First days: helping your child settle in

 

So your child has made their decisions, got their university place and is looking forward to the start of their new life. It’s time to prepare for Independence Day!

As parents, you have a vital role in making sure their first days go smoothly and your daughter or son feels confident being away from you and home. It helps if you start this process early.


This boils down to three main areas:

  • Can they use a washing machine without turning everything pink or grey?
  • Can they do a sensible grocery shop that includes fridge and cupboard staples as well as peanut butter and Pot Noodle?
  • Can they cook a few meals for themselves - pasta, chilli, curry - so they’re not totally dependent on processed convenience food or takeaways?

You’ve finally arrived at your child’s new home but you can’t have a cuppa because there’s no kettle! Get organised with a ‘moving in’ pack of bare necessities for your child to take with them.

  • plates
  • glasses
  • mugs
  • saucepan set
  • kettle
  • toaster
  • cutlery
  • cutting
  • knives
  • pasta sieve
  • can opener
  • bottle opener
  • scissors
  • tea towels
  • duvet and pillow duvet sets x 2
  • towels
  • lamp
  • TV (plus TV licence)
  • alarm clock
  • coathangers

You’ve probably already had this talk but it bears having another discussion now that they’re moving away from home. Firstly, though, reassure them that the university campus is usually a very safe place. At Beds, university accommodation benefits from trained security staff on site 24/7 and fob-and-swipe card entry systems.

Some safety precautions you could include in ‘the talk’:

  • Keep your wallet, mobile phone, bank cards and cash safe on your person, somewhere difficult for thieves to dip into
  • Make yourself familiar with the town as well as the campus and make sure you know where you can pick up a taxi
  • Try to go out in groups rather than alone at night. If you are out alone, let someone in the flat know when you’ll be back
  • Don’t drink to excess – know your limits. If you have had a bit to drink, say the mantra: “If I wouldn’t do it sober, I shouldn’t do it drunk!”
  • Don’t flash expensive items
  • Keep your phone safe and add extra security to it in case it’s lost or stolen
  • Your accommodation at the university probably has contents insurance – check it to make sure it will cover all your possessions. If not, get your own
  • Remember to lock and leave, not just leave - and that means your room, your car or your bike. If you’re on the ground floor, shut windows, too
  • If your room is self-locking when you slam the door shut, make sure you have your key
  • Resurrect Ghostbusters: if you lock yourself out, lose your phone/debit card/key, have a prang in the car, who you gonna call?
  • Enrol with a GP and dentist as soon as possible – your welcome pack should give you information on how to do this

Another discussion point is about keeping in touch with home. Some students will phone regularly for a chat; others prefer to cultivate an air of mystery and only call when there’s a crisis. Not great for your stress levels!

To avoid having to chase for a phone call, set up a family chat group on WhatsApp, Facebook or other messaging channel. It’s an easy way to keep communication lines open and reassure you that they’re OK and enjoying life.


When a student goes to university, it is often their first prolonged time away from home or sharing space with non-family members. Some students settle quickly but this isn’t always the case.

Some students will feel homesick, miss friends, family and familiar comforts. This feeling usually fades as they get used to their new environment and start to make new friends. So don’t be over-concerned but be prepared for a few fraught phone calls. Your support and reassurance at this point is vital.

Universities know those first few weeks can be hard. At the University of Bedfordshire, we do everything possible to support your child until they settle.

All students receive a welcome pack filled with lots of helpful information about their academic studies and our support services

  • Freshers’ Angels are existing University of Bedfordshire students who are on hand from day one to help new students settle in and answer questions about University life
  • We arrange an enticing calendar of welcome events so your child can get involved and make new friends straight away
  • We encourage them to get involved and try new things which will help them settle in and meet new people. Beds Students’ Union (BedsSU) runs a variety of clubs, societies and events, and the University has its Get Active sports programme as well as competitive sports where your child could represent the Uni in a sport they love!

For some students, the transition proves more challenging but there is always support available. At Beds, Student Support run settling-in workshops in the halls of residences for the first couple of weeks and we encourage all students to attend if they are struggling to settle. They can also contact Student Support or the Student Information Desk (SID) at any time for immediate support and advice.

Follow Ollie’s journey, moving from home to halls at the University of Bedfordshire

telephone

University switchboard
During office hours
(Monday-Friday 08:30-17:00)
+44 (0)1234 400 400

Outside office hours
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+44 (0)1582 74 39 89

email

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admission@beds.ac.uk

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international@beds.ac.uk

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sid@beds.ac.uk

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sid@beds.ac.uk

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