Advice for Parents: Preparing for University

For a lot of students, their parents play an important role when it comes to the university process. With so much to organise, from moving into halls, meeting new friends, finding their way around a new city and living independently, the transition to university can certainly be overwhelming. There are some really easy ways parents can help prepare for these big changes. Here are a few tips, that are sure to help you prepare students for this big life change.

Hand in accommodation forms ASAP

A great place to start is making sure all accommodation application forms are promptly handed in and completed on time. Living in a hall of residence, rather than a rented house during a student’s first year will make meeting new friends easier and the transition into university life much smoother.

Get familiar with the area

If students are moving to a new city, it might be a good idea to visit together for a weekend before the big move. Help to familiarise them with the campus layout, where the halls of residence are, the nearest public transport links and the location of the nearest supermarket. Something as simple as this will mean when they do move away, they’ll have some knowledge of the area, which can be reassuring when everything else feels new.

Open a student bank account

Having a student bank account open before leaving for university will mean they can organise their finances as soon as they arrive. Shop around for the bank that is offering the best student incentives and think about choosing one that has a branch near to their university campus.

Teach budgeting skills

How to budget is the most useful thing you can teach students before they head off to university. With a student loan due to land in their bank account, it can be easy for them to spend most of it within the first few weeks by going out on expensive shopping trips and eating out with new friends. However, talking to them about how to make money last may be the best advice of all. Get them to write a rough budget down on paper, allocating money for food, laundry, accommodation, socialising and a bit of spending money. Suggest getting a summer job before they move away, especially if they want a bit of extra spending money or just a head start financially.

How to cook cheap, healthy meals

Teaching students how to cook simple, healthy and most importantly cheap recipes before they head to university could save them a term of eating beans on toast. Turn it into a fun activity to do together, by planning out some meals on a budget to cook once a week during the summer holidays. Get them to shop for the ingredients as well as prepare and cook the meal from start to finish. With a little guidance we bet they’ll even be surprised at their cooking skills! It’s also a good idea to have a conversation about the best way to keep food fresh and ways to tell if something is out of date.

Register at a local GP

Getting students registered at their new local GP is something that can often be forgotten during the big move. Get the registration forms printed out ready to be filled out as soon as they find out their new address.

Discuss how to stay in touch

Before students leave for university it’s a good idea to agree how to keep in touch- this can be a call once a week, text, email or Skype, However, it’s important to give them space to explore this new, exciting stage of their life but explain how you do want to hear from them so you can be reassured they’re happy and safe.

Talk about safety

Finally, it’s important to have a serious chat about safety at university. This can include how to keep technology safe, managing alcohol, turning down drugs and coping with peer pressure to do things they may not want to. It’s also a good idea to ask them if they have any concerns or worries about the big move so you can discuss it together.