Preparing for the big move

There’s often a lot of anticipation building ahead of a student moving to university – probably for parents just as much as their children. Here’s a checklist to help you make sure they’re all set for moving in day.

What to expect and how to manage the emotions

Is your child wondering what to take to uni? First-year accommodation usually comes with the bigger furniture, but can vary in terms of lamps or kitchen supplies. So it’s worth checking what they’ll be provided with and what they’ll need to bring with them.

Then it’s often a case of wondering what university will be like and imagining who they might be living within student accommodation. There are plenty of ways for them to settle in to uni life and everyone’s in the same boat. Though if they have any particular worries or questions they’d like to ask, they could always have a chat with students already at uni.

Here are some ways you can help them prepare for.

1. Things for their room

First things first, make sure they won’t be left short of the essentials that aren’t provided for them in their accommodation. Different kinds of student accommodation come with different furniture and provisions – but usually students need to bring the softer furnishings with them.

  • A desk lamp?
  • Bedding, pillow, duvet, cushions
  • Things to remind them of home
  • Clothes (people forget all sorts when they move to university!)
  • Laptop, books, study materials
  • Things to keep active – running shoes, gym kit etc

2. First day nerves

It’s a big day for everyone – parents, guardians, students, and staff. There’ll be a mixture of excitement, nerves, and worries, but rest assured there are fantastic support teams at universities and colleges. Many universities offer regular 1-2-1 support in a range of areas – from mental health and wellbeing to personal tutors, residential assistants, and the Student’s Union.

3. Safety at university

Don’t worry, as well as support teams, universities have security guards and teams for facilities and maintenance. There’s often a student intranet or app with all the information and contact details they might need.

  • Security guards on campus
  • Maintenance teams if anything needs repairing
  • Accommodation support teams
  • Signposting to medical provision
  • Wellbeing teams for mental health support
  • Student’s Union reps to speak to
  • Accessibility support

4. Student food shopping list

Some parents and guardians do a food shop with their child on moving in day, or just before. Some handy basics could take the stress out of the day and leave them free to start settling in. They should have space in a shared fridge and freezer – though don’t go overboard or it might not all fit in (and they’ll have to have a feast!).

  • Easy food for day one
  • Packet rice or pasta?
  • Bread for sandwiches and toast
  • Cereal, milk and juice
  • Some fruit and veg
  • Things that don’t make too much washing up(!)
  • Washing up liquid, a cloth, a tea towel

5. Settling into university life

The best thing to remember here is that it can take a bit of time to settle in properly. They might relax into student life right away with their new housemates, or they might need a few activities or outings to get to know each other and feel comfortable. Everyone will feel similar though, and generally people will be friendly and open, if maybe a little nervous.

As a parent or guardian, you could check in with them here and there to see how they’re getting on – but give them chance to make connections, try new things and get used to university life. Try not to arrange visits to uni or for them to come back home too soon.

6. Joining student societies

This is a great idea for any student – to discover something different, go out of their comfort zone, or find their kind of people, (particularly if they don’t connect with their housemates as much as they might have hoped). Some students get on more with the people studying the same course as them, or the people they meet at student societies or sports teams.

Each university has lots of societies and sports teams, like these:

  • Course subjects, industries or areas of interest
  • Creative hobbies, films or reading
  • Football, rugby or other competitive sports
  • Trampolining, street dance or skateboarding
  • Faith groups, spirituality or philosophy
  • Nationalities, gender and LGBT+
  • Drinking tea and knitting!

That’s one of the nicest things about university – there are lots of ways for students to explore their interests, meet new people and find a circle of friends they’ll probably stay in touch with for life. Plus, after their first year, most students choose who they want to live with for the remaining years of their course, so if they’re not best friends with their housemates, they can live with other people in the years to come.