disabled Student Allowance

If you have a mental health condition, a long-term illness or any other disability, or a learning difference such as dyslexia, ADHD or Autism Spectrum Condition, you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs of studying you may have.

DSAs are a grant, not a loan, so you do not have to pay anything back. Any equipment you receive is also yours and does not have to be given back when you finish your course. How much you get is dependent on your individual needs, not your household income and what you receive does not affect other finances such as your student loan.

Take a look at our factsheet to find out more or use the eligibility checker to see if you are entitled to DSA.

How AbilityNet can help