Coping with change – tips for parents

Although an exciting time, the majority of students find some aspects of the transition to university challenging – but it’s important to remember that there’s always support available.

Dr Debbie Porteous, Associate Head of Department at Northumbria University, Newcastle, recently carried out research into the transition from A Levels into Higher Education and here she shares some of the steps parents can take to help their child during the transition from school to university:

 Follow the guidance on what to bring

 There’s always that temptation to go shopping and buy as many provisions as possible – from duvets to pots and pans, but it’s a good idea to have a look on the university website and follow the advice on what your son or daughter will need to bring. For example, you don’t need an ironing board or an iron as most university accommodation offers that. At Northumbria we have Facebook groups so you can meet your flat mates before you start and agree who will bring what so you don’t have six lots of pans and no cutlery.

Try not to worry

 At Northumbria, we understand that it’s important for you to know that your son or daughter is in a safe environment and we have systems in place to ensure their safety and security. When they come to the induction week, they are made aware of the safety measures and signposted to apps, how to access security and how to be safe and responsible. Your son or daughter’s personal tutor has their best interests at heart and keep in regular contact in relation to how they’re engaging in the programme and getting on at university. We know it’s often their first time away from home and we understand the challenges they can face. That’s why we have support mechanisms in place to help them every step of the way.

Keeping in touch

 While it can be tempting to phone all the time, also be mindful that your son or daughter will need time to settle into university life and too much contact can sometimes make them homesick. It’s about getting the balance right and it’s a good idea to speak to your son or daughter about how much contact they would like so you can work around what’s best for them. It can sometimes be more worrying for you if you don’t get an instant text back, so try to agree an arrangement that works for both of you. Remember too that it’s natural for all students to have a bit of a wobble at times so try not to worry.

Hear more from Dr Debbie Porteous by watching our online videos:


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