A Level Results Day: Off to University? Four tips to get the most from a new device

It’s fair to say that for many young people in their late teens, the month of August can be an emotional rollercoaster. All the hard work of the last few years spent in education culminates in that Thursday morning when A Level and other exam results are released. In many cases determines where the next few years of your lives are spent, what you will be doing and who you will meet.

Some will continue their education and training through university courses and apprenticeships, while others may choose to go straight into the workplace and begin their careers from an earlier age.

For those students moving on to University, there is a very high chance that a new laptop, tablet or 2-in-1 device will be on the list of essentials to pick up before packing the bags for Freshers’ Week. There are some fantastic Windows 10 devices available that are tailored specifically for student usage. One thing to be aware of is that Office 365 will likely be available for FREE from your chosen university once you start.

To activate your licence you will need to input your university email address here, and if eligible you can install the latest version of Office on multiple devices. So whether you’re taking a smaller tablet to lectures to take notes via inking, going over course documents on your phone during a bus journey, or getting into some meaty dissertation work or larger scale projects on your laptop at home or in halls, through Office 365 and OneDrive you can access all of your files wherever you are, whichever device you are using.

For many first year students, university will be their first taste of true independence and freedom – and this also applies to technology. Unlike at school or college where devices may have been provided and supported, managing your own devices at university will mean that you are responsible for keeping it secure, managing backing up all you important documents and files and getting the most out of the available apps.

STUDENTS: Save 10% on Windows Devices and more

Learn more about FREE Office for Students


Windows 10 is Microsoft’s most secure operating system to date, and includes all the necessary security features to protect your device and your data from malware, viruses and other threats. It’s also packed full of fantastic features designed to help students work as freely and effectively as possible.

But once you’ve got a new device, what should you do with it?

We spoke to some of our current Microsoft student interns who are spending a year in industry as part of their studies, to ask them for some of their top tech tips for first year students starting this autumn. Below we hear from Keira and Jess, on the things they think you should consider when starting the new term!


Download Office 365 for FREE!

One of the many perks of being a student is you will more than likely have access to Office 365 for free through your university!  So whether you want to make a snazzy PowerPoint, write a your first essay of the year in Word or take and organise notes for all your different modules in OneNote – it’s so simple! In my first year of university I didn’t just use Office 365 for work, but also for personal use. Creating a spreadsheet for my weekly budget using Excel is a great way to keep track of finances and make that student loan go further! It’s also available for Mac, so no matter what devices everyone in your study group are using, you can still all work together!
Activate your licence here.

Back up your work and collaborate with OneDrive

We all know someone who has lost a USB drive (or lent one to someone, never to see it again!), and with it lost that all important essay that had taken hours to produce! However, using OneDrive has been my saviour throughout university, and it should be yours too! Before I found out about OneDrive I countlessly failed to back up my files and lost important uni work more times than I care to remember! OneDrive is super easy to use, and once you have saved your work, you can access it from any device with internet. So not only do I no longer have to worry about losing work, I also know that I can work on things whenever I need to and wherever I am… This has saved me so many hours, allowing me to spend more time enjoying the social side of university life!
Learn more about OneDrive and collaborative working with Office.

Get organised without filling up your shelves

At university you have will lots of different modules which can means lots of different folders and paper documents! These aren’t particularly practical to carry around every day, and they often end up crumpled and ruined. But there’s an answer! OneNote, which is part of your free Office 365 subscription, is a brilliant way to take and organise notes, work with friends and finish your assignments faster. I’ve created shared notebooks that my course mates and I use to work on projects together, sharing notes from different lectures, and crucially saving on those printing and photocopying credits! But possibly the best bit about it is being able to search across all my notebooks… A lifesaver when trying to find something from a few lectures back! As it’s also all saved in OneDrive, I can access it from any of my devices, including my phone… So it’s great for non-work things as well such as shopping lists and organising sports and other activities with other people!
There are some great OneNote tips and demos for students here.

Rock your presentations using Sway and PowerPoint

A big part of the step up from college to university is having to present your work to others. This used to be a big worry of mine, but having discovered some of the great tools within Office for telling stories, this is a lot easier these days! There’s so much more to PowerPoint than just slides, and with the latest features (not just the transitions and animations!), it can really bring your work to life in new ways. Another application I hadn’t heard of is Sway. It’s a great way to tell stories, and really easy to use. It allows you to drag and drop content in, and even offers you redesign options in a single click!
Learn more about Sway.


Microsoft has a number of resources to empower students to achieve more during your time at university, including training, tutorials, templates, and more to make your assignments and projects successful.

Learn more

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