Education Eye: Twelve tips for parents whose kids are off to uni

Catherine Stoker
Catherine Stoker

Phew! Those all-important A levels are in the bag and your teenager is excitedly preparing to start university. Here are a few tips for parents, so you sleep slightly easier when they fly the nest.

1. Visit a few weeks before term to familiarise with campus layout, location of faculty teaching blocks, public transport, supermarket etc.

2. Secure a room in a hall of residence rather than a rented house. This makes finding their way around and meeting new friends easier, giving a gentler acclimatisation into life away from home.

3. University is a fabulous opportunity to try a huge variety of new sports and activities. Encourage them to sign up in Fresher’s week. Those who get involved make friends and settle quickest.

4. Open a bank account. Shop around for the best student incentives. Chose one with a branch close to the university or on campus. Discuss budget planning and monitoring cash-flow. Advise against credit cards and un-authorised overdrafts.

5. A part-time job will supplement their student loan. Prepare a CV and application letter and research opportunities. Review their Facebook. Many potential employers will review these before taking on students.

6. Practise cooking healthy meals on a budget.

7. Have a serious chat about safety, managing drink, turning down drugs and coping with peer pressure.

8. Investigate GP arrangements and register.

9. Advise against too many possessions for the first term. Valuables should be minimal. Ensure key items are insured.

10. Discourage taking a car until they have investigated parking arrangements but if they insist, have a serious conversation about drink-driving.

11. A bike is a good investment and don’t forget lights and a high-vis top.

12. A laptop with a good size screen and up-to-date software is crucial. Consider how work will be backed-up.