After a year of considerable disruption due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, students and school leavers in Scotland are preparing to start their first term at universities across the country.
Freshers is held annually as a large-scale event for first year students to blow off steam and get to know their new flatmates or classmates in a fun, lighthearted environment.
Clubbing, pub crawls and society fairs are a staple of freshers weeks across the UK, but such events will continue to be hampered by rising coronavirus case numbers and restrictions still in place in Scotland.
These require face masks to be worn by staff and students in indoor teaching environments like lectures and tutorials, as well as when not drinking, dancing or eating in indoor venues like nightclubs. As coronavirus cases continue to rise across Scotland, with 6,368 new cases reported on Sunday 5 September, fears over the safety and wellbeing of students moving into densely packed student accommodation remain.
Scottish international student cohorts are also being affected by UK travel rules, with many foreign students unable to travel to Scotland from red list destinations such as Turkey, Mexico, Thailand and more.
What is freshers week?
With a brand new start at university often being as daunting as it is exciting, higher education institutions across the UK hold a week of social, introductory events before the academic term officially starts.
This allows new students to settle in to their new homes, typically in student accommodation, make friends and get acquainted with their campus before lectures and classes begin.
While most Scottish universities confine most of their freshers events to a single week, universities with multiple campuses like the University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of the West of Scotland spread out events over multiple weeks.
As many students will be attending university through remote, distance learning courses, a number of Scottish universities are holding virtual freshers events to let those learning from home join in with festivities and ice-breakers.
Scottish freshers week 2021 start dates
Edinburgh Napier University – Sunday 5 September to Sunday 12 September
Glasgow Caledonian University – Monday 20 September to Sunday 26 September
Heriot-Watt University – Saturday 4 September to Friday 10 September
Robert Gordon University – Saturday 11 September to Sunday 19 September
University of Aberdeen – Monday 20 September to Sunday 26 September
University of Abertay Dundee – Monday 13 September to Sunday 19 September
University of St Andrews – Saturday 4 September – Sunday 12 September
University of Dundee – Saturday 18 September to Sunday 26 September
University of Edinburgh – Monday 13 September to Sunday 19 September
University of Glasgow – Friday 10 September to Saturday 18 September
University of the Highlands and Islands – Monday 6 September to end of September
University of Stirling – Saturday 11 September to Saturday 18 September
University of Strathclyde – Saturday 11 September to Saturday 18 September
University of West of Scotland – Monday 6 September to end of September
Queen Margaret University – Friday 10 September to Saturday 18 September