The first year at university

Go HertsOn this page, you will find a top-level overview of a student’s first year at the University of Hertfordshire.

If your son or daughter has secured a place to study at the University of Hertfordshire, congratulations! We look forward to welcoming them on campus in September.

We are dedicated to making life for all our students as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. Our student charter and graduate attributes set out the commitments we make and the Go Herts campaign encapsulates our community spirit.

Brief overview of the year

Autumn term

September

Students arrive, settle in and explore their new surroundings. They are excited about meeting new people, making friends and starting their course.

To help new students settle into life at Herts, the Students' Union organises a range of events at the start of term, including:

  • Freshers’ Week - A jam-packed week full of exciting day and night time events. There is always something happening on campus this week and there are plenty of opportunities for students to make friends and memories for life!
  • Freshers’ Fair - This is the biggest event of Freshers’ Week. Thousands of students descend on campus to talk to over 140 societies, join sports clubs, find part-time work and get free pens for the year!

Being in an unfamiliar environment can make some students feel insecure and apprehensive. Talk to your son or daughter to see how they are settling in. Encourage them to take part in the welcome events that are organised on campus. If they need further support, suggest they speak to the Student Wellbeing team at the University.

October

Students settle into their new routine of lectures, studying and socialising.

The Students’ Union holds Student Representatives Elections and by-elections. We elect over 650 students to become representatives on their course! Every course across the University will have a student rep. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to have a say in their learning experience.

Every year we host the Guide Dogs Association with our Advice and Support Centre to help raise money for their cause and to provide wellbeing to our students. We love puppies! Puppy Play Day is a paw-fect day and always cheers everyone up amid the assignment blues.

As students settle in to their day-to-day routine, thoughts may turn to friends and family at home. Some students get very homesick and may want to return home. However, a trip home may increase the homesickness and could make the feelings more severe when the student returns to university. Encourage your son or daughter to speak to their new friends and/or to University support staff, before they give in to temptation to return home.

November

Autumn sets in with shorter and colder days. This is the main time of year for colds and flu. Remind your son or daughter to register with the University’s Medical Centre so that they can access the medical services if required.

As the autumn term progresses and minor issues surface, the Office of the Dean of Students is on hand to support students in all areas relating to university life.

The Student Council takes place in November. This is the University’s largest student meeting of the year. Students feed back to the Students’ Union about changes they want to make and hold their elected officers to account.

The flare competition opens during the Autumn term. The student competition offers budding entrepreneurs support and training in areas such as writing a business proposal and offers prize money to help bring ideas to life.

December

The end of term is in sight as students work to complete a range of assignments and course work.

The Students' Union holds a Christmas Market and arrange competitions. The annual Christmas Market showcases student creations, local businesses and delicious Christmas food. We also run an annual #HertsWishes competition, making sure student wishes comes true!

The University is closed during the Christmas and New Year's period so most students return home to spend the break with friends and family.

For those who wish to stay on campus over the festive period, you'll find a range of activities taking place throughout, including a special meal on Christmas Day.

Spring term

January

Students return to university after the long break. Some find it hard to leave their family behind but most settle back in quickly and look forward to meeting up with friends on campus.

The Student's Union runs Refresh Week to help everyone settle back in. This is Freshers’ Week all over again, just colder! Refresh Week is a fantastic week full of events and another huge fair promoting societies, clubs and opportunities for students to get involved and do more than study for their degree.

Many students have exams during January and pressure can build up as expectations are high. If your son or daughter is anxious about the upcoming exams, encourage your child to look into the exam support provided by the University.

There is also a new intake of students on some courses in January.

February

Even though students are well in to the spring term by now, spring itself can feel a long way off. Events around Pancake Day, Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day bring can bring light relief from studying and course work.

Many students join a sports club to keep active. The Athletic Union at the University of Hertfordshire provides 30 clubs offering a variety of sports for all abilities.

March

Students study to complete course work and assignments before the end of term.

We hold Students’ Union Elections. Every year we elect 5 full-time officers to represent the 25,000 students at the University. Students can stand in the elections and take a year out of their studies, or take it on as a full-time job after graduation. The week is busy and all candidates will be out and about campaigning for votes.

In addition, our Students’ Union Awards is a big celebration at the end of the year when we congratulate and reward students for their achievements and dedication to student led activities and engagement with the Students’ Union. It’s always a fantastic night in the Forum.

Summer term

April

April signals the start of a new term. Spring is in the air. Days get lighter and evenings feel longer.

The Students' Union holds Student Led Teaching Awards. This event gives students a chance to celebrate the staff at Hertfordshire. There are fantastic academic and professional staff at this University and it is always an honour for them to receive nominations from their students.

May

The Summer Ball is the final big blowout event of the year. Our annual Summer Ball is always an explosive evening of entertainment and may be the last chance for students to see their friends before the summer break.

Some courses hold exams during May. The pressure to do well can be hard for some students. Remind your son or daughter that exam support is available, should they need it.

June

Many students sit their end of year exams in June before heading off for a well-earned break. They have now completed their first year at university.

If your son or daughter is anxious about the upcoming exams, encourage your child to look into the exam support provided by the University.

The University stays open during the summer. Some students, particularly on postgraduate and research courses, may be required to attend university during the summer months as well.

Our non-academic staff will also work through the summer months to prepare the University for the arrival of new first year students in September.

How to support your son or daughter

Every student will have a unique experience of university, based on their personal circumstances.

By having a general understanding of what takes place on campus during the year, you will be able to offer advice and support to your child, should they need it. If you have any queries, please Ask Herts for more information.

Next step

Celebrating graduation and starting early career