How to Prepare For Your Child’s First Year at University Over Summer

Sending your son or daughter to university is a big milestone – it’s when they finally become independent and start to find their own way in the world. For lots of students, their parents play an important role when it comes to the university process. With lots to organise, from moving into halls, meeting new friends and living independently, the transition to university can certainly feel overwhelming. Here are some simple ways parents can help prepare for these big changes.

Before Results Day

Get Vaccinated

University students who haven’t had their vaccinations are at a much higher risk of catching meningitis and mumps due to being in close contact with lots of other students. Make sure your teen gets their vaccinations updated before results day during the quiet period. This way it won’t get forgotten amongst the excitement leading up to the big move.

Talk About Budgeting

As it will probably be the first time your child has control of their finances, it’s worth taking a bit of time to teach them the basics of budgeting to help them keep on top of their money once September comes around. 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. However, talking to them about how to make money last may be the best advice of all. Ask them to write out a budget for a typical week, allocating money for food, laundry, accommodation, socialising and a bit of spending money.

Top Tip: If your teen wants a bit of extra spending money for university, suggest getting a summer job before they move away!

Get Some Cooking Practice

Even if you’re not the best chef, you’ll probably still be able to offer your son or daughter some useful cooking tips. Teaching them how to cook simple, healthy and most importantly cheap recipes before they move away could save them a term of pasta and sauce. 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. With some guidance they’ll probably be surprised at their cooking skills!

Top Tip: Make sure you discuss the best ways to keep food fresh and how to tell if something is out of date. Teens aren’t always very good at this bit!

Start Buying Essentials Early

The list of what your teen needs to take with them to university probably seems never ending. We recommend tackling the ‘to buy’ list well before results day! This way you won’t be spending a big chunk of money just a few days before the big move and you’ll have plenty of time to shop for the best deals for things like duvets, towels and kitchen utensils.

On Results Day

Submit Accommodation Forms ASAP

There’s not much to do other than celebrate on results day, however, once your son or daughter’s place is confirmed it’s a good idea to make sure all accommodation application forms are handed in and completed promptly. Living in a halls 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.

The Last Few Weeks of Summer

Help Them Open a Student Bank Account

All the major UK banks offer student accounts; however, some provide better benefits than others. With just a few weeks to go, it’s a good idea to shop around for the bank offering the best student incentives – together compare all the various options and choose the one that’s right for them. Having a student bank account open before leaving for university will also mean they can organise their finances as soon as they arrive.

Top Tip: Choosing a bank that has a branch near to their university campus or halls of residence is a great idea!

Register at a Local GP

All too often getting registered at their new local GP is forgotten about during the move. However, it’s so important for students to be able to book an appointment quickly and easily if they need to. We recommend printing out the registration forms and filling them out as soon as they have their new address.

Talk To Them

One of the most important things to do is talk to your child about how they feel about their upcoming university experience. They’ll probably feel mixed emotions about living away from home for the first time. Discuss everything well in advance of them leaving so you can talk through all their worries together. It’s also a good idea to chat about the more serious things such as how to manage alcohol, how to turn down drugs as well as cope with peer pressure to do things they may not want to.