Attending university should be an exciting and rewarding period in your life. Making the most of these years – not only academically but also socially – can cultivate an entire lifetime of rewarding experiences. While this should be a time for open-ended learning and exploration, there are also some real factors limiting behaviour while at uni.

Arguably the biggest are simple financial concerns. Between covering all tuition costs, accommodations and basic bills, it’s vital to be prepared before you even begin classes. With this in mind, what financial elements should students be considering before attending uni?

Let’s look at four specific ones that should be settled – or at least planned for – from day one.

Settling on a Degree Subject beforehand

Deciding what degree subject you plan to pursue is a major element in securing a financially viable future. While annual undergraduate courses have tuition costs capped at £9,250 per year, these costs can still quickly add up – and those costs become even greater if you suddenly decide to change degree subjects halfway through uni. It’s also important to remember that the longer you attend uni, the longer it will be before you are hired and earning your true income potential; this in relative terms costs you money.

As such, deciding on a degree subject as soon as possible and adhering to it is in your best financial interests. Be sure to learn about all undergraduate courses through University Compare before enrolling to maximise your success and financial potential. They offer students the option to find universities based on location, ratings and courses provided.

Physical vs Virtual Uni?

Students can choose whether they wish to have a traditional university experience or enrol via online courses. While virtual classes can sometimes be more expensive, there are cost offsets to consider. For instance, costs associated with physical textbooks, transportation and on-site accommodations may be minimised or even eliminated.

Enrolling in online uni courses has other notable benefits (click here to learn more), but considering the financial concerns first and foremost is recommended.

An established budget is needed

To make the most of uni life, it’s necessary to have plans. The same is true for your finances. Before you even start classes, making a concrete budget of all living expenses, uni costs and extra finances needed to survive each year is highly recommended.

Not everybody knows how to budget for uni, but the process is fairly straightforward. Once you’ve accounted for direct uni costs, it becomes easier to factor in variables such as food, petrol and utilities.

Whether to get a credit card

Fiscal responsibility is a difficult concept for many young adults to master, but is also a necessary one. Sometimes, the costs associated with uni in conjunction with your budget may not overlap efficiently: as such, considering whether a small credit card is right for you is a major financial consideration.

While potential for misuse exists, students who secure a line of credit that’s reasonable (less than £500) can help them navigate difficult and unexpected financial woes throughout each semester.

Before any concrete plans for university are made, considering the financial ramifications is essential. From securing a credit card to deciding on a definite set of undergraduate courses, students should make arrangements and confirm their decisions in these areas before beginning their educational experiences.