Umass Advice
Making the most of university


University is more than just lectures and labs. The university experience presents students with an opportunity to meet new people, try out new activities and develop new skills.

Engage with your new university

Investigate the heritage of the institution and the area that you are going to be living in. Manchester’s unique character, for example, is heavily influenced by its ties to the Industrial Revolution and the textile trade in the 19th century, which can be seen through the city’s architecture and heritage sites. Many universities host free city bus tours during Welcome Week to help new students familiarise themselves with their surroundings. These trips offer students who are new to the area a crash course in the best bars, restaurants, museums and facilities that are on offer in the city.

Student societies

Societies are a great way of meeting students that share similar interests with you. At The University of Manchester, there are more than 350 societies, from Aikido, Archaeology and Aerospace Engineering to the Women’s Campaign, the Vietnamese Cultures Group and the Zombie Apocalypse Society. Societies usually hold weekly meetings and social activities, allowing students to engage with people who they may not live or study with.

Many societies will offer training classes; for example first aid, marketing and how to manage a budget. Participating in these activities gives you an opportunity to hone your transferable skills, such as communication, leadership and organisation skills, while providing you with an opportunity to meet new friends.

Can’t find a society that you are interested in joining? Unions often help students to start up their own clubs if enough people register their interest. At Manchester, any student can set up one via the Students’ Union website and they’ll be invited to join society training and offered support for managing a budget, run meetings etc.

To find out more visit the Students’ Union website.

Visit your university’s career service

By visiting the careers service early on in your degree, you will be provided with guidance on the skills that you need to acquire in order to attain your dream job. If you’re not sure what career path you’d like to take, the advisers are the best people to ask! It’s never too early to explore potential career paths and acquire work experience.

The careers service can also help you find part-time work to pay for the essentials of student life, as well as finding volunteering opportunities and work experience.


On a Wednesday afternoon most universities do not hold lectures as this is the time that most of the sporting teams compete. The beauty of sport at university is that it is usually possible to compete on any level. Those of you that excel at a sport will be able to represent the university, by playing for one of the top teams. If you want to take part in sport at a non-competitive level through our Campus Sport programme, then it is normally possible to join a team as a beginner, play for your hall of residence, your department, or with a group of friends.

At Manchester we have over 40 sports clubs within our Athletics Union. These teams compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) league. These 40 clubs include football, basketball, canoeing and the more unusual sports such as, American Football, Futsal and Korfball.

Manchester also has an active Sports Volunteer scheme which is funded by the government. Volunteers, through a number of different roles, bring the benefits of sport to local communities. Volunteers can take up posts that include coaching, events organisation, and assisting coaches. Many will have the opportunity to receive national coaching, refereeing or umpiring qualifications, which gives students the chance to improve their leadership, communication and team working skills.

Find out more at the SPORT Manchester website.

Learn life skills

Many students feel that living independently is easier than they had previously thought. Although you are bound to cook some inedible dishes and have a few mishaps with the washing machine, this is all part of the university experience – it isn’t the end of the world if you make a few mistakes along the way! Learning from your errors will help you to become a more well-rounded individual.