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7 things teachers don’t tell you about preparing for university

Preparing for university can be daunting enough, writing their personal statement, crafting an irresistible application and submitting it, then waiting forever for the results! It’s one long and intense journey, but not being fully prepared for your son or daughter’s new adventure can be even more daunting. Here are some tips (that teachers don’t mention to students) to help your teenager prepare, so that when the time does come – you can make the move feeling fully prepared.

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Remember those packing essentials – this bit can be overwhelming!

It can be easy to forget the essential items that we use in our everyday life, for example, kettle, bedding, mugs, pans, all of these essential items can make a student’s accommodation feel a lot more homely and comfortable when moving out alone. Writing a checklist and plan is a good idea to help your teenager feel more organised and less anxiety about forgetting something! Use the one below to get them started:


  • Kettle

  • Pots and pans

  • Plates

  • Utensils – large and small

  • Grocery list for beginners


  • Bedding

  • Pillows

  • Blankets/Throws

  • Memoirs (photos, teddy, etc.)

  • Clothes


  • Toiletries

  • Toilet Brush

  • Cleaning Essentials

  • Mop and Bucket


  • Laptop/Tablet

  • Chargers

  • Course Essentials

  • Entertainment

Being punctual is important – but an extreme sport for young adults!

When your teenager is living away from home it’s easy for them to sleep in or feel unmotivated. There are no parents in student accommodation to keep life on schedule like there is at home! Have a chat with your son or daughter to help them understand the importance of organisation and punctuality. Universities don’t take well to an unorganised student with lack of initiative. Maybe invest in a loud alarm clock that they can’t ignore to get the ball rolling!

Getting to know their new location – the good and bad areas, everywhere has them…

Familiarising themselves with the area that will be their new home will help when they do move, they can learn about key places such as the shops, local hospital or doctors, leisure activities nearby and public transport – this can help them to feel confident travelling to, from and around their new area.

Not only is it important to get familiar with their new location, but it is important to know the areas that may be undesirable nearby and a good idea to have a discussion about safety with your child. From peer pressure to how to stay safe on the streets at night – your teenager is entering adulthood after all, but they will appreciate your concern (even if they don’t show it).

Being an adult is expensive! Help them to budget plan.

Independence is a wonderful thing until they realise how expensive being an adult is. But don’t let that put them off – spend some time going through the importance of budget planning, this can be helpful for any young adult that may not yet know how crucial this can be. Work with your teenager through the following:

Add up their income:

  • Student loans.

  • Any grants, bursaries, sponsorships, or scholarships they’re eligible for.

  • Money from parents or guardians.

  • Income from a job.

  • Any savings they’re not saving for after their course

Then take off any essential outgoings:

  • Tuition fees

  • Rent for their accommodation.

  • Any house bills – internet, TV license, water, gas, electric, etc.

  • Any travel or car costs.

  • Phone bill.

  • Food.

Then whatever’s left you can spend on other things:

  • Books or equipment for their course.

  • Household supplies and toiletries.

  • Music, films, and social activities.

  • Clothes and shoes etc.

Consider finding a part time job.

If the timetable structure of their course looks like there may be time for a part-time job to supplement their student loan, try going through their C.V and application letter so you can help them seek part-time employment, this can also be a very good way of socialising and meeting people other than their room-mates or fellow students.

Roommates can make or break their experience – get to know them beforehand

Often universities and courses have online groups – usually on social media – where students can communicate before they meet. There may be groups set up by the university for that academic year, course, student halls or other categories that meet your teenager’s future university experience. They can opt into these groups and start to meet some of their fellow students before they move.

Teach them to cook before moving

One of the biggest challenges can be learning to live without home-cooked meals from their parents, even though meals may never match up to Mum’s Sunday roast dinner, you can spend some time in the kitchen with your son or daughter teaching them the basics and even some more advanced meals if they enjoy it.

Takeaways can be costly but when they buy ingredients the majority of the time, they will still have leftovers which they can then make into other meals, any leftovers they do have they can freeze and have another time. It’s good to have a conversation with them about this and help them find inspiration for cooking alone.

Hopefully, this has helped you with preparing for your son or daughter to eventually leave the nest. It’s never easy and the preparation stage can be a stressful one.

If you have any concerns or queries about your child’s university journey you can get in touch using the button below.

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