The Ultimate University Checklist: Get Organised and Stay on Track.

Whether you’re going back to university or it’s your first time, it’s important that you get organised and stay organised!

Whether you’re going back to university or it’s your first time, it’s important that you get organised and stay organised! Not just in regard to what you might need for studying, but the various things surrounding it which can often be forgotten.

But why is it so darn important to get organised?

Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed at everything you have to do before going to university? There’s finances to worry about, housing to find and stationary to buy! And that’s only touching the surface. This new part of your life can feel very daunting if you’re unprepared. That’s why it’s crucial that you get organised early and attempt to stay organised throughout your university career.

By simply planning ahead, managing your time effectively and working to stay on top of things, you can set yourself up for a successful future!

Image from Ketut Subiyanto

Eight essential ways to get organised for university.

Make a checklist. 

I am a sucker for a list. Without them, I tend to get lost, overwhelmed and, worst of all, forgetful. My mind can easily go off track and before I know it I’m onto something entirely different while the original task has been left untouched. 

That’s why I also create checklists for everything I’m doing. From working on the blog, to writing and illustrating; A checklist is a must. 

When it comes to getting organised for going to university or back to school, there are several things you need to consider. 

  • The equipment you’ll need, such as stationary, a backpack, electronics etc.
  • If you’re living away from home consider making a list of all the things you might need to make your life more comfortable. A duvet, mattress protector, pillow cases, and any other creature comforts you can think of. This could also include kitchen utensils if you’re moving into shared accommodation with friends. 

Then we come to the everyday checklists. When I was studying I kept a list of my daily ‘to-dos’ in my diary. In fact, this is something I’ve carried through with me into my current life. If, for example, you know you have an assignment due in a few weeks, be sure to note it within your diary. And, instead of leaving until the last minute, work on that assignment everyday. This makes it easier to focus on multiple things at once and in small, bite sized pieces.

Plan your finances.

Finances and budgeting are both things I take very seriously. During university, specifically second year, I found myself in a dark place in regard to money. While I wasn’t in debt, I struggled. And as a result my mental health and self-care took a nose dive. As did my grades.

I managed to pull everything together during my final years thanks to a year spent working full time, and moving into a house solely for my partner and I. But since then I’ve been extra caution when it comes to money, which can be be both a blessing and a course. While it’s important to save and be sensible, it’s also important to know that you are allowed to spend money on treats for yourself as long as it’s done wisely.

So, when it comes to budgeting, think about the essentials first. You’ll need to be able to cover tuition costs, living expenses, travel, food, supplies and so much more. This is where your checklists can come in handy and keep you on the right track.

Be sure to explore and use your student discounts where you can, and even look into other ways to save money. This could be things like ‘club cards‘, coupons and even making use of discounts and sales.

For more information on budgeting, check out this post.

Get organised with your important documents.

Before setting off to university be sure to have access to all your important documents such as identification, any correspondence with the university or financial aid, your health records or anything else you think you might need. A lot of this might be digital, in which case create a folder on your computer or within your emails and keep all this information stored safety there. If working digitally, also consider backups as I’ve been burned once too many times before by faulty hardware!

Housing and living arrangements.

Where you’re going to live impacts your university experience in more ways than you would imagine. While you may want to experience the night life, you also need consider what it’s going to be like to study, travel and go about your daily life. Do you want to stay at home to save money? Is this possible in regard to travel and will you alright with missing nights out and socialising with your classmates?

On the other hand, if you do live away, can you cope financially? Will you get the peace and quiet you need to be able to achieve the grades you want? And, most importantly of all, who will you be living with? Good roommates can make or break your university experience. Believe me, I’ve lived with some terrible house mates before who refused to clean up after themselves, and insisted on having loud parties until all hours of the night.

What about travel arrangements?

Travel can make or break your decision to attend a university. Even if you are living away from home, how far will you staying from your university? Are there public transport routes or is driving an option? And, often forgotten about, what are the parking charges if you are bringing your own vehicle?

For the first few years of my university degree I used public transport. At the time I was able to use a discount card to get a percentage off my travel costs. In final year, however, I took my car to university everyday and paid seventy pound to park annually. It was a lot to pay at the time, but considering all my classes started at nine in the morning, it was better than the alternative. While the traffic was off putting and not something I ever wish to do again, I was able to leave a little later than if I were to get the bus. That and I was able to listen to my own music in the comfort (and warmth) of my own car.

While often forgotten about, be sure to consider all your options when it comes to getting to and from university. And remember the hidden costs, like those darn parking charges or bus time tables!

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Course selection and preparation.

By now I assume you’ve chosen your desired course. You know what it is you’re going to study, but do you know what’s expected of you? Take the time to familiarise yourself with not only the requirements of your course, but that of the university. This could include things such as deadlines, late procedures, how they manage attendance, submitting documents and navigating their intranet, aid you’re entitled etc.

There are so many little things that we often don’t think about fully until we’re there, standing on the campus. I’ve found myself in varying situations wherein I didn’t know how to submit my assignments due to poor communication from lecturers, or I wasn’t aware of late charges. And don’t get me started on learning to navigate their intranet system!

Stay connected.

One of the best ways to get ready for university is to join local student groups either online on in person. This can give you the opportunity to meet people going through some of the same thoughts and emotions as you. That and you may even meet some of your new classmates!

But staying connected isn’t just about those you go to university with. It’s about remembering to keep in touch with your loved ones back at home. We’re fortunate to be in an age of technology meaning there are multiple ways for us to connect and stay connected. And, most importantly of all, multiple ways for us to reach out if we find ourselves needing support.

Take care of yourself.

Last but certainly not least, it’s important to s to look after both our physical and mental health. It’s so easy to get caught up in the partying, or working so hard that you’re skipping meals. But if you don’t look after yourself and take regular breaks, you could be asking for disaster. Burnout can happen so easily without us realizing. And once burnout creeps in, it can be very difficult to get out off, especially as a student with constant deadlines.

Make time to eat, sleep, exercise and socialise without the booze. Or consider arranging regular movie nights with friends so you can decompress from coursework and give the party life a miss.


  1. Excellent items for getting organized and staying on track. This is great for University and everyday life.

  2. Getting organized is important for students — and the rest of us. It will definately help keep you on track.

  3. Great tips to help being organized, these are very important to do them and practice them. Thank you for sharing!

  4. This checklist is a lifesaver for anyone heading to university. It covers everything, from essentials to often-overlooked items. Sharing personal experiences or anecdotes could make it even more relatable. Thanks for simplifying the pre-university chaos! 🎓📚📝

  5. University or not, this is great advice for anyone! I like the lists and the financial planning. The handouts are helpful. Making a plan helps so much!

  6. I remember the excitement of getting ready for university; it’s a great time to get organized and ready for the coming semesters. This is a great reminder for those returning or heading to university for the first time, as it can involve getting to grips with quite a lot of things. Fab post!

  7. Completely appreciate your tips and as a clean and tidy freak it is extremely important to get things organized, your list helped and I think it is useful to a lot of people as well. – Knycx journeying

  8. I had the opportunity to apply for University this year, but Boy I need a break. These are great tips. I’ll definitely come back to this post regularly as I plan to go to university in 2024.

  9. Excellent! It goes without say that all classes that have to be attended, be actually attended!

  10. My kids are 5 and 3, and I already thinking about how they will live on college campuses without me. I agree with you about the importance of to-do lists and goals. I like to be organized too.

  11. Being organized was imperative for me in college. I toted my planner everywhere! It was the single most important thing for planning college work.

  12. This is a great primer for getting organized for higher education. I tend to be very organized, and I can use some of these ideas in my life.

  13. Fantastic list of essentials to keep you organized for University! I just dropped my son off for his first year of college and even though he’s already been there for a week, these tips will definitely come in handy. I’ll be referring back to this again!

  14. This is such a great way to help stay on task. Getting into the swing of college can be difficult.

  15. I had the greatest college experience with some of my best friends still my best friends 10+ years later. I really attribute the good years to staying connected.

  16. This is such a great guide! I’ll be starting my second year in the next couple of weeks and I honestly don’t know what to expect. I really need to make a list and have another look at my budget plan. Last year I neglected taking care of myself so I’m going to be really mindful of that now! Thank you so much for sharing x

  17. I have always been a very organized person, and my best friend isn’t. We went to college together and my organization skills definitely helped me out. I had to help her a few times, too, to keep her on track.

  18. Great tips! I didn’t go to university but I can imagine it’s a really stressful time getting everything together! X

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