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First Time University Student “Hacks”

Going to university for the first time can seem scary. You’re going to a new place with new people, and leaving behind everything that you know – your friends, your family, your pets and your house. However, it’s also going to be some of the best years of your life- you just need to be ready for them. 

At St George’s Tower, we provide high quality student accommodation in the heart of Leicester. We’ve seen students from the University of Leicester, students from De Montfort University, and young adults from all over the world. So we know what we’re talking about when it comes to new students and adjusting to life at university. Our accommodation was designed to be a home away from home, and all of the advice we offer is curated to make you feel welcome in one of the most diverse cities in the UK. 

We want to make your life, as a first time university student, that bit easier, and so we’ve created a list of university student hacks. With academic hacks, personal hacks and social hacks, you’ll be the most prepared student in your accommodation. We’ve seen a lot of student hacks involving tennis balls and post-it notes, but that’s not what we’re about. We wanted to give you some realistic university student hacks that you’ll remember and use, from your first year to your last. 

So, here are our top 12 university student hacks, from people that understand students. 

Academic University Student Hacks

  • Referencing Made Easy
  • Turn A Picture In To Text
  • An App For Concentration
  • Visit Your Supervisor

Personal University Student Hacks

  • Student Discount 
  • Studytubers
  • Don’t Leave Your Accomodation Without…
  • Packing For Uni

Social University Student Hacks

  • Google Calendar 
  • “Freshers” Fairs
  • Support Local Businesses 
  • Accommodation Advice

Academic University Student Hacks 

Referencing Made Easy

Citing information in your essays can be slow and frustrating. There’s so many different referencing systems to choose from, and the one that your course recommends is always the one that is the most time-consuming or the most confusing. You’re probably not used to referencing, because most sixth forms don’t need you to do it, and so it’s one more thing that you need to quickly learn before you hand in your first essay.

Luckily, websites such as Cite This For Me can make your life so much easier- which is why this is one of our top university student hacks. All you need to do is choose your citation style (such as Harvard, MLA or Chicago), enter a little bit of information (such as source type, source name and author) and it does everything else for you! The end result is a line of referencing to stick in your works cited or bibliography, all correctly ordered and formatted.

Turn A Picture In To Text

Universities typically boast fantastic libraries, containing thousands of books that’ll be incredibly useful for essays, exams and whatever else uni life throws at you. What you’ll quickly notice, however, is that if you want to quote from one of these books, you need to type it out word for word, and if you need a really long or complicated quote it’s going to take a while.

Using the Microsoft Office Lens app and the Microsoft Word app on your phone, you can take a picture of the page you’re interested in, and it will convert the whole thing into text. This makes it really easy to just copy and paste the information you need! 

An App For Concentration 

This is one of those university student hacks that you definitely want to get behind quickly, so that you can be at the forefront of the trend. It can be difficult to concentrate for a prolonged period of time, especially when you’d much rather be scrolling through Instagram or TikTok

The Forest app helps you to stay focused, by taking over your phone and growing a tree. If you exit the app, the tree will die. You’re motivated to grow the tree, and so you won’t go on your phone – simple! 

Visit Your Supervisor

Most universities will assign you a tutor or pastoral supervisor; what they’re called will vary across the UK, but their role is the same: they’re there to support you, and offer help and advice as needed. This isn’t a university student hack, this is common sense! Don’t be afraid to go to your supervisor when you need to – and even before that: introduce yourself, get to know them. Interacting with academics is all part of the university experience, and while it can be intimidating at first, you’ll soon feel at home in their office, discussing the subject you love.

Personal University Student Hacks

Student Discount 

This is one of the best things about being a student – we probably don’t even need to include it in this list of university student hacks, because it’s something you’re probably very aware of. Students get discounts pretty much everywhere, on pretty much everything. Food, clothes, cinema tickets – you name it. If your city has big tourist attractions, you can probably get in for free just because you’re a student.

The best places to find discounts include: UniDays, Save The Student and StudentBeans. All you need is a university email address (and sometimes your student id card). Student discount is also commonly signposted in a lot of stores and restaurants, so keep your eyes peeled.


If you’re a first time university student, the best way to prepare yourself is by watching other people! There are so many “influencers” on Youtube and Instagram that document their time at university, and they’re known as “studytubers” or as people with “studygrams”. Finding and watching their content can give you a good sense of what to expect from university – and it can be even more helpful if they happen to go to the same one as you!

To get you started, here are a few studytubers that might be of interest to you: Eve Cornwell, Ali Abdaal, Jack Edwards and Alice Does Physics

Don’t Leave Your Accomodation Without…

Remembering to bring just three items with you when you leave your accommodation will save you a world of time-consuming administration and possible embarrassment. What might these three things be? Your room card or house key, your student id and your drivers license or equivalent. 

Without your room card or house key, you’re effectively locked out of your accommodation. And while it’s relatively easy to get back inside, especially if you live in St George’s Tower which includes a friendly on-site team and 24/7 security, it can be frustrating. Depending on what you’re wearing – it can be embarrassing too! We’ve seen students trapped outside of their room in no shoes, and even in their pyjamas.

Without your student id card, you may struggle to enter uni buildings or to access those discounts we mentioned earlier, and without your regular id, you may not get served in a pub or while doing your weekly shop. Our best university student hack for this, is to make sure that you are always on the ball, by double and triple checking before you leave your accommodation, or by investing in a lanyard or pocket wallet. 

Packing For Uni 

This is always a cause for stress and concern: what do I need to bring to university? What have I forgotten to pack for university? Will I need this for university? The most important thing to remember is that even if you forget something, you can always have it sent to you, or you can buy it while you are there. 

Just to help you prepare, the four things that we always find that people forget include: a bin for the bathroom, a hairbrush, something to eat on that first night, and some pictures to remind you of home and decorate your room. 

Social University Student Hacks

Google Calendar

Merge your student calendar with your personal calendar to know exactly what you’re doing. You can use the google calendar app on your phone, which means that you can see the week ahead at any time, from anywhere. This makes it really easy to plan your social life, without forgetting about any important deadlines. Need to prepare for a seminar on Tuesday? Go for drinks on Wednesday instead! Your first essay is due on Friday? Sports night should probably be skipped this week! Being organised and on top of everything makes it that much easier to have fun.

“Freshers” Fairs

Universities hold a lot of fairs: career fairs, law fairs, society fairs. It’s all part of the culture, to get you out, preparing for the future and signing up for fun activities and events. However, the fair itself is a huge opportunity, one that you should jump at: it’s a chance to meet up with your friends and get a bunch of free stuff. 

Different stalls will give away different things. Some of the best we’ve seen include: Domino’s Pizza giving out free slices of pizza, coupons and discount codes, law firms giving out highlighters, keep cups and post-it notes, and Wagamama’s giving out pots of their newest vegan dish! You might be tempted to give them a miss, but you’ll definitely regret it, for the freebies alone!

Support Local Businesses 

One of the best ways to familiarise yourself with your new city, and start feeling like a local, is by supporting small businesses. Whether this is finding an independent coffee shop that makes the best cup of coffee, or visiting a second-hand bookstore for your course books, every trip into town allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture. 

One of the best things about being a university student is being able to live in a brand new city, and with this top student hack you’ll have everyone convinced that you’re a local in no time. There’s nothing better than being able to recommend the must-visit bars, restaurants and more within the area. 

Accommodation Advice 

Where you live will hugely influence your university experience. The people you live with or live near are those that you will meet first, and will likely spend a lot of time with. Similarly, the places that you are next to will likely be the places that you visit more frequently. This is something that you should take into account when choosing your accommodation. 

For example – do you lead an extremely active lifestyle? Then maybe you want to live near a gym. Envision yourself spending a lot of time studying? Maybe you want to live near a library. Ready to be the life of the party? Living in a central location will make it easier for you to do what you need to do.

And we may be biased, but we believe that we offer everything that you could be looking for in student accommodation. 

University Student “Hacks” With St George’s Tower

We hope you’ve found these university student hacks helpful. They’re the tips and tricks that the team at St George’s Tower have gathered over the years, from being students to working alongside them. So if you’re a first time student, know that you’re in safe hands when it comes to the information in this blog post: in every aspect of what we do, we’re here to help. 

If you’re a student in Leicester, then you may be interested in hearing more about our accommodation. 

  • Utility bills included
  • On-site gym
  • On-site laundry
  • Super fast wi-fi

We offer great student accommodation, just 10 minutes from DeMontfort University, 18 minutes from the University of Leicester and with easy access to both the train station and the city centre. You couldn’t be in a more convenient location if you tried!

If you’re interested in securing accommodation at St George’s Tower, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Contact us today by calling 0116 262 6933 or emailing  All of the information about St George’s Tower that you could possibly need can be found on our website.

And if you don’t need student accommodation in Leicester, but are interested in learning more university student hacks, or knowing more about the best city in the UK, then check out our other blogs!


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