Support your child at university

Learn how to best support your child when they arrive at university and help to prepare them for moving away from home for the first time.

Helping your child prepare to leave home

Going to university will be a significant change for your child, as well as those who have supported them to get to this point, including yourself. It's important these valuable relationships continue throughout their university journey to offer them advice, guidance and support.

The transition to university can present several challenges for students – adjusting to independent living, their studies, and a new social life – all without the comfort of close friends and relatives. Over time, students find the initial difficulties they faced seem less daunting, especially if they know family and friends at home are on hand, understand the situation and are supportive.

Read our tips on how you can best support them, including practical ways you can help your child as they prepare to move away from home.

Tips on supporting your child at university

Offer them practical support before they move away from home

If they choose to live away from home, it’s important they know how to perform a few basic tasks so they’re ready for independent living. Showing them how to cook a few simple meals and do their laundry is a great start. This practical advice can give them confidence and help them to settle into their new home during their first few weeks at university.

Reassure them anxiety is normal

Going to university is a huge transition that will bring about many changes, particularly to their lifestyle and relationships. If these changes make them feel anxious, reassure them this is completely normal. Encourage them to seek support and be there to listen to their concerns and worries.

Stay in contact

Agree with each other how often you’ll communicate. It might even be useful to set a specific time each week when you’ll touch base with one another. Whether it’s a phone call, text or email, checking in regularly will reduce uncertainty and reassure both of you that everyone is alright.

Be your child's trusted adviser

Fully support them, but give them space. They won’t just be managing their studies, but also a range of new places, events and people. As they navigate this, they need the freedom to explore, but as we all know from our own youth, exploring can sometimes mean making mistakes.

While mistakes are a natural part of personal developmental and growth, it's also a moment where trusted advice is invaluable and essential. You can be their trusted advisor by listening to their concerns and offer guidance. Know what health and wellbeing support is on offer at UWE Bristol and help them figure out where to go on campus to get that support.

Talk and ask about potentially uncomfortable things

Get comfortable talking and asking questions about uncomfortable topics, such as alcohol and drugs, relationships and mental health. Remind them that there are resources on campus for just about everything and encourage them to make use of the support services available to them.

Be kind to yourself

Recognising your relationship with your child will change and develop during this time can often lead to feelings of anxiety and concern. While they’re growing and developing in a new environment with new experiences, your everyday life may feel different too. This could leave you with a feeling of loss. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings, talk with people you trust and with people who may be in a similar situation.

Health and safety

Safety and security

Many students in their first year will live on campus, which is why we make our campus as safe as possible. At UWE Bristol, your child will have access to 24-hour campus security and a wealth of safety resources and tools. Not only will this support their transition to living away from home, it'll give you peace of mind too.

Health and wellbeing support

The health and wellbeing of our students is a top priority. Your child will have access to a range of support services on campus, including health services, counselling, and disability support. So they’ll get the support they need to get the most out of their university experience.

Key contacts for your child at university

During their university transition, your child may experience challenges such as struggling with independent living or living with others, homesickness or making new friends. These common challenges are completely normal as they learn to navigate student life.

However, it’s important to know who to contact if you’re concerned about your child or have questions about how to support them during a difficult time.

How to contact us

When we'll contact you

At the start of each academic year all students agree to the UWE Bristol Terms and Conditions as part of online registration. Within this we explain when we may need to contact somebody on their behalf and ask them to provide details for at least one emergency contact.

The University will contact a student's emergency contact in circumstances where serious concerns are raised about their wellbeing (including risk to self, others and the University). This is to ensure a joined-up and collaborative approach to assessing this risk and providing appropriate support.

A few examples of serious concerns include, but aren't limited to, a student being taken to hospital, concerns that a student is missing, failure to engage in academic study or a student receiving a 'notice to quit' from UWE Bristol's accommodation services and therefore being at risk of homelessness.

Please make sure you have a conversation about being a student's emergency contact. Emergency contacts should be kept up to date, as we rely on students providing the University with the correct contact information. Students can easily change or update their emergency contacts in MYUWE Your info (login required).

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