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Our Favourite Tips for Going to University

Tinies Education Special: When your child flies the nest to go to university, it can be scary for both of you! However, there are ways you can prepare for this new stage in your lives to make it easier

 

With the excitement of leaving home for the first time, sometimes the effect on parents is overlooked. Moving away is hard for both sides and, in order to make the transition easier, you both need to prepare.

The Student Guide has been giving out help and advice to students for years, so we asked them for key tips on what to do when your child's about to make the leap towards university!

Here are a few things they think parents of new students should consider...

When your child is off to Uni

Be positive!

Keep smilingThey may not show it, but every new student worries about flying the nest for the first time. Not only are they on their own for the first time in a new city, but these next three or four years could decide their future career - serious pressure.

No matter the fears or concerns you have, put them aside and embrace the experience for your student-to-be - it'll make the transition easier for them knowing that you're fully behind it. Shop together for uni items and discuss concerns you both have along the way. It's reassuring for students to hear they aren't the only ones that are a little tentative.

Create a list of essentials in advance

One of the biggest stresses about university is having everything you need before you leave. Creating a checklist as soon as possible will ensure the only thing that you're worrying about on moving day is the emotional goodbye.

As stupid as it may sound, grouping items by room will make buying them and remembering to put them in the car a whole lot easier. Stick it to the fridge and tick them off as you go; this way both you and your student know what position you are in. Basic kitchen utensils have a tendency to go missing, so be sure to pack a fair few!

Pack a survival kit

One of the biggest changes for teens leaving home is not having the safety net of a parent to do their washing or buy food. While it is their responsibility now, everyone slips up at some point, whether it's financial planning or just the fact that shops have closed.

Pack wisely!When packing, as well as clothing and kitchen items, grab a selection of food that can be stored for a while (noodles, tins, frozen goods) in case of emergencies. The same applies for basic medicines and toiletries - they could really make a difference!

A student has even started up a business that provides this service for you; for £20, you can send your fresher a care package.

Try to set a budget before they leave

The student loan is an amazing tool for students, if used wisely! Having a large sum of money put into your bank account (especially if you're only used to a part-time wage) could tempt some into splurging on what they consider key items like televisions, or blow it all on nights out - leading to sticky financial situations later.

Before your prospective student leaves, sit down with them and create a budget that factors in rent, phone bills and at least one trip home (in case homesickness sets in). Split the remainder for food, nights out and savings - a little bit of money each week will enable them to visit friends or holiday. While tedious, it's a new situation for your teen so pass on any tips you may have!

Make your student aware of advice facilities at their university

Universities offer help and support in a variety of different areas. From mental and physical health to finance, accommodation and careers - there's an advisor for everything. While the services are advertised, it's important to make your child aware of them.

Point your child towards advice facilitiesA huge part of a teen leaving home is giving them the freedom to try to sort their issues out on their own, or perhaps they feel a little embarrassed of a situation and would like to speak to a neutral party? Regardless of the reasons behind it, students may not want to turn to their parents to solve an issue, so making them aware of outside support is key.

Have "the talk"

It's going to be uncomfortable for both parent and prospective student alike, but university is a place where students interact and form important relationships - some of them with not-so-nice people. Pregnancy or STI's are many parents' biggest fear when sending their teen away, so you both need to be clued up on the facts and the best contraceptives for your child.

Run over laundry basics

Clothing is hugely important for your new student. It's used to define who they are, share interests and most importantly, make them feel good - meaning knowing the ins and outs of laundry is a skill they need.

From the basics of separating lights and darks, turning out denims to reduce colour running and using liquid instead of powder detergent to stop staining, these are all key points students miss out on when their clean washing just turns up at home. Teaching them the best way to dry clothes in the space that they have will also save them money by not having to repeat-wash them.

Get cooking!

Until your teen leaves for university, get them in the kitchen with you when you cook family meals if they aren't there already. Teaching them simple and healthy recipes in the comfort of their own home will set them up perfectly for looking after themselves.

Teach new recipes

It's also important to highlight the dangers that improper food preparation can cause. Keep your teen away from food poisoning by telling them the dangers of cross contamination (raw meat and cooked meat) as well as ways to identify when a food product is past its best.

Keep in touch 

University life is pretty hectic; especially in the first year. Working, social lives and sports clubs seem to take up every spare second when you first hit the university scene, so don't be offended if your new student isn't glued to their phone! That doesn't mean they don't want to speak to you, though.

Either arrange a date and time to call before they leave, or give them a ring once they've had time to settled in and catch up. Nobody wants to admit it but a phone call from your mum or dad can do wonders. It's also a great way to stop homesickness from hindering their studies and social lives!

Let your child know you're there for them

They may be adults now, but being out in the big wide world for the first time is a terrifying prospect at any age.

Recent studies have shown that having the support of a parent when needed makes better grades, so whether it's a phone call, text or surprise trip for dinner make yourself available for your student in their time of need.

While there is a range of support offered on-site at universities, nothing beats spending time with your family.

More information

Regular phone calls can do wonders

Visit The Student Guide, a 500 page guide to university and life beyond. Written by graduates for students, they know all the tips and tricks for making a student's first year epic.

 
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