University insights for parents and supporters

Smoothing the move to university

It is never too early to start preparing for the journey that is ahead when your teenager starts university.

It can be a tricky balance between giving a teen enough freedom to make their own decisions to learn from their mistakes and grow, and providing them with enough support without taking over. Parents look forward to their teens having an exciting and challenging journey through university, and want to feel assured that they are successful, healthy and happy.

Being supportive throughout the decision-making process can alleviate some of the pressure for your teen. Many decisions need to be made when teens reach Years 12-13. Your support over this period is important, particularly as they start to narrow down their course choices. Helping them find the one they feel is right is half the battle. Students are far more likely to be successful in the subjects they are passionate about.

One of the most important skills to have before university starts is budgeting. Whether you help your teen develop a spreadsheet or use an app or notepad, being aware of their financials and how to spend their money can make all the difference.

Some students will be living away from home in a much more independent situation. Help them prepare by ensuring they know some basic healthy recipes, and some rudimentary domestic skills.

Be willing to listen but not necessarily intervene or rescue. All universities have strong support systems in place, so encourage them to ask for help early, be it academic or any other type of advice.

It is useful to be aware of what the university journey entails, what to expect and what’s yet to come. Whether you’ve attended university or not, times change and so does the way education operates.

Top tips

Our top 5 tips for parents of students about to start university:

  1. It’s time to take a step back. Students are now officially adults and will be trying out their own opinions and ideas.
  2. Trust your gut instinct – if you feel something is wrong you are probably right, so get involved.
  3. Be patient with their struggles to adjust to this new period in their lives.
  4. Be the safety net – highly supportive parenting is linked to positive outcomes.
  5. Trust in the good parenting you have already done and enjoy the ride.

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