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Philippa Dobree-Carey, From High School to Uni

Philippa Dobree CareyPhilippa Dobree-Carey is an adept project manager for an international organization in Geneva. Author of the award-winning student guide "From High School to Uni", Philippa successfully steers students step-by-step through the process of packing, preparing for and thriving in the university environment.

With a passion for helping others, Philippa's insightful blogs provide a wealth of practical advice, guiding students (and anxious parents!) with firsthand experience, tips, and insights. As a devoted mother of two university aged children, she understands the concerns of those navigating this transition. This firsthand perspective has driven her to create a library of well-defined, pragmatic resources aimed at facilitating the transition to university life. Discover a treasure trove of invaluable resources by visiting her website www.fromhighschooltouni.com

Photo credit: Timeless Portrait Photography - Amber Roberts Images


By Philippa Dobree-Carey, From High School to Uni

Have you started to search for the perfect student pad to suit your budget? Before you embark on the stressful hunt for rented accommodation, make sure you have the essential ammunition - knowledge of student rental scams.

If you're not planning on living in halls of residence, or if you're heading into your second or third year of university, finding a place to live can be a challenge.
Students are a prime target for rental scammers who exploit students’ newfound independence and panic about finding a place to live.

Imagine finding a place that looks fabulous, the rent is within your budget, and the location is close to town or university. Sounds Ideal, right? Scammers love to dangle the carrot of incredible deals in front of unsuspecting students.

Beware of these tempting but unrealistic offers that are too good to be true

In the age of online transactions, scammers prefer to stay in the shadows. If your potential landlord avoids face-to-face meetings and insists on doing everything online, pull the plug. Any reputable landlord will take the time to meet a prospective tenant. After all, they want to know that you will respect their property.

If you ask for a meeting and are met with excuses, drop it and keep looking

Have you ever experienced the fear of missing out? One of the most common tactics used in rental scams is for scammers to create a false sense of urgency and heighten a student's anxiety.
"Multiple offers are pouring in!" they claim. "You need to send your deposit to secure the tenancy". "If you can pay me a month's rent today, I can reserve the flat for you".


Photo credit ©Lisa Cirieco Swiss Change

By Philippa Dobree-Carey, From High School to Uni

The first question every parent asks me, an experienced mum whose children have successfully navigated university with no student debt, is “how do you create a budget”?

A survey conducted amongst students in 2020 revealed that over 70% of them worried about making ends meet, and yet at least 10% of students had never even attempted to compile a budget.

If you don’t know how or where to start, read on. By following these tips and using the interactive budget calculator on my website, you will be able to calculate what works best for you, within your means, and learn how to budget successfully.

Why do you need a budget?

If you’re going to be receiving a scholarship or student loan – that means you have a bottomless pit of funds, right? WRONG! You need to make your finances stretch to cover all essentials, from rent to food, to mobile phone costs to socializing. It may be fun to have a night out clubbing, but if that means eating crackers and drinking water for the rest of the month, was it worth splurging on alcohol, or could you budget appropriately to make sure you know how much your social funds can cover?

Typical uni room

A typical student bedroom with desk chair and bed

By Philippa Dobree-Carey, From High School to Uni

Moving into University Halls of Residence is a huge adventure for Freshers - perhaps their first taste of independence! First time managing a budget, first time cooking for themselves, first time organizing their lives with no assistance from parents. In addition, their new life may be in another country, with a different culture and customs, a new space with complete strangers, and it will take some time to adjust to the new environment.

To make this process less daunting, and help make the experience moving into Halls enjoyable, follow these tips below:

DO pack your suitcases efficiently. Before you leave home, organise your belongings into categories (like clothes, desk stuff, bathroom toiletries, shoes, etc.). This will make it so much easier to unpack efficiently and organise your room quickly.

DON’T lock yourself in your room whilst unpacking. Wedge your bedroom door open to say hi to other residents and get a chance to talk with your new flat mates immediately. The sooner you start chatting, the sooner you will start to make friends.

DO unpack your room straightaway as soon as you have picked up your key or badge from the University admin office. You will feel more settled and comfortable once you have your own space sorted.

DON’T drag out the goodbyes with your parents if they have dropped you off. It's normal to feel emotional when they leave, but don't let that stop you from enjoying your new independence!

DO be friendly and supportive getting to know your flat mates who may be shy. Invite them to join you for an exploratory walk around the university campus or go have lunch or dinner together in town.

DON’T isolate in your room. Whilst it is tempting to just curl up by yourself and watch Netflix, go out and get to know your flat mates. This is an exciting time - embrace the challenge!

moving in

By Philippa Dobree-Carey, From High School to Uni

It’s crunch time. The clock is ticking in these last few weeks of sunshine and summer before your high school graduate heads off to college or university.

So what can you do in the meantime to prepare for departure?

One of my annual summer activities is to go through my children’s cupboards and declutter clothes, equipment, toys or schoolbooks and papers that are no longer needed. A quick trip to the recycling centre and you’ve gained some much-needed cupboard space, while feeling good about ticking this task off your list.

You can also give clothes to your neighbors, friends, or your next child, and recycle files and folders with new labels for use at home, or for university, if needed. Scan any documents or artwork you wish to retain as keepsakes, and carefully file them with a memorable name.