Essentials for Freshers when starting uni

Whether you’re moving into halls or living in private accommodation, there are necessities that every university student needs. Here is a guide breaking down all the items needed to make your first year at university great!

General quick tips

  • Travel light – there’s no need to bring everything plus the kitchen sink! Chester has shops where you can buy things too
  • Sometimes cheap and cheerful will do. There’s no point splashing out on expensive pans and crockery, that might get ruined if you’re sharing with your housemates.
  • Before you move into halls, check what the university says you are allowed to bring and what already comes with the room. Similarly, if you are in private accommodation check with the landlord or your letting agency

Your bedroom

This is your own personal space, so you have the opportunity to make it your own. For some inspiration, check out The Independent’s  10 cheap ways to decorate your university room. This article has great little tips advising how to personalise your room and make it more homely.

We’ve put together a little checklist of things you might want to bring along with you:

  • Duvet – Preferably bring a warm one (10.5 tog) which will be sufficient for both summer and winter
  • Pillows x2 – Bringing two pillows will be enough whether you have a single or double bed
  • Bottom sheet x2 – Just to be safe bringing two bottom sheets will allow for a change when you’re not feeling like doing your laundry
  • Bedding x2 – Similarly bring two lots of bedding for those lazy weeks
  • Mattress topper – If you’re in a CSL fully managed house, then you’ll get one of these with your room. If not, you’ll definitely want to bring one with you. Chances are that you won’t be the first student to be sleeping in your bed, so a mattress topper will help keep your bedding more sanitary, and makes the mattress more comfortable too
  • Furnishings – Bring items such as bins, lamps and full length mirrors as they aren’t always included in your accommodation – again this will be something to check before you move in. When it comes to adding personal touches in your room, bringing photos/posters and cushions really help make your room feel more homely and comfortable, which will help if you start getting homesick. Make sure to check your tenancy agreement to ensure how you can fix posters to the walls, as blue and white tack can leave oily marks. Command Strips are a great alternative.
  • Clothes- We understand that it may be tempting to buy a whole new wardrobe for starting university, however, bear in mind that storage and wardrobe space may be more limited than you’re used to, and you don’t want to over clutter your room. The beauty of Freshers’ Week is that you will get free t-shirts and hoodies so depending on your ability to get freebies, you will probably get enough t-shirts to last you the whole year. Similarly the same with shoes, chances are you will probably only wear four pairs throughout the whole year so just bring a few of your favourite pairs.

Doing your laundry

If you are going into halls, there will be a designated laundry room that will require you to top up a laundry card to use the facilities. If you are in private accommodation, then your house will usually come with a washing machine and a dryer, depending on what your landlord supplies. All houses let through CSL do come with a washing machine.

  • Washing powder/ tablets/ gel – Washing tablets are a safer option, especially in halls where there often isn’t a draw for washing powder. We’d recommend buying these when you arrive in Chester and have seen what facilities are available.
  • Washing basket/ bag – We’d say having one of these is definitely essential. It’ll make your life so much easier when you have to carry your laundry to the washing facility on campus, or the laundrette if your landlord doesn’t provide a washing machine. To check out houses that will have a washing machine, just check our website.
  • If you are living in private accommodation, you will probably have a washing line if your home includes a garden. But if you are in halls, one item to consider is a drying rack or clothes maiden. This way you can dry your clothes in your room instead of paying for laundry services. Make sure that you check your tenancy agreement before doing this though, as sometimes there are restrictions on drying clothes indoors due to black mould.


Depending on the type of accommodation you have, it’s best to only bring bathroom essentials – unless you have an en-suite and know you have to bring a shower curtain, bath mat etc.

  • Bath towels x2
  • Hand towels x2
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Shower gel
  • Razors and other personal items

Be prepared for first aid

Something that’s easy to forget but is essential, especially during Freshers’ Week is bringing a first aid kit and basic medication. To see some tips about how to combat Freshers Flu check out our “What they don’t tell you about uni” blog, this will show the medication that might help. To keep in your stash and be prepared for the year, we’d recommend:

  • Painkillers – aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol. Typically used for headaches and inflammation, these will become a staple during your university life, especially to help with the ‘morning after the night before’!
  • Cough medicine
  • Thoat lozenges
  • Plasters/ bandages ready for those minor chopping accidents

Your kitchen

Despite the type of accommodation you have, whether it’s shared or a studio, you will still need to bring a few kitchen utensils.

  • Crockery – an easy option is a set of basic dinnerware including  4 bowls, 4 saucers and 4 plates from Wilkinsons. Chances are, you probably won’t use all four (unless you really hate washing up), but it means if any get broken you have spares at the ready
  • Mugs & glasses – similarly getting 4 cups and 4 glasses should be sufficient for the year
  • Pans – when it comes to cooking, again, stick with the basics. Two saucepans and a frying pan should be enough. You can buy an inexpensive set of three pans in most supermarkets too!
  • Cutlery – a 12 piece set made up of knives, forks and spoons will be enough. Make sure you buy some decent chopping knives too, blunt ones will slip easily and you could really injure yourself
  • Utensils –  you’re best to start with essentials like a spatula, colander, sieve, scissors and a wooden spoon
  • Chopping board – ideally bring two, one for meat and the other for vegetables to save spreading bacteria. Alternatively, take the cheat’s way out and make sure to flip it when you’re using raw meat and veg. Just make sure you clean it really well!
  • Trays – a roasting and a baking tray will be sufficient for all the frozen pizzas you’ll be eating over the year
  • Tea towels & oven mitts – chances are if you have a communal kitchen you’ll end up sharing these with your housemates

Get cool stationary

When it comes to stationary, you can easily buy everything when you know what your course requires, as well as some funky bits to jazz up your room.

  • Pens, pencils, and highlighters
  • Sticky notes/ flash cards – you’ll be surprised how often you will use these
  • A4 notebook – instead of bringing lots of notebooks with you all at once, use one for the first week of lectures, that way you’ll know what each module consists of and if it’s necessary to have separate notebooks for each one
  • A4 folders – bringing two folders to begin with will allow for you to use one for lecture notes and the other one for important documents

Electrical stuff

Here are a few tips for any electrical items you may be planning to bring. When moving into halls, you will need to take out content insurance for the year, particularly if you’re bringing electrical items. If you are going into private accommodation and are thinking of ensuring your laptop or mobile phone, Endsleigh offer insurance packages specifically for students, which are also approved by the NUS (National Union for Students).

  • Laptop – you’ll definitely want to insure this if you’re bringing one. If you don’t have a personal laptop, computers rooms are available in the library and you can also hire them out with your Chester University student card that you’ll receive when you enrol
  • TV – if you have accommodation that includes a TV license in the rent,  a TV will be provided in the communal room. However, you will usually have to bring your own if you want one in your bedroom. If a TV license isn’t included in your rent, it may mean that you’ll need to bring your own TV if you want one, but most importantly, remember to pay the TV license fee if you’re watching live TV!
  • Iron – in most student accommodation, small electrical appliances such as irons and kettles are unlikely to be included. You may want to check with your landlord or the university before bringing these in case they are already provided
  • USB-  this can come in exceptionally handy, especially when it comes to printing, emailing/ transferring assignments and presentations
  • Extension leads – something many people may forget, most houses don’t supply extension leads, so it’s better to bring one, especially if you are likely to have many appliances plugged in at once

Important documents

If the university hasn’t explicitly said anything about bringing documentation, it’s still best to bring certain paperwork as it may be useful in months to come.

  • Passport – for when you need ID, this will be useful if you don’t have a driving licence (full or provisional). It will also be useful when signing up for private accommodation as driving licenses aren’t always accepted as ID
  • Medical card – if you have any medical forms relating to your health, or private health insurance, this will be useful to keep on you. This will be particularly useful if you require extra time in exams or need an extension for assignments, as having this documentation will act as proof and make it much easier for the uni to authorise anything you might need
  • Bank statements – if you’ve got a student bank account, it’s a good idea to keep recent bank letters and statements, as well as access codes for online banking etc. They will also come in handy if you apply for a job as bank statements can be used as proof of address
  • Student finance – although it’s not a necessity to bring student finance confirmation with you, it will give you the accurate dates your student loan will come in and how much you should expect to receive
  • CV – if you are wanting part time work, bringing an updated copy of your CV at the start of the academic year will be beneficial ready for temporary Christmas work if you’re planning to stay during the winter, but also means you will be prepared if jobs are advertised during Freshers’ Week
  • Exam certificates – again, this isn’t a requirement but may be useful just in case you go for a job interview and need proof of your exam results

If you are coming to the University of Chester, check out our “Going to be a fresher in September?” blog. This guide will give you hints and tips ready for the big move.

Also, if you are looking for accommodation that’s a bit different to halls for your first year, check out some of the homes that we have available. Some of these will be specifically for Freshers, so it’s definitely worth getting in touch and having a chat with us if you’d like more info.



























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