Amongst the emotional turmoil and excitement of your young adult preparing to leave for university, you will also be collecting a lot of ‘stuff’. In a spare room or corner of your house you will start to see a growing pile of bedding, kitchen supplies, lighting and electrical gadgets. In my experience, you will fall over and kick this several times before it actually gets loaded into your car and you won’t be sorry to see it go! Once the university essentials start to gather, there is no getting away from it! Your baby is leaving home!
It’s time to start preparing properly and here are a few things you should be thinking about.
University essentials – the admin before they leave
1. Insurance – if they are in private rented accommodation they will need contents insurance as most landlords only have buildings insurance. The situation may be different for halls of residence but you need to check. If they are living away from home during term time, their phones, tablets etc. may no longer be covered by your own house insurance, that’s if they were in the first place. You can get some more guidance here.
2. Meningitis jab – for much more information you should read this.
3. Registering with a local GP – this is vital if your young adult has an on-going health condition that will require medical support and repeat prescriptions but is important for all students. Universities will provide details of the local surgery where they should register.
4. Grant and loan paperwork – for any last-minute hitches with payments
5. Passport photographs – for identity cards
6. TV licence – may be needed if they have a TV in their own rooms. If they only watch TV in communal areas they may be covered by the halls’ licence but check the details here about what you can and cannot legally do. In private rented accommodation they are likely to need one.
7. Exemption certificate for council tax – students in full time education are exempt from council tax. Check out more details on who the exemptions apply to and when they apply at http://www.savethestudent.org/accommodation/gaining-student-council-tax-exemption.html. You will need to obtain your exemption certificate from student support services at your university.
8. Plenty of mobile data in case it takes a while to get on WiFi – this is not the time for Mum and Dad to be stingy with mobile data! It may take a day or so to get hooked up to the WiFi. It is often free in halls for a certain number of devices. In private rented accommodation, it will be different.
9. Extension leads – very useful for lots of lights and gadgets but check that they are allowed. It is not usual for ANY sort of cooking equipment or small refrigerators to be allowed in bedrooms because of fire regulations so don’t waste your time or money buying them.
10. Enrolment docs and ID such as a passport and NI number – you won’t get very far without these for obvious reasons!
University essentials – the stuff
There are plenty of very comprehensive lists of what students need so I am not going to re-invent the wheel here! Below are three links that I found useful:
I do, however, remember feeling a little overwhelmed. The only advice I can give is to approach this in one of two ways. You could do it on a room by room basis. Walk around your kitchen, bathroom and your young adult’s bedroom listing what they are going to need based on each room. Alternatively, mentally work your way through a typical few days and list the ‘stuff’ that you need to get through it. It is shocking how much stuff is associated with the simplest of tasks. Take making a cup of coffee for example. You will need a kettle, cup, spoon, coffee, sugar, milk, washing up liquid, washing up bowl and tea towel! Do you see what I mean?
I think the items below are certainly university essentials:
1. Ear plugs – depends on where your halls are. In cities, they can be on the cheaper plots of land so they are close to very busy roads or train tracks. These are both nosy! Ear plugs will ensure that they get some sleep whilst they adjust.
2. Medical kit – paracetamol, plasters, mouth ulcer treatments.
3. Door stop – to keep your door open when you are in your room so that new friends can pop in and say hello.
4. Spare phone chargers and battery packs. Their phone charging lead will break, it’s a certainty so they need a spare! They will also run out of charge just when they need their phone. It’s no fun being alone at 2am in a strange city with no phone battery! Buy them a portable charger or phone charging case.
5. Multi-vitamins – there will be a huge quantity of new germs floating around and they will be emotionally and physically stressed. Even young bodies need a bit of help sometimes!
Check what is already there
University essentials will differ with halls of residence as they supply different things. Last year, my daughter’s halls of residence provided some university essentials such as an iron, ironing board, vacuum, microwave and a mattress protector. Luckily, we hadn’t opened ours so I was able to get some money back.
Things to find out before they leave home
1. Who they will be sharing with. Some halls will put you in touch with future flat or house mates. My daughter did this and found it really helpful.
2. What is going on during fresher’s week. You may need some fancy dress! My daughter needed a Bavarian outfit and a Sporty Spice outfit!
3. Where the local shops are. Where will they stock up on supplies? If its Tesco, Morrison, Co-op etc. get a loyalty card as the points will mount up. Best to know this before you get there because you may need to pop out and get some essentials you’ve forgotten when you get there!
4. Local taxi cab numbers – many unis and halls will provide you with this.
5. Important health information for students. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Studenthealth/Pages/Studenthealthhome.aspx
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