Illustration of a selection of books on the floor on an orange background
Reading lists

Books to read before you go to university

Forget the textbooks, these are the books to help you through your student years.

Liv Facey

Once again, it’s that time of year when another batch of young, intelligent minds embark on a new journey called university.

A time of immense change, university forces you to take on adult responsibilities that you’d probably otherwise choose not to have, live with a random group of people and find your new social circle – all while needing to complete a degree. But how do you prepare for all this while also trying to find yourself? 

We have compiled a list of books that will help you adapt to this next stage of life. From guides on how to win friends and ways to stay calm in stressful situations, to legendary campus-set novels to distract you from those hefty textbooks you’ll soon be reading.

One Day by David Nicholls (2009)

Currently being adapted into a series for Netflix, One Day is the bestselling novel from David Nicholls that follows Emma and Dexter over the two decades that after first encounter on the night of their graduation. A heart-wrenching will-they won't-they love story, One Day also revels in the highs and lows of adulting, and the importance of remembering that life is a non-stop journey.

Illustration at top: Flynn Shore / Penguin

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more