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By Philippa Dobree-Carey, From High School to Uni 

University is an important milestone, a time of academic progress, personal development, and (hopefully) lifelong friendships. But let's face it, the transition from the familiar structure of high school to the independence and demands of university can be quite overwhelming for most students. Here are some insights from a recent UK student survey to give you a realistic picture of what your child might experience on campus, wherever they are, and some practical tips for you, as a parent, to help them thrive.
How Student Really Feel
While many students reported positive social experiences and a love of their chosen subjects, a significant proportion of students found university life stressful and overwhelming. Interestingly, although 71% were happy with their decision to go to university, only 35% felt that their experience met their expectations. 
This highlights the importance of open communication with your child. Discussing their expectations and the potential challenges they may face in advance can help them manage stress and adjust to the realities of university life.
How Parents can Help Build a Strong Foundation
Wellbeing and Community
The survey also highlighted the importance of wellbeing and feeling connected. Despite universities stepping up their game to promote wellbeing initiatives and support services, many students still felt unsure about where to turn for help with loneliness or anxiety. 
As a parent, here's what you can do:
  • Encourage involvement in clubs and societies: Joining one or more of the many societies at university offers fantastic opportunities to make friends with like-minded people and feel part of the university community.
  • Foster self-care: Help your child develop healthy habits, such as a regular sleep schedule, nutritious meals, and regular exercise. It’s particularly important to discuss alcohol and drug use, as these are likely to be readily available, and your child will not be under your watchful eye.
  • Open communication is key: Emphasize that seeking help when they're feeling overwhelmed or lonely is a sign of strength, not weakness. Encourage them to explore the various support services available at their university and to speak up if they feel they are struggling.
These practices contribute significantly to academic success and overall well-being.
Planning for the Future: Careers and Finances
The survey also highlighted students’ concerns about job prospects and financial pressures. Many felt that their universities could do better in terms of careers advice and financial support.
Here are some ways you can help your child prepare:
  • Career planning: Encourage them to use university career services early on. Attending workshops and getting advice on internships can give them a head start in their chosen field.
  • Financial literacy: Work with your child to develop a budget and equip them with financial management skills. Discuss financial aid options and explore opportunities for part-time work or scholarship opportunities to ease the financial burden.
University is a fantastic opportunity for self-discovery and growth for your child. By providing support, guidance, and open communication, you can empower them to meet the challenges and embrace the incredible opportunities that lie ahead.
Images: Wix stock image, Stockcake image

Author bio

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

Philippa photo credit: Timeless Portrait Photography - Amber Roberts Images