Last minute tips to a smooth start for first year students

January 27, 2022

It’s 2022 and as the “one hit wonder” band Europe said in their 1986 song played every New Year’s Eve a minute before 12, “It’s the final countdown”.

It’s the final countdown

You are about to begin the next chapter of your life. This one may just be the most important!

We say this because it’s a short one. At its shortest it will be 3 years, and longest around 8. This is between 3.75% and 10% of an 80-year life expectancy. It’s short, however, it will dictate for most, the path you take in your career and will have an almost equally big effect on your personal life. Our advice – make it the most effective chapter in the story of your life.

Before the ignition button

If you’re new to our site and our blog, there are many excellent articles that will help you navigate your journey through university, so check them out. In particular, you should probably read Planning your study path at UP for first-year students or To live, on or off campus, that is the question as well as Success with the right address which discuss why choosing where you stay while at university can influence your success.

In this article, we are going to give you some tips to make the start as smooth as possible and increase your confidence.

Take a campus tour

Whether you live on or off campus, it’s good to orient yourself before your first day. We’re not saying turn into a tour guide for UP but rather that before day one, you should learn the basics of what, where and how. This is especially important for students living off campus in places like The Fields. Students living in campus housing have orientation, which is an advantage in getting to know their environment.

Best of all UP conduct their own tours and at R85.00 during the week and R170.00 on the weekend it’s a bargain. So, what are you waiting for? Go see how cool your new campus is, click here to arrange it.

Reach out – get a little help for free

Transitioning from high school to university to life is daunting, but help is available. No one, yes no one, transitions from high school to varsity with no nerves and challenges. UP have several programmes that help you navigate your first year.

  • Stars Mentorship Programme. The programme is only for freshman, first-year students in American speak. Sounds cooler too, right? Mentors are senior students, second year and up.

Once enrolled, each student’s assigned a mentor whose academic courses are the same or similar. They will help you:

  • Navigate campus,
  • Assist you with setting attainable goals for the year,
  • And as the need arises refer you to people who can help such as student faculty advisors, people that can help with career guidance and many more.

Click here to go to the Mentorship Application Form.

  • Faculty student advisors and peer advisors. Each of the 9 academic faculties of UP has faculty student advisors and peer advisors. Faculty student advisors are generally post graduate students who are there to assist you with navigating your academic studies. The value they provide to students at all levels and especially first years is priceless. These are some of the things they can assist you with:
    • Setting and attaining your academic goals, after all, that’s what you’re at UP for,
    • Study methods,
    • Exam preparation,
    • Time and stress management and,
    • Career planning.

Peer advisors are senior students who are there to help with answering the most common questions you may have about your studies. They can also refer you to a student advisor. They understand you, heck they were you, just 2 or 3 years ago, so they know what you’re going through. They are always happy to share their tips to navigating your studies smoothly. They can also assist with determining who the best person to refer you to for the everyday things that confront new students.

Reach out to your peer and or student faculty advisors now, before arriving on campus, so that you have someone to help from day one. Advisors’ details for each faculty can be found here.


While selecting the course and your subjects ranks number one in your preparation. Number two has to be accommodation. Besides the obvious of needing somewhere to live with amenities we all need, where you live can affect the entire demeanor of your first year. You’re in luck. You’re on the website of The Fields and we’ve got you covered.

You’re going to ‘crush it’

The journey you’re about to take can be a little scary, we know this at The Fields, Pretoria. It’s why we are here to help students wherever we can and why we created off campus accommodation and a special space that helps students succeed, no matter the stage of your varsity journey. We provide immensely comfortable, secure and affordable accommodation in close walking distance to all campus amenities including, the most popular student hangouts, gyms, restaurant and coffee shops. Chat to us we’re here to help and we have the options for all wants and needs for off campus university living.

We look forward to helping you and wish you all the luck for your first year at one of the best universities on earth in the best city on earth.

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