Advice and tips prior to starting your sociology degree

by Emma Swindlehurst

It is okay to be nervous about starting University. You may be studying a new subject or moving to a place you have never been to before, but near enough everyone will be in the same boat. The thought of a degree sounds daunting, but if you work hard and stay organised, you will be absolutely fine.

Sociology is a subject that consists of many different topics and theories. Many students choose to do sociology as they have studied it at A-Level and this experience gives them some background knowledge. However, if you have not studied Sociology before, do not stress because you learn everything you need to know within the degree, and you will not be at a disadvantage. Also, seeing as Sociology is such a broad subject area, you will most likely be able to relate to many of the issues discussed throughout your degree, which will be useful when writing your essays.

1. Keep updated on current affairs

Before starting your degree, I would advise you to watch the news and keep up to date on current affairs. Lecturers always draw on modern examples, so it is useful to already know about these examples in order to take part in discussions. Also, modern examples are always great to include in essays.

2. Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of initiative. The lecturers are there to help you and they want to help you, so if you don’t understand something, just ask them and they will be more than willing to give you all the information you need. Throughout my degree, I was constantly emailing my lecturers, even about the smallest of things, because I wanted to make sure I understood everything as best as I could.

3. Be prepared to socialise in communal areas

As you are starting university, you will most likely be living on campus. I really enjoyed living on campus, as it is really easy to attend your lectures and seminars, and there are loads of fun things to do, such as go to bars, cafes, the gym, play tennis. However, it is a very big change having to live in a flat with people you have never met before. My advice to prepare for this would be to bring card games or board games with you as this is an easy way to get to know each other and make friends.

Another related tip I would give is to come prepared with all the essentials. You often don’t realise all the different things you will need as you will probably have never bought them for yourself - for example, oven gloves, washing up liquid and bin bags. But coming with these things makes it so much easier to keep your communal areas clean and organised.

4. Arrive with an open mind

My biggest piece of advice would be to start Uni with an open mind and be willing to go out of your comfort zone. You will be undergoing and learning many new things, and meeting lots of new people, and if you go into it with an open mind, I’m sure you will have a great time.


Emma is a third year undergraduate at Lancaster University and is studying Sociology.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.