Preparing for university

Want to know what you need to think about before arriving at university? Here is some essential information.


All the high street banks have student bank accounts. Make sure you find out which one offers the best rates and incentives for you and open your bank account before applying for your student loan.

You can find out everything you need to know about arranging your student loan and funding your time at university here. There is also information about bursaries, scholarships and awards, as well as details for how to pay for your accommodation and tuition fees.


If you are living on campus and wondering what you need to bring with you, answers to this and many other questions can be found on the accommodation FAQ page.

For those who have chosen to live off-campus, here is a handy guide to working out what your living costs are likely to be.

Health and wellbeing

Student support

All our students benefit from a well-established support network. Our highly trained team can offer support and guidance on a wide range of subjects such as mental health and wellbeing, international support, disability, funding, and almost everything in between. If you are worried about something ahead of your arrival, then the Student Support Team are usually the best people to have a chat with; nothing is too big or too small and they understand that starting university can sometimes cause some challenges. The team are located at the heart of campus in the Student Hub and are friendly, approachable, and knowledgeable, and conversations will be confidential if you want them to be.  

You can also read this guide called Know Before You Go which has been compiled by Student Mind, the UK’s student mental health charity, to help you navigate your way through all the changes you may encounter when starting university.

Dyslexia and disability support

Our goal is to explore and identify individual support needs and put in place support and adjustments to ensure all students can thrive. We understand that a disability can be visible or hidden. It may be physical, related to mental health, a long-term medical condition or a learning difference such as dyslexia. If you think any of these could apply to you, you should contact the Student Support team via who can talk to you about the support available which could include mentoring or one-to-one study skills, in addition to our regular Advisor-led drop-ins and appointments. It’s really important to make time to apply for Disabled Students Allowance, as this vital Government scheme provides the backbone of the support we can offer. Talk to the Student Support team who will be happy to assist you with an application.   Read more about the support we offer for dyslexia and other disabilities here.

University health centre

All students can register with the University health centre unless already registered with another local doctor. As students, you will be able to see your ‘home’ doctor as a ‘temporary resident’ during the holidays but should remain permanently registered with the University health centre during your time at RAU. Registration is completed online.


It is likely you will have a range of vaccinations when you were younger. If you haven't already had them we recommend that you are vaccinated against the following:

  • Meningitis (MenACWY) 
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Tetanus - it is particularly important that students whose courses involve practical work on farms have up-to-date tetanus vaccinations

International students' vaccinations

You should be vaccinated for all of the above diseases plus those listed below:

  • Diphtheria 
  • Polio 
  • You should also be vaccinated for tuberculosis (TB) before you enter the UK

If you are applying for a Student Visa, depending on your country of origin/residence, you might also need to be tested for tuberculosis. 

Ask your doctor about any other vaccinations you might need to travel to the UK. Also, check with your local embassy to find out if you are legally required to get any vaccines before coming to the UK. We strongly recommend you get your vaccinations before you leave your home country. If you get your vaccinations in the UK, you may have to pay for some of them. 

If you have evidence of your vaccinations (e.g. International Vaccination Book) bring it with you when you enter the country and during your medical registration at the RAU. 

IT services

Here at the RAU, we know IT is an integral part of our students’ lives, both for learning and research, and for relaxing and communicating with family and friends.

You can bring your own laptop, tablet and smartphone and use our network for academic purposes and for personal internet access. Free copies of Microsoft Office 365 are available for downloading onto these devices. Please click to read more about our IT services.

RAU Unicard

If you are a new student, you will collect your RAU Unicard at your Part 2 on-site registration session during Induction Week. You will need to have completed your Part 1 online self-registration, uploaded your University photo and made arrangements to pay your tuition fees. Your Unicard will last for the duration of your time at University.

The Unicard is a ‘contactless smart card’ and allows you to: 

  • Register your attendance at lectures and seminars
  • Use your Meal Plan Tokens to exchange for food and drink for residential students with a meal plan
  • Access residential buildings and rooms
  • Access printing, photocopying and scanning
  • Check books out of the Library (and pay your Library fines)
  • Access your allocated car parking area

Students' Union

Student life isn't just about studying; the Students' Union (RAUSU) is dedicated to helping you make the most of your time at the RAU, from sports clubs and societies to social events and charity fundraising. Find out about some of the activities the Students' Union organise.