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Advice on how to help your child settle in to university life

If you know a young person who is off to uni soon, you may be wondering how best to help them prepare for their next step. You may be looking for advice on how to navigate this change as a parent and supporter too. 

Adjusting to university life will be different for each person, but for everyone it will be a big transition. Living independently for the first time, creating a new social life and getting used to a course will be a change for your child. Offering your support during this time will be important, as it will make the transition as positive as possible for your child.

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Advice on how to help your child prepare for university

Before leaving home 

Reassure your child their feelings are normal and valid

Before your child leaves home, they’ll feel various emotions. Understandably, your child may feel anxious and excited at the same time. Encourage them to talk through their feelings and listen to any of their concerns or worries. 

Practise domestic skills 

It’s important your child knows how to do certain tasks before leaving home. Show them how to prepare simple, healthy meals. Remind them how to do their laundry, and keep their space clean. 

Give them a helping hand with packing

Your child may find packing daunting. First, help them find out what’s provided in their student accommodation. Then, make a list of what they need. They’ll need basic things like:

  • Bedding 
  • Bathroom toiletries and towels 
  • Basic kitchen supplies (e.g. some plates, mugs and cutlery) 

Get your child to bring home comforts as well, to help brighten up their room and make it feel homely. 

Discover our packing list

The first few weeks

Staying in touch 

Consider how often you’ll keep in touch with your child and the best way to keep in contact. It’s best to agree beforehand how frequently you’ll FaceTime, call or text. Understand that how much contact you have may vary throughout the year. 

Find a GP 

Help your child find a local GP to register with and how to access health services. 

Join clubs and societies 

Your child may be worried about how to meet new people. Discuss what hobbies they enjoy and encourage them to find clubs they can join.

Explore our societies

Know the key contacts

Your child may come across some challenges, such as homesickness or struggling to live with others. These are normal, but if your child wants to speak to someone get them to contact our health and wellbeing support. If you’re concerned about your child, reach out to our University contacts.

Feeling worried?

Find out how to support your child at university

Adjusting to University Life - Freshers and beyond

The time before they leave home and the first few weeks that follow, maybe the hardest. But, there will be ebbs and flows throughout their whole time at University where they need support and advice. 

Be a trusted mentor

There will be times when your child needs a listening ear and advice from someone they trust. Be open to having conversations about uncomfortable topics and guide them to resources and services that can be helpful. 

Figure out finance 

Discuss budgets and how to manage finances throughout the coming year. They’ll need to apply for student loans before they start university. 

Support yourself

Both you and your child will need time and space to navigate the transition. It’s important to be kind to yourself as you adjust to them being away. If you’re struggling with feelings of loss then seek support from people you trust. 

Staying at home 

More young people are choosing to live at home while they study. If your child has decided to go to a local university they’ll still need your support through this change. Here are our tips on how to prepare for university life while living at home: 

Encourage them to be independent

Help your child grow independently, by getting them to be responsible for keeping their room clean and tidy, doing their laundry and cooking, just as they would in student accommodation. 

Foster their social life 

Encourage your child to attend social events and meet new people. They could start regular meet-ups with other students who live at home or people on their course. 

Discuss boundaries 

While it’s important your child has a great student experience, you’ll need to discuss being considerate of each other’s schedules and being respectful of boundaries. 

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