How to Prepare Your Child for University

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Sending your child off to university is a major milestone in life. Ideally, they’ll graduate, land a good-paying job, and become independent. However, dropping out of school or failing to make the right choices can handicap them personally and professionally. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your child for university and make the most of their educational experience. We’ll also explain why these tips benefit your child, even when they may seem counterintuitive at times.

Step Back and Advise When Necessary

You aren’t raising a child to be a dependent creature forever. The goal is to raise a competent, capable and independent adult. If you haven’t stopped hovering, you need to do so now.

Do give your children input on the selection of a university and a course. Be available for questions on how to handle homework, difficult professors or disputes with peers. When your kids move into their accommodation, let them settle in. Let them know you’re available if they want to reach out to you, but don’t call, email or constantly demand check-ins with you. Remember that they may not be with you, but they are not alone. They have classmates, professors and others to reach out to for help.

Learn Everything You Can About Your Financial Options

First, talk to the student finance staff to learn everything you can. Determine how everything is going to be paid for. For example, learn how much it costs to live on campus versus at home and how much to expect to pay in living costs.

Furthermore, learn about scholarships, grants, and on-campus jobs. Anything you can do to reduce the cost of your child’s education reduces how much you have to pay or borrow. One major change on the horizon is the reintroduction of maintenance grants for poor students. Loan Pig has a nice piece on new student finance proposals that covers this and other Department of Education proposals that will affect the total cost of university. You can find out more at

Create a budget for the costs you have to pay. Talk to your child about how to live within that budget and how to track their spending. Then help them set up their own student bank account. Let them take charge of the budget but check back with them periodically. After all, this is a critical life skill they need to learn.

Offer Adulting Lessons

If you’ve been doing everything for your children up to this point, you may have to give them some quick lessons on life skills they need to successfully live on their own. A surprising number of college students don’t know how to make spaghetti, boil an egg or make a cake from a box of mix. Give them cooking lessons so they don’t blow their grocery budget on eating out. You can encourage them to make their own meals by helping them buy cooking utensils and cookery. You may need to teach them how to do their own laundry or properly clean things too.

Keep on Top of Deadlines

The university application process is complicated. There are deadlines for everything from applying to the university to accommodations. There are deadlines for paying for courses. This is only the start since there will be coursework deadlines throughout one’s academic career. Help your child get organised and to stay on top of their deadlines. This is another critical life skill as anyone fired for failing to finish a project on time can attest.


Parents need to help their children enter university and manage their studies. However, they need to do it the right way if they want their children to be able to stand on their own after graduation.