Get the best start for your study

Get tips on how to best prepare for your study.

Once you’ve applied for a course, here’s what to do next, so you can make the most of study when your course starts.

Find somewhere to live

If you’re leaving home to study, start looking for accommodation early as places can fill up fast.

Options include student hostels, flats, and private board, also known as homestays. Your course provider may be able to help you find accommodation.

Manage your money

Make a plan for how you will manage your money while studying.

 You may need to: 

  • set up a bank account – sometimes there are special deals for students
  • apply for loans, allowances or scholarships
  • find out how to make and use a budget.

Consider taking a holiday job in the time before your study starts. This can:

  • help fund your study so you don’t have to work so much during term
  • build up work experience, which helps you get a job when you finish study
  • keep you motivated and in the habit of getting up each day.

Balance study, work and family/whānau life

If your family/whānau will be affected by your study commitments, make sure they’re happy to support you and understand what you’ll need. Discuss with them:

  • how many hours a week you need to study and where you can do it
  • when assignments and exams are due, and what extra help you might need then
  • who will do childcare, after-school care, and household chores.

Attend orientation to get the best start

Check out your education provider’s website and attend orientation events if possible to learn:

  • where everything is on campus
  • how to use the library to get the information you need for your study
  • how to access IT help and e-learning
  • about study skills, essay writing and how to manage your workload
  • where to get help if you’re struggling.


Remember each education provider has student support to help you with academic problems and personal issues like needing financial assistance.

Learner life – video


Shannon, Amy, Francis, TC and Shevaun talk about life as a learner – 1.55 mins.

Shannon: So my biggest worry when deciding to study was moving out of home and cooking for myself. I overcame this by living on two-minute noodles, but it's great brain food and it fills you up.

Amy: It’s not actually passing. I have always come from quite a low-income family, and I really didn’t want to waste my scholarship money and not end up achieving anything.

Francis: Sitting down and doing research is not really my, it’s not my jam. Every now and then when you get your marks back, that kinda, it gives you a bit of a boost.

Shevaun: Mainly worried about bookwork – whether I can get it done. Now that I’ve been through a year of the course and been on practicums, they’ve really helped me to realise that no matter what, I’m going to push myself through this because this is what I want to do.

TC: Just the workload as well was a worry. I didn’t know what to expect. All the classes that you go to are really specific to what you’re going to do in the future.

Francis: No matter how much you think you might struggle making new friends, there are just so many different characters and there are a lot of people out there who have really similar interests to you.

Amy: If you’re studying something you’re passionate about, you’re going to meet friends instantly.

Shevaun: Initially going into a course you’re always going to have worries. There's always going to be something in the back of your mind that you’re going to be scared of, or worried that it’s not going to work out. 

But, I feel like, as you go through the course that will always change.


Updated 5 Jun 2019