Parents: What's It Really Like Being At University?

studying in university

Parents usually find the process of their children going to university stressful because there are many unanswered questions, such as: Is it just one big party? How much money do they need? How will they make friends? What if they’re not getting on with their housemates? It’s normal to feel this way because they have never lived away from home and your first instinct in to protect them. In this blog we will be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about what it’s really like at university so that you can prepare them for the huge adventure that they are about to embark on.

Fresher’s Week

This is usually a very enjoyable time for students, but parents will always have their concerns because it seems to almost entirely revolve around drinking alcohol. The truth is that Fresher’s week is whatever your student makes it, and there are endless opportunities to meet people from a variety of different backgrounds. It’s simple, if your student doesn’t want to go out and drink alcohol all the time then there are hundreds, if not thousands of clubs and societies where they can make new friends.

The great thing about university and Fresher’s week is that your student will not be under any social pressures to ‘fit in’ or behave in a certain way, it is a time when they can choose who they really want to be. It’s also a time when they will grow up a lot because they don’t have their parents around to make decisions for them.

Student Accommodation

It’s common for parents to view the student accommodation when they visit the university on the open days, but if you didn’t get the chance to then you should know that your student will either be living in Halls or Unilet accommodation. If they get high enough grades to go to their first choice university, then they will most likely be living in Halls. But if they end up going to their second choice, then they might find themselves in Unilet housing because space in Halls is limited.

Halls are big blocks of flats, and they are different at each university. They usually accommodate 5-10 people in each flat and the rooms contain a single bed, a desk to work at, and an en suite bathroom. There is also an open-plan kitchen and living room, which is shared between flatmates.

Unilet accommodation is housing that the university owns and offers to first year students if there is no space left in halls, they will often include 5 or 6 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room.

Lots of students worry about having to live in Unilet accommodation but you don’t need to worry, it’s not the end of the world and there are still plenty of opportunities to meet new people at societies and lectures. There will be loads of information about student accommodation on the university’s website, so check it out for more information.

Food & Budgeting

It’s normal to worry about how your student will be eating at university and it’s usually a bit of a learning curve for them. Many students find themselves living off takeaways, which is not only unhealthy but also very expensive. Therefore, it’s a good idea to provide them with basic cooking lessons and some good quality Kitchenware before they head off. Not budgeting enough money for food is a common problem for students, so if you want to make sure they have enough then you can send them a few Care Packages every term.

Lectures & Seminars

University is not just about having a good time and meeting new people, your son or daughter will have to do some work as well. In their first year they will have roughly 10 hours of lectures and seminars per week, which means a lot of their studying time will be independent. To make sure they are prepared for the work, get them the Student Stationery Starter pack, which includes everything they will need to complete their coursework and revision.

Lectures will usually involve 75-150 students with a lecturer speaking for 1–2 hours, there is very little room for engagement during lectures because of the number of people involved.

Seminars involve much smaller groups of around 20 people, they are very similar to what students will have experienced in their school classrooms. They tend to revolve around what is learnt in the lectures, so attendance is very important.

We hope you found this useful, and if you would like to offer your student some more advice then check out our 10 Things to Put in Your Student Survival Kit.

Also Read: What to Take to University?