What is Freshers’ Week?

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You’ve probably heard older university students mentioning freshers’ week. Most students regard freshers’ week as the busiest, but the most fun week of your degree. However, if you haven’t already experienced it, it’s probably shrouded in a lot of mystery. Well, don’t worry! This article is here to clear up that mystery for you.

Freshers’ week is the first week of your first term in the first year of your degree. It is a week full of academic and social activities, to help you adjust into university life. It is not part of your university term officially, because academic work doesn’t start until freshers’ week is over.

You probably still have a lot more questions about what freshers’ week is and what happens. Keep reading to find out all you need to know before your freshers’ week.

What happens in freshers’ week?

Freshers’ week is probably the busiest week you’ll ever have while you’re at university. There are a mix of academic and social events that you’ll attend.

On the academic side of things, during freshers’ week you’ll most likely receive talks by important people within the university. This might be your dean, your university doctor, and university finance admins. The purpose of these talks is to make sure you know who you can contact!

You’ll also meet with your tutors and other students on your course. You’ll may be set work, but this will probably be due after freshers’ week is over.

You won’t have any lectures, seminars or tutorials during freshers’ week. You can check out this Think Student article to find out more about the differences between those classes.

On the social side of things, during freshers’ week there will be organised social events like clubbing and film nights. You’re free to engage in your own social activities, but the university will definitely provide some for you.

As I mentioned earlier, freshers’ week is definitely hectic. Your university should provide you with a timetable of events beforehand. For a more in-depth guide into freshers’ week, I’d recommend this Think Student article.

When is freshers’ week?

Freshers’ week is always the first week of your very first term. It is an “unofficial” week since you don’t do any academic work. Therefore, if you have 8-week long terms, your very first term will actually be 9 weeks including freshers’ week.

The dates for freshers’ week differ from year to year, and it depends on when your university asks you to arrive. Check out this Think Student article for further details on the dates for freshers’ week 2023.

One thing to note is that you’ll only have one freshers’ week throughout your degree. This is always in the first week of your very first term. For your other terms in first year, and in second and third year, you won’t have a freshers’ week.

Is freshers’ week compulsory?

The question of freshers’ week being compulsory is a complicated one – it is, and it isn’t. During freshers’ week, you are very independent, and it’s designed that way to get you used to being independent.

If there are any activities that are compulsory as part of your freshers’ week timetable, your university will definitely inform you. You can probably take an educated guess at the kinds of events you’ll have to attend. For example, meeting your tutors and course mates is definitely compulsory.

All social events, however, won’t be compulsory. Personally, I would still recommend that you attend as many as you can/would like to, because these are the best social opportunities you’ll have. However, the university won’t hold it against you if you make your own plans.

My advice, as a former fresher, is to treat freshers’ week as though all of it is compulsory. Like I said earlier, it is the biggest social opportunity you’ll get. It doesn’t matter if you don’t come out with a huge group of friends, but you should at least make an effort!

If you really don’t want to go to freshers’ week, I’d recommend checking out an article by Student Hut, linked here.

How much does freshers’ week cost?

Thankfully, freshers’ week can be quite easy on the wallet if you set a budget. All your academic-related events will obviously be free, and social events that aren’t ticketed are most likely free too.

I recommend setting a hard limit for yourself at the start of freshers’ week, because it can be easy to spend more than you think.

Most students spend most of their money during freshers’ week on alcohol. Lots of places serving alcohol will probably do student deals during freshers’ week, so try and scope out bars you can save money at!

What is a freshers’ fair?

A freshers’ fair is the main event of freshers’ week. Your university will have a whole host of clubs and societies to offer you. In UCAS’ list of six things you should do during freshers’ week – which you can check out here – attending your freshers’ fair is number 1!

At a freshers’ fair, your university’s clubs and societies – which you can read more about in this Think Student article – will host stalls for you to look at. They’ll provide you with information about what their club or society does. You can sign up to any that interest you!

There’s no limit to how many societies you can join. A freshers’ fair is your prime opportunity to do so, so make sure you make attending your freshers’ fair your top priority!

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