University is a big and exciting step in your academic career, and I’m sure that many of you are eager to take it. It is very different from school, which makes it a bit trickier to get a general idea of when you can move into your accommodation and when you will actually start. Hopefully this article can help!
If you would like a short answer about when Universities start, then the paragraph below should give you the relevant details:
Universities start at the end of September or beginning of October every year. They allow students to move into accommodation just over a week before these dates and often have introductory lessons or put on a welcome week before teaching starts.
If you would like to find out some more specific information about when different Universities start and how things changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hopefully the article below will be able to answer any questions you may have.
When Do University Students Move Into Their Accommodation?
Usually, students move into their accommodation about a week or two before teaching starts, near the end of September or early October. This is so they can get settled in and used to their new surroundings before they get started with their courses.
Also, many Universities offer ‘welcome weeks’, more commonly known to students as Freshers Week.
This is normally a week full of fun activities, either put on independently or by University societies or student unions, to give the new admissions the opportunity to meet people before University officially starts.
Students generally move into their accommodation in the week leading up to Freshers Week or the weekend before it all starts.
You may be able to move in earlier than this, but it does depend on your University of choice.
Each University will have their own specific dates by which people need to be moved in by, and some may even give out individual time slots to people for people to move in on specific dates.
They will let you know when you can move in but if you are unsure then feel free to contact your University to find out. If they give you a date to move in but you are not quite ready, the latest date you should go is just before your course starts.
If you are moving away and not living at home while continuing your studies, it is especially important that you are at your University and ready to start by the time teaching begins as you won’t want to miss out on the first part of your higher education experience.
Not being prepared to start when you need could make you behind on the content you need to learn which could become stressful – certainly a situation to try and avoid!
When Do Universities Start Teaching Course Content?
Universities usually start teaching at the end of September or start of October. This will probably be after Freshers Week has taken place.
Each University will have their own specific date that they start teaching but they are mostly around the same time.
Some Universities may offer an introduction week as well, where tutors will ease you into learning and take you through what you will be doing during the course.
They may not necessarily start teaching course content straight away or be setting work to do in your own time and will instead try and get students used to learning again after the long summer break away from education.
This introduction week is also a good opportunity to meet the people who are doing the same course as you. This is because you probably won’t be as focused on learning the content as you will be in the following weeks.
After this, teaching should start properly, following your timetable of lectures. You can also expect work to be set outside of those lectures from this point forward.
For second and third-year students, the starting dates for teaching are likely to be similar to the people who are just starting their courses.
How Did COVID-19 Affect University Starting Dates?
Many Universities moved to online learning to replace in-person lectures due to the situation with COVID-19.
They followed the Government guidelines by making an active effort to limit social interaction between large groups in lecture halls for example. Instead, students were able to access online classes either from home or at their new accommodation at University.
In most cases, Universities gave students the option of where they want to start their studies from, especially if they have been operating fully online. This was useful for some students who wanted to save on the costs of renting and living in halls.
For students staying in halls, it might not have had a very big effect on when they can move in and when lessons started, depending on the University.
However, the biggest difference for new students (compared to previous years) was the restrictions on meeting people outside of specific ‘bubbles’ such as flats.
The Government lockdown rules as well as extra precautions being taken by the Universities themselves meant that social interactions were limited for students starting in 2020.
In most cases, students were only supposed to socialise with people in their flats and things like Freshers Week were cancelled to try reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Despite this, courses still started at the usual times, the only difference being that a lot of them were online.
Many Universities also did staggered returns for students at the start of the each new semester to try and limit the number of people coming into close contact with each other in a short period of time, especially those who have been with their families across the country.
Why Do Universities Have Different Starting Dates?
Each University will have different starting dates because they are independently run.
Unlike schools and colleges in the UK, which are organised by the government, each University can decide their own term dates meaning it varies between them all.
Although the majority of them do start around the same time as I said before (the last few weeks of September or early October) the dates can differ.
This being said, all of the starting dates are within quite a small timeframe so there shouldn’t be too much variation between them, probably a week at most either way.
They may not post their term dates on their websites for example, but your University will let you know all of the relevant dates regarding when you start your courses so try not to worry.
What Are The Starting Dates For Open University Students?
The Open University runs on a completely online basis meaning it is perfect for both part time students, and full-time students who don’t want to attend University in person.
Because it is completely online, it provides much more flexibility for students compared to traditional Universities, especially in terms of starting dates.
The Open University offers lots of different types of courses, each with different time frames so start dates can be different depending on what you choose.
Generally, undergraduate courses start in line with other Universities in October. This means that full time students can do 3-year courses, like many other University students, and will finish at the same time.
But because they are able to be more flexible, students can also enrol for other dates and apply to start their undergraduate studies in February instead.
Postgraduate and part time courses are more flexible with timings so will have different start dates. If you are planning on pursuing either of these options, check the Open University website here for some more information that may help you.