Find out how you can help support your young person's transition to higher education
Help with practicalities
There is lots to do to get ready for university or college, in particular when your student is moving out of home. You can help them with some of the practicalities of moving out. For example:
- Help them make a list of essential kitchen utensils and perhaps accompany them when they buy them. You probably have a better idea of what is a reasonable price to pay and what is way too expensive for a student budget!
- Share some recipes, maybe help them with some basic cooking skills.
- Help them put together a cleaning and laundry starter kit and share some top tips for common problems (e.g. tips about stain removal on clothes).
- Help them put together a budget based on their expected income (e.g. student maintenance loan).
- You may be asked to act as a guarantor so your young person can get into their chosen accommodation.
You are their rock
Starting university (or college) is a big step, especially when a student moves away from home. They will need to adjust to a new lifestyle, new people, new surroundings, new academic requirements and standards. During this time of change and upheaval, you can offer some stability and emotional support.
Try to be there when they need to talk, maybe check-in with them every once in a while. But don’t worry if you don’t hear from them every day – they probably just need some space to find their feet.
Communication from a distance
Talk to your student before they leave about how often they think they might want to speak with you. To start, maybe agree a specific day or time when you call each other for a chat. Be prepared for this to change over time though.
If they live at home
Not all students move away from home to attend university or college. For various reasons, an increasing number of young people decide to live with family and commute to their place of study. This will still come with a change in their lifestyle. So you will need to be prepared for more (maybe a lot more) flexibility in daily routines and mealtimes. Allow them the space to grow their independence.
Before they decide to live at home over other options, make sure you talk about your and their expectations. For example, will they need to contribute financially towards rent, food or bills? Will they have household duties? How and when should they let you know their whereabouts (e.g. if they are sleeping over at a friend’s)? It is important to make the responsibilities clear from the start to avoid unnecessary worry or arguments later on.
They are not alone
Encourage your student to find out about the support that is available at their university or college. No matter the situation or question, there is someone who can help.
Concerned about your young person’s wellbeing or mental health?
Many universities and colleges have contact numbers for parents where you can get in touch if you have concerns about the wellbeing of your young person. Please be aware that they may not be able to share any details with you due to data protection laws. The national charity Young Minds offers a helpline for parents. Young Minds Parents Helpline is available to offer advice to anyone worried about a child or young person under 25. Available Mon-Fri from 9:30am to 4pm: (Freephone) 0808 802 5544.