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How To Be Successful At University: What Students Suggest

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

Starting university can be a nerve wracking experience. There are a number of articles out there that tackle university success, but very few are comprised of input from actual students themselves. Here are some tips from current and alumni students from the University of The West of England (UWE), the University of Bristol, Birmingham City University and the University of Glasgow on how to succeed at university both inside and outside of the lecture hall. We hope you find it useful.

Tip 1 – From Saharla, Third Year Psychology with Sociology Student from UWE.

“Take advantage of everything!! Leave your comfort zone and find a new you. Evolve, grow and enjoy it. It goes way too fast so enjoy the ride!!”.

We love this from Saharla. University is a prime opportunity to explore a range of different activities that you wouldn’t usually try. We would suggest attending your universities freshers fair and signing up to a range of different activities. You never know, you might be surprised at what you become a pro at!!

Tip 2 – From Marissa, A Visual Communication Graduate from Birmingham City University.

“Find a hobbie to take part in outside of university. Mine was dance, but I know others who went to the gym as a past time”.

Being a student means you have access to amazing deals and discounts... so use them! Most reputable companies have student discount, especially gyms! So if you want to train but are afraid of the dent you might make in your bank, fear not! Your studentship will save you... for three or four years at least.

Tips 3 and 4 From Ejaz, An Economics Student from the University of Glasgow:

"Doing good in coursework can save your overall grade, so take them seriously".

Coursework may be worth less overall in a particular module, but a high grade can save you lots of stress come exam season.

“Show employers that you did more at university than get good grades by holding a position in a society or union”.

First year is usually (!) the most relaxed in terms of degree weighting and workload, so why not use this opportunity to get involved in some projects or societies going on around your university? Few things excite potential employers more than extra curricular activities. It shows that you go beyond what is expected of you, which translates very well on a CV. If you want further information on what employers are looking for in students, click here.

Tip 5 - Siddique, Alumni Law Student From UWE:

"Do as much as you can healthily do".

Whilst we understand university is usually a time in your life where you are in full control of your day to day activities, we definitely echo this statement from Siddique. It is easy to over commit to extra curricular activities at university, which can sometimes strain your ability to meet the demands of your course. Try things out, but don’t be afraid to say no to things that may impact your ability to study. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the demands of your course, don't be afraid to reach out and seek help! Most universities have interventions and services in place to access, but if you want something more immediate when it comes to managing stress, consider trying Kooth, an online wellbeing resource for young people that can be accessed on a phone, tablet or mobile device.

Tip 6 from Athif, A Psychology with Criminology Student studying at UWE

"Create a list of personal and academic goals to complete before you graduate!"

Great tip here. We heavily support tapping into a vision from as early as possible. By setting goals that relate to both academia and your personal life, you make your university experience relevant to your long term development. Often, students separate their academic commitments from their personal life, which can lead to motivation issues at numerous points in their university career. Set some goals and hold yourself accountable! If you are struggling with your own goals, check out our introduction to goal setting here, where we unpack the three components of goal setting as well as how you can make your goals personal to you.


Sometimes, tips from people who have actually walked the path that you are going down is what you need to get prepped for university. Hopefully you have something to take away with you from this short read to make your university experience as rich as possible. Don't forget to check us out on our social channels for more content designed to help you make the most of your university career.

Have fun at University and good luck!

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