School-leavers across the UK are preparing for a life-changing move to university.

But amid the excitement and anticipation of starting a new life in a new town or city, there’s often something over-looked. The parents.

While the fledgling students will have to make changes as they fly the nest, it is mum and dad, or guardians left behind, who sometimes face the biggest adjustments.

While it’s the same for live-at-home students’ parents too – there’s still changes set to happen.

Here’s the University of Sunderland’s survival guide for all you parents and guardians:

Leaving home

Remember preparation is key.

It could be they need some cooking lessons before they head off, just so they know how to prepare the basics.

There’s a lot of cook books specifically aimed at students and cooking on a budget so why not invest in one of these as a going away gift.

It’s important to remember that in self-catered accommodation, friendships are often formed in the shared kitchen areas.

Maybe even a basic guide to washing and drying clothes will be helpful too.

Double check all insurance documents and make sure you have enough cover – not all household insurance policies cover possessions. Also, don’t forget the TV licence – it’s a must. For more info, visit here.

Staying at home

But what if your son/daughter decides to stay at home while going to university?

Well, don’t just think nothing will change. It will. Here’s some tips to avoid Fresher fury:

1) They are adults – so give them some space.
2) Brace yourself – there may be nights where they don’t come home (see 1)
3) Probably best to set down some rules, so you’re not worrying and they don’t feel like schoolchildren.


Vital whether you are living at home or away.

Those living at home can access almost £7,000 in loans in support of living costs, plus in many cases, a student grant or bursary. Try to encourage them to budget as best as possible and make them aware just how costly university life can be.

The key to avoiding most financial hiccups is to plan ahead. If you have not applied for a loan and you need to, do so immediately. The sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll receive it.

In the same way, students – and parents if possible – should discuss finances and how they see payments working.

Having a large sum of money put into your bank account can be a risk if your child is not used to budgeting. Be aware of the need to keep finances in order – and avoid them blowing their loans on nights out and expensive TVs.

Staying safe

We take security seriously here at the University of Sunderland. Check out here all we are doing to make sure students are in the best hands when they are away from home.

We have our own dedicated police officers, security and a raft of measures all designed to make us one of the safest universities out there.

This year the University launched a campaign tackling attitudes to hate crime, harassment and violence.

Have “the talk”

Yes, it might be a bit awkward, but university is a place where students are often care-free and independent, going on to form important relationships. Pregnancy or STI’s are many parents’ biggest fear when sending their teen away, so you both need to be clued up on the facts and the best contraceptives to make sure everyone stays safe.

They’ve gone – so what happens now?

Don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit emotional, it’s completely normal. Also, they are bound to be having a few first day/week/month nerves.

There is plenty of help available at our Wellbeing Services department, from advice to support to counselling.

It could be that you are finding the transition harder than they are.

Remember, this is a new start for you too – but they will be back visiting before you know it. They will soon be back in their bedrooms, leaving clothes everywhere and driving you crazy.

Keep in touch

It doesn’t matter how short the phone calls, texts or emails are – just keep them coming.

They may be away from home, they may be an adult, they may be cooking and washing for themselves, but they still need assurance and confidence that someone is always on the other end of the phone.

Social life at university

Although the academic side of university is a priority, the social aspect remains a huge pull for students. You can help encourage them to join clubs and societies.

Check out what the University of Sunderland has to offer here.

Get your son/daughter to save a few taxi company numbers to their mobile, so you know they’re getting home safely after a night out. Also, a timetable for the Metro can be found here.

You can download the University of Sunderland app to discover a full range of services here.

For top tips on budgeting click here.

Read the case study of a parent/ child experience of going to University here.

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