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Not an empty nest. What works best when the nest gains a student and loses a sixth former?
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Fortysix · 03/02/2015 11:18

It's looking almost certain that my eldest child will firm a university course in her home city because the course content, the facilities and the Year 3 exchange opportunities are the best match for her...

She will be an hour door-to-door by public transport with a ten minute frequency of service during the day and 30 minutes at night. University accommodation that might become available to students who live within 25 miles when the course starts is likely to be expensive and in the most depressing of locations... a friend's sister went down this route in September and has told her it was a mistake.

Ideally she wanted to be in halls to make friends but is saying that she'll probably stay at home. I 've not ruled out her finding private accommodation from the start but she's not mad keen on this. The Year 3 option is likely to be in Australia, USA, Japan etc so it would be good to have money saved for wider travel opportunities.

She has a Saturday job and hasn't passed her driving test yet. The majority of her friends will be heading away to uni although she hasn't a huge circle.

I don't have a question as such I'm just wondering if others who have been here already could mark my card. We have a good relationship but I am aware that she is a young adult and she needs less and less input from me so I'm also looking for wisdom on stepping back.

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PeaStalks · 03/02/2015 12:37

Not sure how helpful this is but DS's GF got a place at a uni less than an hour's drive away. She has chosen to go into halls at least for the first year in order to fully experience uni life. In her case though, the university is in a city and she lives in a rural village. I would think that if you already live in a city the change from sixth form to uni is much less dramatic.
Some unis give accommodation priority to those that firm and second choice to insurance and late comers.

DS1 is my first to go off to uni. He is 200 miles away in halls and his old college friends are scattered around the UK. He has changed and grown up unimaginably in 6 months as have his friends. I suspect the main reason for that is living away from home.

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Leeds2 · 03/02/2015 14:23

No experience, but my niece did this. Very happy, good degree etc but SIL always felt her DD missed out on the uni "experience". A few years down the line, my niece agrees with her mum!

A friend's DH also did this, as he was sponsored through uni by a local firm who he worked for during holidays etc. He loved living at home, and having more money. Travelled widely with work, and now lives on the other side of the world. By which I think I mean that just because he chose to stay at home until 21, it hasn't stopped him moving out of that comfort zone.

Fwiw, I will not be encouraging my DD to live at home.

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mewkins · 03/02/2015 14:31

I did this as grew up in London and the course and uni I wanted were at a London uni. I made friends with lots of others doing the same (or who were mature students and had their own homes anyway). I then did a postgrad course for a year about as far away as I could have chosen! I enjoyed both and tbh was more ready to leave home at 21 than at 18.

The biggest bonus was leaving with no debt (in the days when your fees were paidfor you) and a degree from a good uni. And not having to live in particularly grim part of London. I still had plenty of friends at home, made some new ones and also socialised with people I worked with at the weekends. My parents just let me get on with it.

Postgraduate halls were good (people were knuckling down to work, occassional party, people had grown up a bit).

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Fortysix · 03/02/2015 17:28

We haven’t been encouraging her to stay local.
She had a major about turn in career choice a year ago and opted to apply to a course which just happens to be highly rated and located in her home city. Prior to this we had visited the likes of Durham, London, Edinburgh etc to start to give her an idea.

In fact in summer 2011 and 2013 when we were on holiday in the US we dropped by some of the university campuses in California to encourage her to think of an exchange year and be motivated to travel. That bit worked! And that’s why courses with a year away option have been a big factor. For her I think it is more important to be able to go away for a whole year to a different continent than go to another UK city.

Reading some other threads about studying abroad has made me realise that her 'way' is quite a mature way.

So I'm thinking that leaving her to get on with it is the way to go but know that living at home isn't quite what I thought would happen if I am honest.

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Bonsoir · 05/02/2015 08:26

He has changed and grown up unimaginably in 6 months as have his friends. I suspect the main reason for that is living away from home.

The same thing happened to DSS1 when he went away to university. Many (most?) of his peers from school stayed at home because they have gone to university or Prépa locally (in Paris). There is, 18 months on, a world of difference in terms of maturity between them.

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Fortysix · 05/02/2015 11:33

I can't disagree with anyone here.

PeaStalk suggesting her DS's GF has a plan for the first year is something I will raise with my DD.

Leeds2 I can see me thinking the same as your SIL but my hands are tied because the course she is set on is fairly specialised and she doesn't have an offer from a university outwith her home city. It's take it or defer.The good thing however is that at the end of the degree most of them go straight into employment in their chosen field.

Mewkins I am hoping her experiences will be like yours. She'll be 20 going on 21 when she is away on her third year industry/ exchange and I would imagine that for a whole year she won't came back to the UK choosing to travel instead.

There is an option to do a Masters in her fifth year again six months of which has to be away from her University. This year's students have chosen to go to the likes of Sweden, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

Bonsoir Do you think by the time the students get to say 23 or 24 there is no longer such a marked difference in maturity? Surely the stay-at-homers eventually catch up? Changing subjects/ career plan has meant that my DD won't get to push the 'fast forward' button to maturity straight away but in the longer term do you think it will hugely matter? Presumably your DSS1 recognises that his peers haven't been away from home but he will still relate very well to them and maintain his friendshiop?

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Notsoskinnyminny · 05/02/2015 18:26

DS and most of his friends went to the nearest uni and lived at home. I wanted him to go into halls (plenty of private halls) to get the full uni experience but he was and still is a homebird and decided to stay at home.

DDs course wasn't available locally but regardless she was going into halls. She and me had a grim time for the first 4 months, she hated her course and her flatmates even more, but when she finally made friends and started telling DS what they got up to he said he regretted not moving out as he only socialised with his local friends and probably would've studied more if he'd been closer to the libraries etc. I resisted the urge to tell him he might've got to all his lectures as well because he missed loads DD always snitched on him due to getting up late/missing the train. In his partial defence we're a 25 min walk from the station and then there are 2 trains 7 mins apart and none til the next hour but he should've been more responsible/organised.

With hindsight he wasn't mature enough for uni (late August baby) but I wonder if like PeaStalks and Bonsoir say it would've done him good to move out and forced him to grow up/make new friends.

BTW DDs in private halls and local students aren't restricted from renting the way they can be by uni halls. DD says hers is bigger, and better equipped, than the uni flats so it might be worth seeing what's available and arranging a visit.

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Bonsoir · 05/02/2015 19:49

It's hard to say. In our case, my DP stayed at home until he married (at 25) the girl he met at 20, who also lived at home until her mid-20s. DP is intensely envious of the freedom I had in my youth and believes he wouldn't have married/divorced so young if he had been able to find himself by leaving home at 18+.

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Fortysix · 05/02/2015 20:49

notso I will get her to explore private halls. That's a good tip, thanks.
bonsoir She in effect is leaving home at 20 so fingers crossed she'll not be in a serious relationship by thenWink.

I've been discussing with her a taxi account especially for fresher's week.

Her Dad is suggesting we put away £250 a month in lieu of accommodation and set it aside to give her as a cushion for her Exchange year. Is this what many families do?

On balance I guess she will have less freedom until she is 20 but I suspect she will have more opportunity once she gets to third year as she'll be able to more readily afford the long haul exchange opportunities.

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mewkins · 06/02/2015 13:49

The course sounds perfect then for staying at home for the first year or so and be ready to travel and experience lots in a few years time. The semesters fly by anyway.

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madeinkent · 07/02/2015 10:59

DD had a problem with this, as on her course they had to collaborate a fair bit. The others would all go back to their rooms and meet up again in the evening to thrash things out later in a quiet pub, she would be left kicking her heels with no nearby base of her own to chill out and eat in. She wished she had lived more locally in the end, no trains in that area and busses ended quite early, so moved into a house the following year. It was an hour away for her too, but she found the travelling really hard, having to write essays in a dark bus station because one had been cancelled, waiting for over an hour for me to collect her if they didn't run at all - commuting eventually became a nightmare for her and stressful for all of us.

DS was encouraged to go away whether he liked it or not! He loves it.

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