Universities and colleges put on a week of activities at the start of term for new students, known as Welcome Week or Freshers’ Week.
These are to help you get to know the uni or college better, meet people, and get your bearings. Let’s explore what you can expect from Freshers’ Week and how to make the most of it.


There might be tours, themed meet-ups, kayaking – you name it: depending on your uni or college’s location, there will be a heap of activities on offer during your first week or so to help make the transition fun and get you better acquainted with your new home.

There will often also be a type of welcome fair, with Students’ Union (SU) reps, support services, societies and the like present, for you to find out what’s on offer (and there’s usually free pizza, tote bags, and PENS: you need these, so take as many as you feel is appropriate).

A way to meet people

Welcome Week is the ideal opportunity to meet people. Lots of people. It can be overwhelming, but push yourself out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations, to see who feels like they could be friendship material. But remember, there’s no pressure to meet your best friend in week one.

Tasters for societies

During the Welcome Week fair you’ll be able to meet people from the different societies on offer, and often there will be taster sessions and free events to help you decide which is right for you. We’d recommend picking no more than three to try, and commit to at least one, as societies are a great way to meet people and do something fun outside your studies.

Nights out – or nights in

The classic perception of Freshers’ Week is that it’s a week of nights out followed by weeks of the worst cold of your life (also known as Freshers’ Flu). If that’s your bag, go for it – there’ll be different events on every night so you’ll be spoiled for choice. However, if the thought of a nightclub breaks you out in a cold sweat, there are loads of alternatives: board game nights, film screenings, escape rooms, you name it – there’s no pressure to go out and get drunk.

Top tip
If you love a night out, make sure you have a hangover rescue kit in your room: Lucozade, paracetamol, and bananas. And crack your window open for some fresh air. You’ll also need some cold and flu tablets for the inevitable Freshers’ Flu.


We’ve already mentioned the free pizza and pens (the essentials) but Welcome Week is usually full to the brim with freebies. From free chocolate to condoms, and STI checks in return for cinema tickets, take advantage of whatever you can get your hands on!

Take some time for yourself

The first week at uni or college can be pretty intense; amazing, yes, but also a big change and it can take some getting used to. Give yourself the space and time to decompress and rest, and make sure you get to know what support services are available in case you do need some help.