top of page
  • Writer's pictureBenella

How to navigate your child going to university/college - the ultimate guide and checklist

Leaving home for the first time - what will they need?

Watching your child step into the world of higher education is a momentous occasion for any parent. As they embark on this new chapter, ensuring they're well-equipped and prepared becomes a top priority. From practical room necessities to academic essentials and emotional support, this blog post is here to assist you to help guide you through the process of readying your child for university life. Please share with other friends or family who also have children heading off.

*This post may contain affiliate links which don't cost you a penny but pay a commission to this site.

I remember the day so well, my son got his place at University in the UK and was so excited to be off on his academic adventure. I meanwhile was a mess with my first born leaving home and the realisation I had to make sure he had everything ready for his new halls/dorm room. Oh and how I was going to miss him!

my top tips for what they will need:

1. Nurturing Their New Space: Halls/Dorm Essentials - Helping your child set up their new dorm room or accommodation with a touch of comfort is crucial:

  • Bedding: Mattress protector, duvet, fitted sheets and bedding, pillows and cosy blankets for a reminder of home comforts.

  • Storage Solutions: Under-bed storage boxes, hanging organisers and foldable crates.

  • Study Area: A task light, stationery and desk organisers for focused study sessions.

  • Personal Items: Family photos, wall art and decor to make it feel like home.

2. Academic Gear: Setting Them Up for Success - Encourage your child's academic journey by making sure they have the right tools at hand:

  • Laptop or PC: A reliable device for research, assignments and online learning.

  • Notebooks and Stationery: A selection of notepads, pens, highlighters and sticky notes.

  • Rucksack: A comfortable backpack for carrying books, laptops and other essentials.

  • Course Materials: Consider options like digital books or used copies to manage costs.

3. Kitchen and Food Basics: Encouraging Healthy Living - Equip your child with kitchen essentials to promote balanced eating. I also highly recommend using the summer to teach them how to cook basic meals if they do not already do it - cheese on toast will only get them so far after the first week:

  • Cooking Basics: Pots, pans, utensils, and microwave-safe containers.

  • Mini Fridge: An appropriately sized fridge for storing perishables and snacks.

  • Food Storage: Reusable containers for leftovers, packed lunches and meal prep.

  • Food Essentials: Stock up on non-perishable items and quick meal ingredients.

  • Basic cleaning items: Dustpan and brush, cleaning wipes and bathroom cleaner.

4. Self-Care and Hygiene: Prioritising Well-being - Encourage your child to establish self-care routines for their well-being. Lessons on how to sort washing/laundry and how to use the machine would be beneficial here also:

  • Bathroom: Towels, toiletries, and grooming essentials.

  • First Aid Supplies: Basic medical items for minor health needs.

  • Laundry Must-Haves: Laundry basket, detergent, and fabric conditioner.

  • Medication: If required, ensure they have an ample supply of prescribed medicines plus of course painkillers and rehydration sachets for those party nights!

  • A personal alarm: This may help some with a sense of security.

5. Emotional Support and Resources: Staying Connected - The emotional transition to university life can be daunting. Be there for your child and guide them to the right resources:

  • Stay Connected: Schedule regular catch-ups to discuss how they are.

  • Campus Services: Familiarise them with counselling services, academic advisors and student support networks.

  • Financial Wisdom: Educate them on budgeting and managing finances effectively.

  • Pursuing Passions: Encourage them to explore campus clubs and activities.

6. The Complete University Checklist: A Stress-Free Approach - Leveraging my expertise as a professional organiser and a parent whose child has now graduated, I've curated a comprehensive checklist to simplify the preparation process. Remember that much of what you purchase for them stays with them after graduation and goes to their future home.

My free checklist is here to download.

All the recommended items are conveniently listed on my Amazon storefront.

Sending your child off to University/College is a moment of pride for every parent but can also be daunting. When my son didn't answer his phone or texts for several days I asked him to send me a sign he was alive - I received a voice recording of him breathing for 10 seconds! (Love their warped sense of humour) However it is great to see them thrive and do well as they spread wings on this new stage of life and by ensuring they have the right essentials, you're helping them at this exciting time. As they step into this new phase, remember that your unwavering support and guidance will make all the difference in their university adventure.


bottom of page