5 tips to help parents and children prepare for university

Are you about to send you young adult off to university? Don’t panic, Oxford Open Learning has provided these tips to help parents and children prepare for university.

Top view of graduation mortarboard and diploma on yellow background, education concept

How can parents and children prepare for university

For both parents and children, starting university is a big step and can be daunting. However, there are plenty of things that you can do as a parent to help your child be prepared for the transition. Oxford Open Learning has provided five tips for ensuring you and your child are fully equipped for university.

1. Independent living

A big part of university life is learning to fend for yourself, that means learning how to cook, clean, iron and other chores that they may not have done whilst living at home. It’s a huge help for your child if they are taught these skills before starting university, as it will get them off to a good start and make them less nervous for living on their own. Start to ask them to do their own washing at home and cook one or two meals a week for the family, with guidance if needed.

2. Managing money

Most children would never have been given a large lump sum of money to manage before, so it’s vital that they know how to manage their finances before they start to receive student loans. A good tip is to help your child write down a budget plan of everything they may need to spend their money on every month, such as groceries, university textbooks, bus fares, and social events.

3. Living with strangers

Living away from home can be difficult for your child as they are removed from their home comforts. However, it’s important to encourage them to stay away from home for the first few weeks whilst they get to know their roommates and form the initial bond that comes with the activities as a fresher.
Creating a safe and comforting space in their room may also help them settle in. Having photographs and other home comforts in their room will soften the blow of moving out of their family home.

4. Working independently

Moving from a college to a university can be a challenge as independent work is a key part of university courses. Your child will need to know how to stay organised and plan ahead for deadlines, as often deadlines come around the same time and work will need to be prioritised. Help them to understand that tasks such as creating timetables to display in their room will help to keep them organised.
Some university students say that treating their day at university like a typical 9-5 working day will help them to separate their course work and leisure time, and make sure they don’t have peaks and troughs of workloads.

5. Renting

Most students will not have rented a property before moving to university, so it’s a good idea to talk your child through their rights as a tenant and ensure that they are getting value for their money. Your child will also benefit from a reminder that bills and rent must be paid on time and to make sure that they lock the house when they leave. It may be wise to invest in a small safe or a lockable drawer to store away their valuables, as many university halls and houses are under risk of burglary.

Dr Nick Smith, Courses Director and founder of Oxford Open Learning Trust, said “The transition between college and university can be challenging, but with the right preparation it will be an exciting step into adulthood. Our students at Oxford Open Learning are already on their way to working independently through distance learning; a vital skill that will make the transition into university much smoother. We recommend that all students learn how to manage their time and work towards deadlines before they take the next big step. Being organised will allow more time for making friends and enjoying the university lifestyle.”

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