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Share with Endsleigh Insurance your tips, experiences and thoughts about sending DCs off to uni - £300 voucher to be won! NOW CLOSED

(144 Posts)
EmmaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 31-May-16 12:09:56

Going to university from home is a rite of passage that many young people go through. However, the practicality and emotion attached to DCs ‘leaving the nest’ can create scary and unexpected experiences for both parents and children; from the difficulty of fitting everything into the car (yes, bean bags and fairy light are essential!), to ‘empty nest syndrome’, and keeping in touch (whether that’s through occasional texts from DC to inform you they are still alive or via skype).

It can also be a very liberating experience for both parents and young people, especially after the stress of A Levels and concerns about getting a place.

Here’s what Endsleigh have to say: “We’re proud to remain the only insurance provider recommended by the NUS. Our range of policies insures what's important to students, from gadgets and contents to bikes and musical instruments, starting at university and into your professional life - hopefully taking away that particular concern. We'd love to hear how parents help their young people make this significant step"

Endsleigh Insurance, who specialise in insurance for students, want to hear your stories of dropping your DCs off at uni and your tips for how to not only survive but make the best of it. Whether your DC is already at university or is set to leave the nest this September, share your thoughts, concerns and top tips. Did your DCs ask you any amusing questions about living independently? What unexpected perks have you found from your DC moving out? How well do they or do you think they deal with cooking and washing for themselves? What was on the essential packing list? How did you deal with the emotion and how long did it take for you to stop laying the extra plate at the dinner table?

Please tell us about your experiences and tips you have for others below and you will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher from a store of their choice (from a list).

Thanks & good luck!


Standard T&Cs apply

BeeMyBaby Tue 31-May-16 16:32:56

Convince them to go to uni in their home town and not move out, this saving lots of money on their rent.

cavalo Tue 31-May-16 19:50:08

The start of term l

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 31-May-16 20:38:45

My DDS are in years 9 and 10 so we've got a few years before uni. We have already said that if they go to a local uni (several within reasonable commutable distance to choose from) we will be in a better position to support them financially, as the house and bills will already be covered.

There's just no way we can pay two lots of expenses and I'd hate to see them struggle.

I would like them to have the full experience though, so will be encouraging them to have one of the three years in a house/flat share. They need to learn to be independent, so I'll be teaching them to cook, pay bills and budget first.

Haffdonga Tue 31-May-16 21:04:19

Going to uni is a massive life changing rite of passage for parents.

Having just sent ds1 off to uni this year my tips would be:
- don't expect a fond farewell ceremony as you drop them at halls. You will all be shattered after weeks of shopping, organising, packing and driving. And they will be secretly terrified but trying to appear noncholant in front of new flatmates. So by the time you say goodbye you'll probably all have got irritated and snappy with each other and be glad to see the back of each other.
- don't expect them to stay gone. DS couldn't wait to leave home and was convinced he wouldn't be back before Christmas. Three weeks later he was grinning on the doorstep with a bag of dirty washing and lots of stories
- don't expect them to be the same person when they come back home. Suddenly they appreciate home cooking, their own comfy bed and their parents. They mature and even say thank you shock
- don't expect your relationship with younger siblings to stay the same. An unexpected advantage of ds1 leaving for uni is that our relationship with ds2 has changed as he has become more mature, living in a more adult atmosphere.

We miss ds like a physical pain and the world feels as it should when he's home, but it gives us incredible joy to see him maturing into a responsible, independent and HAPPY adult at uni.

CopperPan Tue 31-May-16 21:19:13

We are in London so have a big range of local unis to choose from without having to compromise on quality, but I would still support the dcs to move away if that's what they wanted.

I think it's good to provide initial financial support in ways that pay for things directly, like covering phone bills, shopping vouchers etc, rather than cash which can get frittered on all sorts of things. We've been keeping hold of household things 'for when the older ones move away' for years - so they can have my used but very good quality pans, crockery etc when I've upgraded, rather than getting cheap things that will only last a year.

voyager50 Tue 31-May-16 23:34:52

n my day very few of us had mobile phones - we made do with a pay phone in halls and email didn’t exist - these days I think it is much easier to help your children as you can be in contact easily.

They need to learn the basics of life before they go - don’t assume they know how to do the simple things, like how to use a washing machine, boil a egg (I had a uni friend who didn’t know!) or pay a bill.

Encourage them to save money by buying supermarket budget brands and looking in the reduced section and don’t go wasting money on things they will never use or eat.

If they have time to work encourage them to get a job so they don’t get in more debt than they need to.

I don’t have university age children myself so I haven’t experienced it as a parent.

MummyBtothree Wed 01-Jun-16 11:00:31

My three boys are too young just yet so may or may not have this to come as a parent. I had extremely pushy parents with high expectations of me but although we encourage our boys, I'm not going to insist on going to university if thats not the path that they choose. However, if they do choose university I would probably encourage them to attend one nearby if possible to save on expenses, we are lucky enough to have that option so it would be daft not to really.

CMOTDibbler Wed 01-Jun-16 11:12:42

My ds is only 10, but 3 out of 4 of his cousins have been through uni recently (dnephew 3 is about to graduate).
They def need to be able to cook a range of meals that are sensible prices, and have an idea of budgeting. Dnephew2 was amazed at people with no idea on how to wash their own clothes!

Sleepysausage Wed 01-Jun-16 11:12:47

My mum used to send me supermarket gift vouchers so I couldn't waste the money on clothes and nights out. I think this really helped me to eat well and stat healthy while away from home

LittlehumHams Wed 01-Jun-16 12:02:55

If they go to university a long way from home and your car is too small to fit everything there are some fantastic specialist box transport companies catering to the university market.

FeelingSmurfy Wed 01-Jun-16 12:17:04

Take an extension lead as there are never enough plugs

sharond101 Wed 01-Jun-16 12:36:07

Put money aside from a young age and encourage them to get a weekend job. Teach them to cook and meal plan and of course budget.

forkhandles4candles Wed 01-Jun-16 12:51:16

I cant imagine what it is like now. When I went to university, including a year in Europe there was no email, Skype, mobile phones. There was a payphone in halls and my parents were lucky if they heard from me once a term. Wont be like that for my DC!

lottietiger Wed 01-Jun-16 12:52:41

I wont be pushing my son to go to Uni as I didn't and have a good job, but im happy for him to go if he wants to. DH went and had to pay for himself with a weekend job so I know that he will expect the same. We have a couple of good ones locally so they would be easy but I hear that the fun is in living away from home!

Leeds2 Wed 01-Jun-16 13:54:37

DD goes this year. She can already cook, much better than me, but I will be teaching her how to use a washing machine. I am also encouraging her to get a campus job, so that she can earn her own money.

Cambam2010 Wed 01-Jun-16 15:37:03

Make sure you are able to take them on their first day at their accommodation. Its been 20 years since I went to Uni and I still remember that I had to get myself and all my stuff there as my parents had booked a holiday to Greece.

Sammyislost Wed 01-Jun-16 15:43:34

I'll encourage my children to stay in our local area, they can stay at home if they want to so they can save money. Students get ripped off way too much!

Orac Wed 01-Jun-16 15:46:43

I have one in his second year at uni and one due to go in the Autumn.
As with all parenting milestones while I have learned a lot from the first I know that the second will be different.
There are endless threads on here about what to pack so I won't repeat those.
I would say that there are a lot of people giving advice based on when they were at uni. Even if that was ten years ago things have changed in a practical sense.
For example, when DS1 went 2 years ago, someone stressed how vital it was to have a handful of passport size photographs as they would need them everywhere. Er no, it's all digital.
So much more valuable are the recent experiences of those who have DC at university and have done all this very recently.

As to cooking and washing, I taught DS to cook and shop in the summer before he went. It was not difficult and he is now quite an adventurous cook.
The home and family feels different when he is away and moves back into the old dynamic when he is home. While I miss him badly I love seeing how happy he is and watching him mature.
The hard bits have been when he has been ill and 200 miles away.
All youngsters are different but mine are both very bad at making business phone calls and dealing with officialdom, a life skill I found hard to teach them.

popperdoodles Wed 01-Jun-16 18:00:29

I am really concerned about supporting our three through uni. Unless anyone gap years they won't be any over laps thankfully. Ds 1 is very keen to go and looking at Bath which is commutable, or Exeter which is not. I think living away from home is a valuable part of the experience in some ways.
I will be making sure they all explore every educational option. With the cost of degrees being so high maybe in the future more students will study part time and work more to fund it? Would take longer to gain the degree but hopefully come out the other end with less debt?

Peebles1 Wed 01-Jun-16 19:25:25

We have two DSs at uni and the one big plus at home is the space on the shoe rack. Bliss!!

Miss them though!

imposteracademic Wed 01-Jun-16 20:14:13

Definitely agree re basic cooking skills. It amazed me how many fellow students could not cook basic stuff. Also agree re washing clothes. Surely this is normal but some of my friends did not know how to do this (or perhaps preferred to avoid it)!

Coconutty Wed 01-Jun-16 20:59:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

foxessocks Wed 01-Jun-16 22:13:06

Save up from the moment they're born!

LegoCaltrops Wed 01-Jun-16 23:19:54

Make sure they can cook a range of simple, cheap, preferably one-pot meals. Mostly vegetables - it's way cheaper & they are less likely to poison themselves with that reduced poultry they bought 2 days ago... Also, teach them to make something fancier like a roast or a decent curry - nothing like a group meal for breaking the ice at halls & making friends.

Make sure they can do their own laundry, basic mending (ie sewing a button back on properly before it completely falls off), & that they are capable of setting up a direct debit for their own bills. Also, budgeting - it seems simple but it's amazing how may of my uni friends had spent all bar about £20 of their loans within the first half of term. Mostly on booze, clothes & takeaways.

My tip for packing to go to uni, is to use underbed storage boxes - preferably the type with wheels - to transport stuff in the car. They can just go straight under the bed on arrival, & their clothes (or whatever) are all organised ready for use.

I left uni about 15 years ago. I still automatically smell the milk before using it - too many times I opened someone else's bottle in error or after obseving an odd smell, only to find it had separated or gone slightly green. Some things stay with you! envy grin

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