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Preparing for University

If your young person receives an offer from us, we'll send them information on everything from enrolment dates and study spaces, to fitness classes and club nights. But as parents and carers, we know you’ll have your own questions – in this section, you’ll find the answers to help them settle in quickly.

A new life for them, and for you

Three female students sat outside the Newton building in the sun

Your son or daughter is about to embark on the defining journey of their lifetime! They will meet new people, try so many new things, and of course, learn a lot. Both of you will have to get used to not seeing each other in person every day, as they make their own way in the world and figure out how to live independently.

The start of university brings opportunities, but also challenges – for you as much as them. Don’t be surprised if the house seems empty to begin with, or if you’re feeling a little lost. This ‘empty nest syndrome’ is natural and will soon pass. You'll always be a big part of their life, but with more time and freedom to pursue your own interests. Find new opportunities, just as they will. Perhaps now will be a good time for new hobbies or holidays that might not have been practical before.

Just remember that the job never ends – you’ll always be someone they rely on, and the next favour’s only a phone call away!

What to bring

Travel light, and try to keep it simple. It’s easy to overdo it, so focus on the essentials, like clothes, bedding, toiletries, and IT equipment.  And don’t forget the basics – they’ll never have enough coat hangers, and family photos will help them through those first few days.

To start with, we’d recommend bringing:

  • kitchen utensils
  • bath and hand towels
  • a laundry bag, to keep dirty clothes in one place
  • coat hangers
  • a dressing gown or blanket, for cold evenings
  • photos of family and friends
  • a duvet, pillows, and sheets
  • sports gear – their opportunities will be almost endless
  • a small sewing kit, for quick fixes.

If they'll be living in NTU-owned accommodation, their new home will already come equipped with bedroom furniture, a microwave, a kettle, and a toaster.

We've put together a handy checklist of things they should sort before starting at NTU to make their transition to independent living much easier.

Money matters

Budgeting is a key part of university life. Try to make sure that they understand the importance of managing their money properly – being the safety net is a parent or carer’s prerogative, but you should encourage them to manage their finances on their own.

Talk to them before university starts, and try to make sure that they:

  • can work out a realistic budget, and refer back to it throughout the year
  • have their method of paying fees and rent finalised
  • aren’t swayed by incentivised financial offers, with unfavourable terms
  • establish what’s included in their rent
  • have considered a separate insurance policy, if their possessions aren’t covered by your household insurance.

For more advice on handling their finances, direct them to our Managing your Money page.

Top tips

Encourage independence

Get them familiar with cooking, cleaning, and household chores – the more they know, the easier their transition to university will be.

Create a budget together

Make a plan that’s realistic and leaves them room to have fun. Sound financial planning makes university life much easier, and reduces the need for distractions like part-time work.

Travel light

Stick to the essentials and a few home comforts. Other possessions quickly add up over the course of a degree!

Affordable eating

A male and female student eating in a brightly lit Nottingham restaurant

Nottingham is one of the UK’s foodie capitals, so there will be a lot of temptation from the award-winning restaurants on their doorstep. From Greek to BBQ, and pasta to sushi, there’s something in Nottingham for every taste. NTU’s sites all have their own restaurants and cafes, too – whether it’s a sit-down meal or a snack on the go, there’s plenty of choice.

Eating out is a great way to explore Nottingham, but it gets expensive. Try to factor a few treat meals into their budget, and make sure they arrive with a few basic recipes to hand – a little kitchen confidence will go a long way. Get them into the habit of freezing leftovers, planning their week’s food, and never shopping hungry.

Life lessons

The independence and responsibilities of university life can be daunting – the fewer surprises they encounter once they’re here, the better. So if they aren’t already familiar with cooking, cleaning, or laundry duties, now’s the time to learn. From understanding washing cycles, to emptying the vacuum cleaner, make sure you've got the basics covered. It sounds obvious, but in many cases that’s always been the parent or carer's domain!

We’d recommend handing over the reins at home, at least once a week. It’s important that they arrive knowing what it takes to keep a home happy, clean, and healthy – and not just for their sake, but their flatmates too.