University is an exciting and transformative time for students, but it definitely comes with its own set of worries for parents! Sending your child off to university can be daunting. There are so many factors to consider, including finances, accommodation and your child’s safety.
With this in mind, we have put together this list of tips for parents getting ready to send their child off to university.
Prepare your child for university life
Before your child goes off to university, it’s a good idea to prepare them for adult life- especially if they will be living away from home. Ensure that they go to university equipped with life skills such as knowing how to cook healthy meals, do laundry, and navigate the healthcare system independently.
Here are some things that you can do to make sure that they are prepared:
- Teach them how to cook several recipes
- Ensure that they can do laundry and basic chores
- Have them do a food shop on their own
- Browse the nearest medical centre to your child’s university and encourage them to sign up as a patient. Universities will often have medical centres attached, which could be the most convenient option
Discuss financials with your child
University is a costly few years, so having a frank discussion about finances with your child before they begin their studies is very important.
Discuss how far you are willing to financially support your child
It’s crucial that you set financial expectations and boundaries with your child so that they don’t get a nasty surprise once they start university.
If you are planning to support your child financially whilst they are at university, make it clear how far you are willing or able to contribute. This will help your child to estimate how much money they have to live on, and will also help with creating a budget.
Help your child to apply for Student Finance
If your child is going to be taking out student loans, supporting their application will be beneficial to them.
The size of the maintenance loan that your child is entitled to is often calculated by taking household income into account. As a parent, you might be asked by Student Finance England to provide details on your personal taxable income. If you don’t provide this information, your child will receive the minimum maintenance loan.
This resource provides useful information on supporting your child’s student finance application.
Assist your child with applying for scholarships, grants or bursaries
There are a number of scholarships, grants and bursaries available to university students in the UK. You could assist your child with applying to eligible schemes.
Create a realistic budget with your child
Sitting down with your child to create a realistic budget for university together will help your child to manage their money better.
First work out how much income your child will have each week or month by adding up the sum of their student loan entitlement, any wages that they have from a job, savings and financial support that you might provide.
Next, estimate what their outgoings will be by working out the total sum of their rent, bills, and other necessary expenses. UCAS’ budget calculator provides an estimate of a student’s typical living costs by university.
Encourage your child to keep track of their expenses and to stick to their budget as much as possible.
Sort out their living arrangements
Knowing where your child is going to live is an important part of sending your child to university. There are a variety of options to choose from:
Living at home
If your child’s university is online or within a commutable distance, living at home could be a good option. Not only will your child save money on rent, but it might also reduce the anxiety of having to move to a new city.
If your child is planning to live at home, make sure to discuss any expectations that you have from them in terms of financial contribution or helping around the house ahead of time.
One of the most popular options for first year students is to live in university halls. These are university-owned accommodation blocks built for students. Typically, students have their own bedroom and share communal amenities such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Purpose Built Student Accommodation
PBSA is another student housing option that your child could opt for. PBSA is privately-owned housing designed especially for students. It is usually much more modern and comfortable than university halls, and often has special features such as gyms, co-working spaces and cinema rooms.
To check out the PBSA available in your child’s university town, have a look on the Roome website where we offer vetted accommodation to suit students’ needs.
Shared student rental
Another option is for your child to live in shared student rental accommodation, which is let by a landlord or a letting agency. If your child is going to university with friends, or would prefer to live off campus with other students, this could be a good alternative.
On the Roome platform, we advertise student rentals and spare rooms. We can match your child with their ideal housemates based on their preferences using machine learning technology!
Support your child
University is very different from school, and for many students, this can be extremely overwhelming. Being there as a parent to support your child and guide them through any challenges that they face at university will benefit their wellbeing.
Staying in touch with your child
Keeping in contact with your child through regular texts, calls and visits will help you to maintain your relationship and provide your child with support when needed.
Try to establish a routine for contact, and gauge how frequently your child would like to communicate.
Helping your child to set goals
Helping your child to set goals for their time at university, whether they are academic, social or personal, is a great way to support them. This will give them a sense of direction and motivation.
Encouraging your child to stay on top of their mental and physical health
It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of university life, whether that’s excessively drinking, engaging with drugs, eating an unbalanced diet or having poor sleep hygiene. Encourage your child to take care of themselves mentally and physically by eating healthily, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and reducing stress.
Make sure that your child knows where to seek help if they need it. Their university should have resources available, such as counselling services or peer support groups.
We hope that this blog helped to give you some good tips on sending your child to university. There’s no right way to be a parent to a university student; just make sure to support your child and prepare them well for this newfound independence.
Be sure to check out the Roome website, where we post loads of tips and tricks for university students every single week. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to learn more about how we’re revolutionising the student housing market!
Posted by Owen Redman
Co-founder of Roome