Starting Architecture At University 2019

Starting Architecture At University 2019

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Starting university can be a big step for anyone and especially if you’re going to be studying architecture, it will seem like there’s hundreds of things you need to do before you even get there.

If you're looking for how to apply to architecture at university, read our full guide HERE.

We’ll discuss some of the steps you need to take from makingsure your accommodation is sorted to getting all the tools and equipment youmay need. Find our free downloadable checklist at the end of the article. Alsonote that these steps apply to other courses too and the only different stepswill be the extra prep such as buying stationary.

If you’re living at home or doing a part-time course, some ofthese may not apply to you but if you need any other help with settling into university,speak to a student support officer or any of your friends and peers.

Registering for University

After a very relaxing and well-deserved summer you might bebuzzing with excitement to start university. Or, you could be quite nervous.Nevertheless, we suggest you start your prep a few weeks before the startingdate. If you’re moving out, you will also need to find out which day you canmove into the accommodation so be prepared for this.

Usually when you first start university, you will need toregister either online or in-person. The university will just want to checkyour documents such as A-level certificates, your UCAS offer letter and proofof address so that they have it on record. This will also be where you will begiven your student ID and be given any other information.

Make sure you have provided your primary e-mail address tothe university and keep this on your phone so that you’re constantly updated.Try not to delete any important e-mails either. We suggest you make copies ofany important documents like certificates and keep everything in a named folderready and prepared.

We’re sure you have already, but make sure you have your maintenanceloan sorted and you know the amount of loan your getting from Student Finance.Make a note of this number somewhere and talk to your bank about creating orturning your account into a student account. Then try splitting this amount overthe term and setting yourself a weekly budget.

You could even go down the app-based banking route to keeptrack of your spending in real time. We think this article by Save the Studentis great.

Best Digital App Banks

Now it’ll be time to get some university shopping done.



If you’re living at home then you’re saving a lot ofmoney and you don’t have to worry too much about things like rent or being byyourself. On the other hand, if you really have no choice but to live out thenkeep on reading. Usually some students want to live on campus in their firstyear to get a sense of independence or for an experience. You don’t even haveto live in university halls but as a first year you get the advantage of being guaranteeda place.

If you are going to university with friends and want to trygo for something that may be cheaper (depending on the area) then you couldalso house share, but you’d have to do this through housing agencies.

For living in halls, find out what’s included already. Thiscan also depend on the type of room you have booked. Some rooms might include amini fridge of some sorts and other standard equipment like a bin or lamp.Then, make a list of things you will need to buy to take there. For ease, youshould try buy food once you get there and do a proper grocery shop, so you’resettled for the next week or so.

Find our downloadable checklist HERE. It has a lot of options, but you don’t necessarily need all of them.

If you’ve booked yourself into a flat with other people, tryand use the university halls’ Facebook groups (if they have one) to possiblytry find some of your flatmates beforehand so you can go in knowing them alittle bit. Usually there are also options to give those coming with friends tobe placed in the same flat, but you can search this up on your university’s accommodationportal.

Apart from things for your room, you will also need to prep some stationary and equipment for your studies. For architecture, this means getting some model making supplies, drawing tools and lots and lots of masking tape for starting working in the studio.

Stationary and Equipment

Some universities offer pre-packed bundles of equipment intheir university shops. This includes most of the things you will need and caneven be priced at a discount as compared to if you were to buy everythingseparately.

You don’t need to buy everything months before and you can dothis a couple of days before your first day. Some courses even send out a listto help you as not all will focus on drawing skills or model making for exampleso it can be a waste to buy something and not use it.

If you already know of some architecture students in your universityor in others, talk to them to find a general idea of the few tools and suppliesthat are absolutely necessary. Other equipment like notebooks or folders arecompletely up to you and how you work. Some people prefer keeping everythingonline and some prefer handwritten notes.

Also bear in mind that during lectures you can take notes however you want. Recently we’ve seen students bring in iPad’s or a small notebook but there is no right or wrong so don’t think you need to spend hundreds on stationary.


Here’s a list of essential tools we think every first-year architecture student starting this year should have. We've even included some product links* so you can get a general idea and purchase ahead of time if needed:

Your Schedule

Your schedule is usually sent to you or can be accessed viayour university portal so make sure to keep checking this out before universitybegins. It’s okay if you don’t understand much and usually in architecture,there are no strict timings because the whole day can count as a studio day.Once you actually start university, you will better understand and get used tothis.

The timetable will most likely be given to you again on yourfirst day which is usually a mix of presentations by the head of the course andicebreaker tasks once you get sorted into your units. Units are basically likeclasses and can range from about 8-15 students depending on the size of youryear group.

Initially, you may notice that you don’t go into universityevery single day or that some days you only have one lecture and then nothingthe rest of the day. After fresher’s period is over, you can start thinkingabout how to use your time a bit better. For example, if you have a 10amlecture that finishes before lunch, why not get some lunch locally and then usethe time afterwards to go over your notes in the library.

Similarly, it’s up to you how much time you spend in the studio.This can also depend on your accommodation status. Those who are commutingmight prefer to go home before rush hour and those living on campus can staylonger and work in the studios. But this doesn’t have to be the case foreveryone because other’s prefer working solitary and within a comfortable environmentso just try and see what you prefer.

If you’re working on a model or large scale drawing it is abit obvious that you have to stay in the studio because you can’t really take alarge model back to your small room. Make sure you keep some time to takebreaks as well.

For other days that you’re free, try allocating some other tasks like laundry or grocery shopping and make this a habit where you can. As the deadlines get nearer, you may not have too much time on your hands but by having a schedule you get used to it and can complete this faster. Starting this as early as possible can mean you get familiar with a routine in a short amount of time.

Lastly, we just want to remind you that starting universityshould be a pleasant experience because after all you’re starting a new chapterin your career and life and it’s the time to make some lasting friends and soakin all that education.

If you’ve been studying at university for a while now, let us know some tips for freshers starting soon in the comments below.

Don't forget our FREE University Checklist that you can download HERE.


*:scale is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to (source: Section 5)

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