Student survival guide

Starting university? Hitting the uni campus is an exciting time but this major rite of passage can also be overwhelming and slightly daunting to new students. If you’re a new student, or you know someone who is preparing to start uni, here’s a few tips to help survive the first weeks of campus life.

Surviving Orientation Week

This is your first taste of university life and a great chance to meet new people, check out campus facilities, get involved in activities and generally have a lot of fun. To get the most out of your week:
  • Do a bit of research beforehand. Plan where you need to be and where you want to go in your first week.
  • Enrol as early as you can. This will give you lots of time to organise your timetable, buy your text books and supplies, and get to know your new surroundings.
  • Get your Student ID card. Your ID card is like your passport for university life and gives you access to events, discounts, doubles as your library card, and on some campuses, it’s also a payment system for printing and on-campus facilities. Don’t forget to smile for the photo!
  • Get amongst it. Universities offer a huge range of activities and social programs, you should contact your Student Centre or your university website to find out more.
  • Check out the info stalls on campus during O-Week. Commonwealth Bank hosts a stall on most university campuses with lots of tips on student banking , and if you like free stuff join the Commonwealth Bank’s Heaps Free Hunt, and you could win a $12, 000 student allowance.

 Finding a place to live

Lots of students choose to live on or near campus as it helps you get more involved in uni life and also cuts your travelling time to classes.
  • Talk to your university for details about campus accomodation
  • Sharing a house with friends or other students is also a good option.  Check out sites like, or that have loads of listings to suit your living arrangements.
  • Whichever option you choose make sure it’s close to your campus so you can save money and keep fit by walking or riding a bike to class, plus the closer you are, the later you can also sleep-in.

Getting a job

Working part-time is a great way to help fund your new uni lifestyle and support yourself while you study.
  1. Jobs on or near campus in cafes, bars or shops are excellent for managing time around your classes.
  2.  Keep a look out  for job ads in store windows and also use local newspapers and job websites.
  3. Ask around. It never hurts to approach businesses; you should prepare your resume and wear something neat and tidy.
  4.  Once you are working your pay could be around $12 - $16 an hour, so you’ll need to create a realistic budget and stick to it. Check out our simple and easy Budget Planner.

Managing your money

Starting uni is likely to deliver a whole range of extra costs that you might not have bargained for.

-          Most students budget for textbooks and stationery but don’t forget you’ll need money for transport, groceries, internet, rent and socialising.

-          The government offers deferred loans to help you with course fees, such as HECS and Fee-Help. You should talk to your university about these at enrolement.

-          Keeping track of all your costs can get overwhelming, you can speak to your bank about Student Loans and Student Credit Cards.  Or visit our website for more information on Commonwealth Bank’s Student options.

Adjusting to your new life

Uni life is a big change and adjusting to your new independent lifestyle can take time. Lots of students who move away from home get homesick in the first weeks of their new life. Don’t worry this will pass as you get amongst your new uni life. Your family and friends are a great source of support and advice, you can also use Uni counsellors if you need to talk to someone on-site.  Remember that your uni mates are going through the same thing.

If you need help with your finances or want to take advantage of a Commonwealth Bank Student Options package drop into your local Commonwealth Bank branch.