You’ve done it – you’ve decided to attend university. It’s an exciting journey where you will learn independence, develop skills, gain knowledge, meet new people, share experiences, and figure out who you are and what you want to do.

While every student will have a different experience, here are seven tips to help you make a success of your first year at Nelson Mandela University.


Please don’t skip orientation – it helps you to settle into university life faster and is the ultimate kick-start to a great university career. What does orientation entail?

  • A first-year programme designed around you and your needs
  • A First Year Success Buddy to guide and support you on campus
  • Meet-and-greet get-togethers with lecturers and classmates
  • Workshops and help with building a support network
  • University terminology explained

Orientation is key to helping you adjust to your new life and to make a success of your time at Nelson Mandela University.


Get a weekly planner and wall calendar to help you better manage your academic and social life. Include the following:

  • fixed commitments (classes, exams, tests, assignments)
  • learning, research and projects
  • social events (parties, etc.)
  • sports, hobbies, exercise

Being organised and having a routine will help you stay on top of your commitments and prevents burn-out! Need a little help? Read our tips on managing your time.


They don’t bite – we promise! Don’t be scared to approach your lecturers, it’s their job to help you. Listen in class and introduce yourself during office hours. A friendly and professional relationship with those who teach you makes everything easier and you’ll feel more comfortable asking and answering questions in class.


Attending lectures and doing your assignments is one thing – but going the extra mile is a true investment in your future.

  • Do more than the bare minimum – add extra reading, classes or revision
  • Treat being a student like a full-time job – the more you put in, the more you’ll get out
  • Attend all lectures and tutorials – even if you think it’s ‘too easy’ or you ‘know the work’
  • Keep up with the workload and don’t procrastinate – get assessments and revision done in time

Need a little academic help? Check out our campus study resources, such as Supplemental Instruction.  


While learning is your key focus, it shouldn’t be your only focus. Enrich your student experience by getting involved in activities outside of the classroom. Step out of your comfort zone, try different things and meet new people – from day one! From societies, sports and hobbies, to community engagement and leadership development, the opportunities are there, you just have to seize them.

While we encourage you to get involved, we ask that you do so responsibly, safely and within Covid-19 regulations. For the latest information, guidance and resources, visit our dedicated coronavirus website.


Everyone at some point in their university career will feel homesick, lonely, stressed or overworked. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone and that there is help if you need it. Our student counselling has many support services including those for mental, sexual, career and financial challenges. Get the guidance and advice you need to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.


It seems obvious, but sometimes we forget that life is for living – get out there and have a good time! Meet people from around the world, make lifelong friends, discover new passions, explore your talents and make great memories. It’s up to you to fully immerse yourself in your new life and make these years the best they can be.

As a dynamic African institution located at the foot of the continent, we extend our warmest welcome to students from South Africa and around the world. For a life-changing experience, join the Nelson Mandela University family and start writing your own study adventure story.

Posted on 15 December 2021 16:56:11

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