What is student life like?

Being a student is a great life experience and there are so many different, exciting aspects of student life. Whilst you’re on the Gateways programme, we’ll explore all about student life in lots more detail but for now let’s just cover some of the basics.


    HE campuses can be pretty impressive places – they are the heart of the institution after all. Take a look at The University of Manchester’s flyover video of the campus. You can see the campus is a mix of traditional, old buildings mixed with new, innovative spaces. You’ve got study spaces, the library, research buildings, and places to grab something to eat.

    The University of Manchester is a campus university, meaning all the buildings are together in one place. However other HE campuses may have a slightly different format because they’re based in a city, which means the buildings are spread across different areas. Although campuses can seem like a scary place at first and you may think that you’ll never find your way around, lots of students feel comfortable after the first week and love spending time on campus.

    The Students’ Union

    Being a student isn’t just about studying! Taking part in extra-curricular activities is also really encouraged at University. At University we have student societies – these are similar to what you would call afterschool clubs. The Students’ Union (SU) is the home of these societies!

    Societies are a great way to make new friends, gain new skills, and to take some time out from studying – plus, it looks really good to employers when you’re applying for jobs! You may recognise some societies because they’re the same as your extra-curricular activities at school (for example football, hockey, drama, or choir) but there are some more unusual societies that you can take part in too.

    Check out all of the societies at the University of Manchester and try and find the most unusual one!

    The Students’ Union isn’t just the home of societies. At the SU, you can get involved in loads of different things whether that’s volunteering opportunities, campaigning for something you believe in or meeting friends for some food. Students’ Unions will also offer free, impartial advice services for things like financial queries, accommodation issues or personal worries. A Students’ Union is run by students for students!

    Check out this video of everything The University of Manchester’s SU offers:


    Going into higher education is a really exciting time and is also a great way to grow your independence. One way students do this is by moving into halls of residence. Often these halls will be blocks of accommodation dotted around campus or in the surrounding neighbourhoods. There are a few questions for you to think about when deciding which halls of residence you want to stay in:

    • Do I want to share a flat with a lot of other people or just a few?
    • Do I want to cook all my meals myself or would I like to go to a canteen?
    • Do I want to share a bathroom with others or do I want an en-suite?
    • How close to the campus do I want to be?

    Watch this video to find out more about student life in halls:


    Don’t worry if you feel like you wouldn’t want to move away from home to go to HE, there are lots of students who choose to live at home whilst they study. One student has written about their experience of living at home whilst studying at university – check it out here!

    Support Services

    Although going into HE is exciting, it can also be really scary. Feeling this way is completely normal, and there’s no need to worry because there are plenty of people and services to support you with just about anything! Here’s just a few of the support services in place at Manchester

    All of the above services make sure that students are managing their own wellbeing whilst studying in HE. It’s important that you look after your own wellbeing too!

    Check out Student Wellbeing Assistant, Nancy, and her top tips on managing your wellbeing in this video:

    Now you’ve got more info about what student life is like for students in universities and higher education, let’s find out more about some celebrities and very important people (VIPs) who studied in HE. Continue your exploration of higher education by clicking the box below to check out some VIPs with degrees.

    VIPs with degrees

    Check out some VIPs who have gone into higher education!

    Read more

    Why Study?

    Why not check out our Why Study? page to find out what our students really think about their courses and about student life.

    Visit the University of Manchester's Why Study? page!