The 2023 A Level results arrive on 17th August & the countdown to student life has begun.
Make your uni preparations easier with our Ultimate University Checklist and top tips for freshers. It'll make the essential IKEA shop for first-year students so much quicker!
As a parent who has packed both our children off to university, I've learned some useful tips. When our first child went we overpacked, not realising how small his uni accommodation bedroom was. And then, a few years later we forgot a few essential items. It's a busy and emotional time, so I'm sharing what I've learned to help you prepare your child for an easy start to student life - so all they have to think about is enjoying freshers week!
In this blog - top tips for starting uni life:
Amongst all the excitement of leaving home and Freshers Week, there may still be some of the typical leaving home nerves. Now’s the time to cover all the basics so your son or daughter has one less thing to worry about when you get there.
Psssst.. even if they only take in half of what you say... they'll be better prepared than they originally were!
STUDENT COOKING 101
Some 18 year olds are completely at home in the kitchen whilst others wouldn’t know where the oven is! I recommend spending some time making sure that they can make a few basic meals to ensure they don’t blow their first student loan on Deliveroos.
We did a crash cookery course with my eldest the week before he left for uni – covering 'everything you can do with an egg' as well as some favourite pasta dishes. I wrote them all down in a Word document so he had something to refer back to if he got stuck!
BBC Good Food is a great place to start for basic recipes and you can save them to a Pinterest board rather than write them all down. That way they can call up the Spag Bol recipe on their phones when they are cooking.
STUDENT LAUNDRY 101
If your son/daughter doesn’t have a linen basket in their bedroom, put one in there now and get them washing their own clothes. My son recalls going into the shared laundry room in his uni accommodation and seeing a couple of girls looking completely confused – they had no idea what to do.
A couple of weeks of practice at home, separating the whites from colours, using the machine and deciding whether things go in the tumble dryer or not will really help remove one worry when they’re away.
We received WhatsApp messages for the first month of uni with pictures of striped T-shirts asking “white or colours wash?"!
Some university residences use an app for their laundry rooms which means no more sitting in laundry rooms waiting for the washing to finish. Students just have to load up the machine and turn it on and the app lets them know when the washing is ready.
Top Tip: Every student needs a clothes airer in their room, it’s a no-brainer to take one with you.
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO STUDENT BUDGETING 101
It’s not the most exciting conversation to have but it’s absolutely necessary if that student loan is going to last longer than Freshers Week. The move away from home and having to pay for everything is a new concept for most students and many slip up in the first term by spending too much money on socialising, UBERS, ASOS orders.
Give them a helping hand by working out how much they have to spend each week.
· ADD the student maintenance grant and any top-ups (Mum & Dad, bursaries etc)
· DIVIDE this by the number of weeks in a term (remember to include the holidays).
· SUBTRACT the weekly rent
· SET ASIDE a weekly food budget (£30).
· REMEMBER you may need to buy textbooks and make sure you put something aside to cover rail/coach fare for trips home.
WHAT'S LEFT is the weekly budget for going out as well as ASOS, Amazon and Pretty Little Thing orders.
Top Tip: You can usually pick up second-hand books from second-year students which is a great way to save some money.
OPEN A STUDENT BANK ACCOUNT
Make sure to shop around for the freebies & overdraft facilities that best suit their needs (currently Santander are offering a free 4 year 16-25 railcard, Natwest an Amazon Student gift card or coach card). and don’t forget to take confirmation of the university place from UCAS when you go to open the new account.
One for the parents - check whether your household insurance also covers your children whilst they are in university accommodation, if not you’ll need to take out contents cover for the university accommodation (to protect phones/laptops/possessions whilst they are in the student accommodation).
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO TAKE TO UNIVERSITY CHECKLIST
Start your packing list and make a note of things you need as you remember them (I use the Notes App on my phone) - us my 'what to take to uni checklist' to get you started. Avoid the temptation to take everything from their bedroom at home – the room they’re moving into will be small with a bed, a desk, chair and limited cupboard space. Make sure you check the accommodation details for the bed size.
Although it may feel like it, they aren’t moving out of home and will most likely be visiting home within a month so you can pick up things you may have forgotten about. In true KonMari style, I advise only taking things that they love, wear and need for their course or accommodation. Anything else can be left at home for now to free up valuable car space!
My top tips from the list are:
· Double check the details of what is included in your accommodation.
· Take two sets of bedding (don’t underestimate drying time on a clothes airer)
· Pack two sets of plates, cutlery and glasses just in case you have guests or to cover breakages.
· Remember to take winter clothes with you – it gets cold and darker very quickly in the Autumn term.
We did a big IKEA shop before my son left for uni and managed to get everything in one go. There were loads of other students doing the same thing in the last two weeks of August so it's a good idea to time your visit to avoid the crowds.
Finally, Barney the cockapoo decided he wanted to come with us when we moved our son in to halls of residence but we left him at home. It’s a busy emotional day dropping off your child (I blubbed most of the way home) so you’re going to want to focus on them rather than deal with your dog stealing the attention!
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I’m Sue, a professional home organiser and KonMari Consultant based in Hampshire, UK.
I trained with Marie Kondo and the KonMari team and help busy people declutter, organise and simplify their homes so they can get on with the important job of enjoying life.
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m: 07740 782575 www.alifemoreorganised.co.uk
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