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How can I use social media before I arrive?

Using social media
Smart phone interface showing the app icons for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
© Thomas Ulrich @ Pixabay

Social media can be a valuable tool in helping you feel more prepared about coming to university. Seek out the official accounts for the university and follow or like them. It’s likely that in the summer, in the run-up to Freshers’ Week, they will share lots of useful information specifically for new students.

University social media accounts

Moving to university can be daunting but social media can help give you insight into what to expect. Your university will almost certainly have Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts for you to sign up to.

University social media audiences are very broad, covering students, alumni, staff and beyond. As a result, they share a wide range of news and stories about themselves. You might even find out about the interesting research your future department is involved with. By following their channels early, you’ll be able to get a feel of what it’s like to be part of that community.

Making friends

As well as using social media to keep in touch with people back home when you start at university, it’s also a useful way to find coursemates and flatmates before you arrive.

Take a look at The Student Room and get involved in the threads. Also have a look for other social media channels your university offers, beyond the main accounts. Is your department on Twitter? Are there any Facebook groups you can join?

Connect with the students’ union and your college

Another tip is to find and follow your students’ union on social media. Every university has a union that exists to represent and put across the views of students. Unions are responsible for many of the social activities, sports teams, official events and societies available too. This means they’ll share information about the events and activities happening when you arrive.

If you’re studying at a university that has colleges, like York, you could also find their social media accounts and give them a follow. This will give you access to specific information about your halls and the support teams there.

At the University of York

The University of York has a number of Facebook groups for students. There will be an official Freshers’ Group for 2020/21 undergraduate students which will open after Results Day – we’ll share the link on social, in emails and on our website. There are also groups for postgraduates and mature learners.

These Facebook groups are there to help you connect with people on your course or those who will be living in your college or halls. You aren’t going through the transition to higher education on your own – chatting with others before you arrive can be really helpful. Sometimes group members will create their own course-specific or flat-specific Messenger chats too.

Stay safe and savvy

If you’re signing up to Facebook groups, events and pages check that they have a genuine connection to the university or students’ union. There are fake events and club nights out there so only buy freshers tickets from official university, college or union websites.

Make sure you are sensible about what you share online – you might end up meeting some of these people in real life eventually so make a good impression! Basically, just remember to exercise the usual caution you would use when chatting on social media.

Do you have any advice to share?

There might be some tips we’ve missed above, so let us know in the Comments below if you have any useful advice about using social media to help you prepare for uni life.

© University of York
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