Starting university is a significant point in a young person’s life and we know you will want to help them settle into their new routine and home as quickly as possible. Students' reactions to starting university can be quite varied. Some will take to it very easily, while others will take a bit longer to find their way Try not to worry too much about initial wobbles and encourage them to get involved and give themselves time to adjust.
Universities and colleges vary in the way they do things, so your student’s experience here and the way things are done may vary from your own experiences or that of their friends or family. Read through the welcome pages and ensure that they have done so too. Encourage them to ask questions if they are unsure of anything.
Although students start university as adults, many will still rely on your guidance and so you may be their first point of contact if they want to talk or need some advice. The first few weeks is a time of adjustment and you should expect there to be ups and downs. Below are some hints and tips to help you help support them:
- Reassure them that it may take a while before they feel completely settled, and if they are open to trying new things and exploring opportunities to meet new people, they are likely to find their niche.
- Remind them that other students are also likely to be feeling anxious, worried and perhaps shy too. Encourage them to go out and meet others, to talk to the person sitting next to them and to take advantage of all the activities in the university and the Students’ Union. You can encourage them to join sports clubs, societies or get involved with other academic and extra-curricular activities like volunteering.
- There is a great variety of support available at Royal Holloway. Often when students are in the midst of a problem they don't remember this or are nervous about reaching out, so parents and supporters can often provide a useful prompt for them. Remind them that dealing with small issues earlier on could avoid bigger problems later. They can speak to Student Advisory and Wellbeing department, their School helpdesk, the Students’ Union Advice Centre or their personal tutor. We pride ourselves on being a friendly and inclusive community that put support at the centre of what we do. This useful graphic explains what services are available.
- This may sound really simple but do they know how to do their laundry, how to budget for a week or how to cook a basic meal? Taking time before arrival and starting the course to ensure they have these valuable life skills is time well spent.
- If your student is living at home whilst studying then do try to give them some space and independence so that they can take responsibility for themselves,for example by doing their own laundry. Also, don’t be surprised if they don’t come home on occasion, they may well stay with a friend. Agree boundaries and rules for this like sending a text message to keep you informed.
- Check that they have registered with the on-site NHS GP Surgery if they are living on Campus or in the local area and help them ensure their vaccinations are up to date (including Meningitis ACWY) and that they have a good supply of any existing medications to ensure they don’t run out in the first week.
If your student needs support, help or guidance (or just a friendly face to talk to) there are a range of support services available throughout the university and Students’ Union. As a parent or supporter you know them best and are best placed to notice when something is not right. If you notice this you can advise them to get in touch with the Student Advisory and Wellbeing departments (see the full list of services to the right of this page).