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5 tips for consideration when your kids head off to university

11th August 2018

Your child has just received their results and are proudly university-bound, now what?

There is a lot for you and your child to think about when they prepare to head for university the first time – from feeding themselves and managing their money to getting to know a new town and making friends.

Whilst this can potentially be a difficult time for you, it’s an exciting one for them and you’ll want to help your children as much as possible to get them ready for life at university and potentially life away from the family home. Whatever you do, make sure you know the line between helpful guidance and parental ‘meddling’.

We go over our tips you need to think about before you fly the nest and begin your journey at university.

1) Talk about their finances – It can be expensive to be a student. Do they know how much loan they will get from the Government? Do they know how much they will need for rent, bills, course books etc? Will they be getting a part-time job whilst they are studying? These are all things you will need to talk about with them, so they have a plan in place once they begin their next step. Having a budget spreadsheet to monitor how much they are spending might also be useful to keep an eye on spending. Sticking to a budget can be difficult, but it should help them to not overspend. It will also indicate how much the following years at university might cost.

Read our blog for more information: https://www.galeandphillipson.co.uk/blog/2018/04/12/how-to-approach-student-loans-with-your-children/

2) Consider where they will live – A very popular choice is to stay in student halls. There are many different options for student accommodation. The Student Accommodation Code is in many universities and ensures there are standards that promise safe, good quality accommodation for students. Check whether the hall of residence your child is moving to is a member of The Code. If it is a member you can be reassured that it will be of a good standard, and if you find that it is not, you’ll have grounds to complain that it does not meet the standards outlined in The Code.

Although the hall of residence may not allow things to be pinned to the wall, there is a chance for making the room feel a bit more like home – providing soft furnishings, photos and bringing along a mini kettle, a few tea bags and a carton of long life milk can help your child feel instantly at home in their new place.

If your child does know friends who are going to the same university, they could always opt for a student house. Another option is to stay at home if the university of choice is commutable. It could be beneficial financially to stay at home and commute to university when they need to attend lectures and seminars. However, with this option, there is a chance they will miss out on a lot of the social aspects of university.

3) What they need to take with them – Your child may not have thought about what they need to take with them. If they are staying in a student house, or self-catered accommodation it is likely they will need to bring their own cooking equipment. For things like this they can buy them relatively cheaply from many high street stores, or if you have an abundance of them at home give them some take away with them.

Of course, they will need to bring clothes so be sure they pack for all weather conditions and for different situations. Be sure to create a list of things they will need so they don’t forget them. Other items like cleaning products, food, stationary etc. can be bought after they’ve moved in.

4) Dealing with empty nest syndrome

Once you’ve seen your child safely settled in their new accommodation, you might find your home feels a little empty. For a bit of help making the transition, you may want to find a new interest. Having invested so much in your child or children, you may find yourself with some free time on your hands. Perhaps there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, like volunteering for a local charity, or even going back to university yourself and starting a new business venture. Some parents find that without their children at home they need to rebuild their relationship with their partner to remember why they married them all those years ago. Schedule time together to do things that you both enjoy. Finally, keep in touch with your child. You can still to be close to your child even after they have left home. You should try to maintain regular contact through visits, phone calls, emails and text, but also realise that you need to get the balance right so that they don’t feel smothered by too much contact.

Don’t deal with it alone. Remember there are hundreds of thousands of parents in the same position as you are now. Talk to the people around you – your friends and partner – who know what you’re going through.

5) If things don’t go to plan 

Chances are your child will take to their new life like a duck to water, but if they aren’t having the time they hoped they would, or if they are experiencing some problems, there are some useful resources you can call upon.

  • Addiction – Adfam can provide support and advice, and Frank has comprehensive information on different kinds of drugs.
  • Depression  – Young Minds

Reference – BL012 – Aug -18

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