How to make sure you have plenty of support at uni

Are you wondering about how to support a student who’s moving into uni accommodation? Here are some ways you can help them feel more secure while they’re making the big move.

How can you help?

Firstly, the best way to support them right now is to help with whatever they need to organise. For instance, are they still asking ‘how do I choose university accommodation?’ If so, a lot of the on-campus rooms may be taken already – but don’t worry, they can still speak to their uni about other options, like house shares with private landlords.

Once you’re clear on where they’re living you can help them tick off some of the other essentials – like getting any books for their course and deciding what to pack, just so they don’t end up taking too much or forgetting anything. Plus, crucially, fitting in some time to recharge.

Then once the basics are in place, you can help them think about what their support system will be like once they’ve moved to uni. Here are some things to ponder.

1. Check their existing support network

When moving somewhere new, everyone needs support. Many students won’t have spent this much time away from home before. They’re probably excited, nervous (or both?), so they might feel more assured if they’re clear on who they’ve already got in place for support.

See if they have an idea of people they’ll be able to check-in with – whether for a quick reminder of home or more of a heart-to-heart.

  • Close friends
  • Family members they confide in
  • Friends who’ve been to uni already
  • Colleagues or advisers
  • Teammates or gym buddies

2. How to build a support network at university

For a lot of students, their new housemates become their next level of support away from home. Once they’re settling in, you could check in with them to see who they’re particularly gelling with.

As well as their housemates, there are plenty of other ways they can make connections too. They could:

  • join a student society or sports team
  • spend time with their coursemates
  • find a part-time job they’re interested in
  • volunteer in a role that helps them reach their career goals

3. Awareness of uni support teams

Aside from the social side of things, there are loads of different services ready to support students. Many universities have their own counselling and wellbeing services, which can offer support for any personal issues students might need help with.

Does your child have any specific requirements to support their learning? If these have been declared on their UCAS application, their course leaders might have already put some adjustments in place. If you’re not sure, you could ask your child whether they made their requirements known to the uni. If not, it could be worth doing so to prevent delays further down the line.

Here are some of the support teams unis often have:

  • personal academic tutors
  • student course and accommodation reps
  • study skills support, like essay writing and notetaking
  • learning, dyslexia, and disability support
  • on-campus security guards
  • the Students’ Union

4. Arrange a visit once they’ve settled in

In a few weeks time, you could schedule a visit to see them at uni, or suggest they book a journey back home. That way they can look forward to seeing a familiar face or two. Or if any of their friends are also going to university, they could visit each other.

Though don’t arrange anything too soon – give them plenty of time to settle in first. Everyone’s in the same boat when they move to university – some students love the experience right away, whereas others need a bit more time to get to know each other and get used to their new surroundings.

If you or your child would like to know more about support at uni, there’ll be plenty of information on university websites – or you could chat to students who are already at university to see how they settled in.