6 Top Tips for Students Preparing for Second Year Of University

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Your first year of university is over and the summer holidays have been a good break. 

We bet it was a great chance for you to get to know the new town or city you were living in, make new friends in your student accommodation and on your course whilst working hard at your studies. 

There is always a little bit of leeway to your performance as a first-year student, as it is a challenging transition period from home life into adulthood and, for many of you, it will have been the first time you have lived away from home.

Now that the first year is over, what can you expect from second year university and what tips should you take on board to be ready?

1. Take A Real Summer Break

relaxing vacation in the summer

The summer break is quite long really, and before you head into a hectic year of study, it is important to take a real break and recharge your batteries. 

Whether this is visiting friends, taking a holiday abroad or just chilling out at home and doing very little, it is important to look after you for a bit. 

The next two years (or more) of study will be difficult at times and put strain on you, take the breaks as and when they come, starting now.

2. Start Reading Early

reading early for second year

Once you have taken a little bit of time out to do nothing relating to your university life, think about the upcoming year and the course material that you will have to be familiar with. 

Even if you just take a couple of the core books for next year and read those, this is a great start to the year ahead. 

It doesn’t have to take up loads of your time, as you are still on holiday, but a little bit here and there could go a long way.

3. Remember The Weighting Of The Grades

grades for second year of university

In most cases, your first-year grades do not count towards your final degree, so in theory all you must do is pass. 

For some students, this can cause a problem because you might have been doing the bare minimum to scrape by and get into second year of university, but now you must work harder after a year of maybe not studying as hard as you should have. 

Your second-year grades will count for 40% of your final grade, with third year taking up 60% of grades. This means you must hit the ground running in your second year and be prepared to work hard.

4. Manage Your Work And Study

studying hard for uni

If you have struggled during your first year to manage your workload effectively, one of the most important things you can do over the summer months is to think about ways in which you can improve this process. 

If you do not have a dedicated workspace in your student accommodation, make sure you rectify this. 

Once you have your lectures and assignment dates, have a wall chart or calendar that is easy for you to view whenever you need to. 

Stay on top of all work that comes your way, prioritising certain items when needed but maintaining a steady flow of work and study sessions. 

If you work better in a coffee shop in the afternoon than at home, build that into your schedule. 

If you need complete seclusion, find your perfect spot, and make it work for you. Take breaks at regular intervals, as you need those periods too.

5. Think About Your Dissertation

typing for your dissertation

Towards the end of your second year of university you’ll be expected to start putting forward ideas about your dissertation, which takes up a large part of your third year.

Although this might seem far ahead in the future, just before you go back for your second year is the perfect time to begin thinking about what topic your dissertation should take, the type of research you would be expected to undertake and the different tutors and specialists who could help you out. 

Having a clear idea now gives you a better chance of honing the idea and crystallising your dissertation over a much shorter time frame when the time comes before your third year of university.

6. Look Into Internships And Work Experience

second year university students on work experience

Depending on the type of study you are undertaking and your long-term plans for a career, there is no time too early to think about how your CV can be improved through carefully thought-out work experience and internships. 

This will change from degree to degree and industry to industry, and in some cases, you might even have an entire year blocked out to work on placement as part of the degree structure. 

It can take a lot of time to put in the research to find the work placement and internship places, so make the most of your time now to prepare.

Research different potential options now, speak to your university careers service when you get a chance to, and write a draft CV and generic cover letter that you can use as templates when the time comes to apply for internships. 

Applications for internships and work placement schemes often start early in September each year, so be prepared.

Second year university will be completely different to your first year. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to hit the ground running. It is vital that you are fresh and raring to go on that first day you go back to university. 

So, be prepared and do some reading in advance of the year, look for internship opportunities that could help you in the future, plan well so that you always work methodically and at your best, and think about your dissertation and what that could be. 

All of this goes a long way to helping you shape second year university in a way that maximises your potential.

If you’re still looking for second year student accommodation, why not have a look at our locations page and see if any of our properties are your style? We have a friendly team on the phones that will be happy to help you out.