Preparing for their Leaving
All being well, come September you may be preparing to drive off to university with your off-spring in tow.
- In the last couple of weeks the doormat will have been dented by vast quantities of mail: confirmation of a place at university, details of registration, details of university accommodation and so on.
- Some of this may require forms to be filled in and returned.
- If your child is moving away, there is all the preparation for living in a completely different place that may be several hundred miles away.
Most students will get on and sort all this out. There area few ways in which you can make it easier.
- Going to a new place can be very intimidating, but it will be less of a wrench if your child feels confident in their ability to cope with the day-to-day aspects of life, such as cooking, washing and budgeting.
- Remember the boring things that are easy to forget, such as checking on insurance (many household insurance policies don't cover possessions taken to university), getting a licence if they have their own television and arranging passport photographs (as the machine at the university is invariably out of order when they first arrive).
- If they are self-catering, make sure they know a few simple recipes. There are plenty of books aimed at students cooking on a budget and confidence in the kitchen in self-catered accommodation will rapidly ensure some firm friendships.
- Make sure they know how to operate a washing machine and are prepared for the consequences of mixing colours in a hot wash.
For students who are living at home with you while at university.
- Give them space.
- Don't be surprised if they occasionally don't come home at night (they are likely to be on a friend's floor in university accommodation).
- Set boundaries and clear rules for them letting you know their whereabouts to avoid worry – even if via a brief text or email.
Budgeting is also an issue with 'living at home students'.
- They can access over £3,000 per year in loans support for living costs, plus a student grant and bursary in many cases with up to £3,000.
- Try to encourage them to budget, save money for later in the year and to use their support income to avoid excessive term-time job hours.
- They are at university to study, to make new friends and experience university life – 10 hours part-time work should be fine for students living at home – they normally have no rent to pay and less living expenses than their counterparts who have left home.
Next page: The Empty Nest