how much do they need to spend on books, etc, before starting uni in Sept?

(28 Posts)
ssd Tue 05-Jul-16 22:03:17

ds will be living at home and fees are free here

but as none of us went to uni we haven't a clue how much he'll need to spend on books etc

also as its a humanities degree, will he need a laptop?

any advice would be great, thanks

OP’s posts: |
ssd Tue 05-Jul-16 22:28:47


OP’s posts: |
DorynownotFloundering Tue 05-Jul-16 22:44:09

Don't buy any books before he goes, sometimes the faculty covering his subject will have copies he can borrow & often second hand copies can be bought from last years graduates. Once they start the tutors will have a hit list of books that are essential /good to have if possible/ good to read but don't buy .
A laptop I would think pretty essential for all the course work & notes but if he's living at home & can use the home PC he could make do as they will have loads in the campus libraries.

NatalieRushman Tue 05-Jul-16 22:48:14

A laptop is a necessity. As for books, it depends on the uni. Some may send you book lists, but even then, it's better to wait til term starts. Their tutors will let them know which books to buy, and there are always second hand book sales during freshers.

ssd Wed 06-Jul-16 09:22:11


we have one laptop at home we all fight over!! I cant afford to get him another one.

OP’s posts: |
Ohtobeskiing Wed 06-Jul-16 13:17:10

Can you have a look and see if there are any local educational charities/trusts that might be able to help fund a laptop? Perhaps his school/sixth form/university might have access to bursaries. A local branch of Rotary might also be worth a try. A laptop (and probably a printer to go with it) really is fairly essential.

esornep Wed 06-Jul-16 13:28:31

* I cant afford to get him another one.*

A basic laptop is a couple of hundred pounds. Could he finance this through a summer job? Or could you get an interest free credit deal on one, and finance it this way? If the family income is very low, he should be able to access bursaries from the university.


MrsJoeyMaynard Wed 06-Jul-16 13:30:08

Access to a computer and printer is likely to be pretty essential for most courses. There may be computers in campus libraries etc he can also use if you can't afford a laptop for him.

Re. books - when I went to uni, there were suggested book lists issued for my course, and tutors would typically advise which were the most useful. The university I went to had a 2nd hand bookshop where you could buy books on course book lists from previous students, so I'd find out whether there's any opportunity to buy 2nd hand books before buying new ones.
Also worthwhile checking out if there's a university library, as they may well stock books recommended for courses at the university.

Diddlydokey Wed 06-Jul-16 13:32:58

I found it much cheaper to photocopy the sections from the books that I needed rather than buying the whole book on most occasions. You get good at photocopying 2 pages on one page and then double sided, so 4 per sheet.

I also lived with a course buddy and we'd share books so I'd buy one and she bought the other and we shared.

Decorhate Wed 06-Jul-16 19:12:36

A lot of books are available electronically or there are copies in the library. My Dd didn't buy any in first year but it will vary according to the course.

I would also agree that a laptop is likely to be essential. Many lectures publish their lecture notes on line etc.
He should be able to buy one from his student loan - if he is living at home his essential outgoings should be minimal. If he opens up a student bank account they usually come with a free overdraft if he doesn't want to wait till the first loan instalment comes through. But that is usually within a few days of term starting anyway.

onadifferentplanet Fri 08-Jul-16 10:00:23

Ds bought his laptop from his student loan, there are usually some good deals around at the beginning of term. Does he have a Summer job? If so can he use some of what he earns from that to get one. If he is living at home he won't have the expenses of buying bedding, crockery etc that others have before they start.
Ds got a student bank account as soon as he had his offer letter in August, this gave him a small overdraft until his loan came in, Off the top of my head you needed to put in £500 to trigger the full overdraft.

TheRoadToRuin Fri 08-Jul-16 16:43:30

DS has never bought a book but he is not doing humanities. DS doing history has also managed without ever buying a book but she does work a lot in the library. A laptop is really hard to do without though.

charliethebear Fri 08-Jul-16 16:49:15

I would buy any till hes there and knows which ones are in the library/electronically available and which ones he will use. Its very easy to buy a lot of useless books.
He will definitely need a laptop though, irs pretty much an essential for uni these days, hes either going to have to get a job or use his loan when it comes in, a cheap one isn't more than £200 or he could try to get a second hand one?

Smerlin Fri 08-Jul-16 16:50:14

A laptop is absolutely essential. You can get refurbished ones for around £160 even without being a student. All his essays will need to be word processed.

charliethebear Fri 08-Jul-16 16:50:23

I wouldn't buy any sorry

Schoolchauffeur Sun 31-Jul-16 09:42:18

Dad bought one or two in her first year based on the "recommended reading list" for the course, but one of them she hardly used- it was never set as a reading text for any work and for the essays she had to write contained none of the info she needed so in year two she bought nothing.

Shes found all the books listed in the uni library and many of the readings she has to do are available online and the uni gives you access to something ( forget what it's called). One of her subjects provides a course reader each term which is effectively a big spiral bound collection of copies of articles, past papers, course plan, tutorial work, deadlines etc all for £10 to cover copy costs.

His own laptop is essential as everything has to be typed up and submitted electronically via "turnitin" and sometimes also printed off. There are usually uni printers which can be used, but it's a question of timing etc. You can get a perfectly good enough printer on Amazon for not much these days. DDs uni lecturers put up all their slides etc online and all lectures are audio recorded so you can rewatch for revision or to assist note taking or if you have to miss one. There's a lot of email correspondence ( to your uni email address) and course admin all done on line.

So my advice would be no books but get him to spend his money on laptop and printer!

Bee182814 Sun 31-Jul-16 09:47:57

You need to get him his own laptop. He will need it multiple times daily, at coursework times he might need to be on it all day everyday and if you're already fighting over it, it will get much much worse. He should get the official reading list a couple of weeks before term starts. It could be hundreds that you need to spend on books as mine was. It's really not worth looking for cheaper versions of the books IME as different editions have different page numbers, footnotes etc and if you don't have the specified edition it can make it really hard to follow in class.

Bee182814 Sun 31-Jul-16 09:50:00

When I say cheaper versions, I mean second hand is absolutely fine as long as the correct edition iyswim.

FruitCider Sun 31-Jul-16 09:51:18

I've just finished a degree with a first and didn't spend a penny on text books. Most a digitalised in the uni library.

FruitCider Sun 31-Jul-16 10:10:02

Oh and I would definitely buy the most expensive laptop you both can afford. I had to submit all 26 assignments (one of which was a portfolio and contained 16 pieces of work) including my dissertation through pebblepad/blackboard.

Mindgone Mon 01-Aug-16 00:09:53

I have two DSs at uni, and neither have a printer.

LittleDragon Mon 01-Aug-16 00:33:15

Having just finished first year at uni; don't bother with textbooks, go into uni library and borrow them from there, my uni allowed us 3 weeks at a time with as many renewals as we wanted as long as no-one else wanted it.
Laptop and printer are essential, I'm on an art degree and even I need one. However, I believe all students can download the latest version of Microsoft office for free so you don't need to worry about that and the uni should be able to supply any course specific software.
Another word of advice is to start shopping around for student bank account asap as student loans don't always process properly into a normal account (a friend had this problem).

Sofabitch Mon 01-Aug-16 08:39:55

I'm just going into my third year.. so far I've bought all the recommended reading list... and never opened them. Everything is online. Best thing to buy is a decent laptop and printer. The uni here charges to print about 10p a page. That quickly adds up.

OvariesForgotHerPassword Mon 01-Aug-16 08:44:29

I got a first and didn't spend a penny on textbooks. Uni libraries will usually carry most of what you need and the rest is usually available online.

His own laptop is an absolute must. You can't be fighting over it when he's got essays to write. Get a cheap refurbished one, even a notebook will do (my Asus notebook was £150 from tesco and is brilliant). He can print stuff at uni but he really does need a laptop.

mouldycheesefan Mon 01-Aug-16 08:44:39

Surely your son can get a job and pay for the laptop himself? How did he get through sixth form without one? Seems late in the day to realise he will ned a laptop and printer.

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