Getting ready to head off to uni can be an exciting time, but also potentially a bit of a daunting one (for you and for them), as your son or daughter prepares to leave home and fend for themselves.
You can help by making sure they’re on top of all the things that need to be sorted before they arrive on campus, like funding and accommodation.
There are other ways you can support them too, by encouraging them to build some of the life skills they’re going to need, like cooking and managing on a budget.
Your son or daughter can apply for their student loans from the February before they start. They don’t have to wait until they get their UCAS offers to do it.
Applying for loans can take up to six weeks, so encourage them to apply by the end of May at the latest. If they’re applying for other support, like the disabled students’ allowance, they can mark that on their application form and they’ll be sent extra forms to fill in. They apply for student finance online through the gov.uk website.
Once your son or daughter has an offer from us, and has accepted Bucks as their first choice, we’ll send them information about applying for accommodation . This will usually be around April or May. If they haven’t heard from us by June, ask them to contact us. We can guarantee full-time, first year students a room in our High Wycombe halls.
They’ll need a student bank account, so it’s a good idea to get one of these set up. Have a look round all of the main banks to compare what they’re offering for students, but try not to get wowed by the promotional offers. It’s what the account offers over the long term that matters more.
You won’t be there to cook for them. So, if they’re not confident in the kitchen already, it can help to practise a few healthy recipes together before they set off.
Pasta or rice dishes, and things that can be cooked in bulk for a group, or stored in the freezer, are a good option. You could also take them food shopping, so they know a bit about planning meals and shopping on a budget.
In short, not too much. They’ll need some clothes and personal items, of course – and possibly a few things to personalise their room, like photos or pictures.
They’ll also need documents for enrolment, some bedding, towels, coat hangers, crockery, toiletries and some basic food supplies to cover them until they do their first shop. But it’s best to leave buying too many other things until they’ve seen what’s available in their accommodation. They can always club together with hall or house mates on kitchen items, if needed.
Students can also use our Bucks New Usage scheme, which includes a range of free upcycled household goods. And of course, there are lots of shops near the University where they can buy anything they’ve forgotten, or desperately need, once they’re here.