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How can I get the best from Freshers’ Week?

Watch and read all about Fresher's Week at university.

Listen to our students’ advice on how to get the best from Freshers’ Week!

Freshers’ Week (also often called Welcome Week) is the week when new first-year students arrive at university. It takes place before term (and teaching) officially starts and gives students the chance to settle into their new environment.

Freshers is a shortened version of the American ‘Freshman’, meaning a first-year student at university.

Freshers’ Week traditionally includes a vast range of activities and events including welcome and induction sessions, day trips, nights out, sports and society sessions and so much more. It is also a great time to sort out things like registering with a local doctor’s surgery and other administrative tasks as well as familiarising yourself with your university and new home town or city.

Your university will have a packed Freshers’ Week timetable which will include university-wide activities and events as well as some specific to your department, college and accommodation. You may also find that there are targeted activities for students with particular backgrounds and characteristics; for example local and commuting students, mature students or care leavers. Most events will be optional but do ensure you prioritise any essential sessions.

Freshers’ Week helpers

Many universities will have second and third-year students on hand to help you settle in and get the most out of your Freshers’ Week experience. At the University of York these are called STYCs (second and third-year contacts). They will greet you when you arrive, help you move into your accommodation and encourage you to get involved in activities from college events and nights out to supermarket trips, wellbeing sessions, games and film nights, city trips and much more. They will even just come and have a chat with you and your flatmates over a cup of tea.

Freshers’ Fair

Freshers’ Fair is one of the highlights of Freshers’ Week at any university so make sure you put this in your diary and make the effort to attend and speak to as many people as possible.

This is a fantastic opportunity to find out about everything on offer at your university, there will be stands with representatives from societies and sports clubs encouraging you to sign up to have a go at something new, continue a hobby or interest you may already have, meet new people or just explore something you’re interested in.

Freshers’ Fair will also often have stands for your Students Union, Student Support Services, job opportunities, businesses, local organisations and much more so there is sure to be something to capture your interest. There are bound to be lots of freebies too (often free pizza) so take a bag and give yourself plenty of time to really make the most of the event!

To hear more about our students’ experiences of Freshers’ Week, take a look at the student blogs on the Freshers’ Week section of our website. You’ll see that everyone has their own experiences and advice.

Be brave but don’t overdo it either

The thought of Freshers’ Week can be overwhelming to some students but there is no need to worry if you feel like this. The most important thing to remember is to be brave and embrace the opportunities available to you during this week… but don’t succumb to FOMO! It is a good idea to push yourself out of your comfort zone but you do not need to feel pressured into taking part in everything on offer, and it is ok to take a break and give yourself some downtime.

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