It can be an exciting and daunting time for you as parents when your student starts university. Some students settle quickly and you can relax knowing they are enjoying student life. Others may not adjust so well and you may be concerned that they are not making friends, enjoying student life or doing well in their studies. It can be very hard for parents to know that their student is unhappy and feel powerless to help.
We also appreciate that in the current global context you may have additional questions about the University of Bath’s approach to Covid safety. Our Covid-19 student advice page is updated regularly. Please check this for updates and links to support information and safety guidance.
Preparing for university life
Helping our students prepare for university:
Read our student pages. Make sure you are familiar with the range of services the University offers for your student, so you can signpost and encourage them.
There are a number of practical ways that you can help your student prepare for their life at university:
Cooking: teach them how to cook. Start with two to three simple recipes they can cook for themselves and others, which can help them make new friends.
Laundry: teach them how to do their laundry. It's a simple and essential life-skill – and it saves your own time.
Healthcare: teach them where to get over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions, how to register and book a GP appointment and how to navigate the NHS if they're unwell. Make sure they have had vaccinations for MenACWY (meningitis) and MMR (your current doctor will be able to arrange these).
Budget: plan a budget for food shopping and other essentials. Instead of organising food delivery, let them learn for themselves how to shop sensibly. Useful financial tips for students are available at the blackbullion website.
First aid: teach them basic first aid and provide them with a small kit containing essentials like plasters, bandage/dressings, paper stitches and painkillers (make sure they know how to take them).
Parental contacts: agree and plan in advance how often you'll contact each other, and which medium you'll use, such as weekly phone calls or WhatsApp every other day. Allow some flexibility and don’t expect daily contacts, so you won't get stressed if they oversleep and don’t check in.
Student money advice
Parental contribution to maintenance costs
When you submit details of your household income to Student Finance they will look at the level of your income along with your circumstances, such as the number of dependents you have, in order to calculate your student’s Maintenance Loan entitlement, as well as the level of financial contribution you as parents or sponsors are asked to make towards your student’s maintenance costs. This parental/sponsor contribution is often overlooked as there is limited information available but you can speak to your respective Student Funding Agency for more information about this.
A change to your household income
When Student Finance are assessing your household income they will use the household income figures for the previous tax year e.g. for academic year 20/21 Student Finance will use household income details for tax year 18/19. If your household income has dropped by 15% or more since the previous tax year, Student Finance should reassess your student’s funding application based on your current income and they may be entitled to additional maintenance loan. You will need to complete a Current Year Income Assessment Form (CYI) in order to do this.
Additional financial support
If your student encounters financial difficulties whilst at University they can contact Student Money Advice for advice and guidance about this.
Worrying about your student
There may be times when you are worried about your student (this is natural and inevitable); they may not have responded to your most recent message or have missed a few of your calls. While there is usually a good reason for this we appreciate it may be worrying and it is important you know what you can expect from us.
There are a range of people in the University who are here to support your student if they are struggling to succeed in their chosen course or with any aspect of student life.
You can help by urging them to seek support early:
- Wellbeing Service
- Disability Support
- Counselling and Mental Health
- Student Money Advice
- GP for health concerns
If you have concerns
If you have any concerns or your student is reluctant to seek help you can ring the Wellbeing Service to speak to a member of our team on 01225 383838 or for out of hours support you can contact the security team on 01225 385349.
The team will take details, listen to you and offer general advice. We always follow up on concerns, check on student’s welfare and provide any support that is needed. In most cases we will also gently nudge your student to respond to you.
Our duty of care and confidentiality
Please remember that, whilst we can receive your concerns, we cannot share any information about your student without their explicit authority. The University of Bath respects students as independent adult learners and is obligated under the Data Protection Act 1998 to hold your student’s personal data confidentially. This may be frustrating for you, but we ask you to respect the limitations placed on us by law.
Please be assured that the University takes its duty of care responsibilities for your student seriously and if, at any time, there are serious concerns for the wellbeing or safety of your student there are robust safeguarding measures in place.
We will work with your student to ensure support is in place and this may include encouraging and helping them to share challenges with you. However, if we have serious concerns about their welfare we will contact the student’s nominated Emergency Contact even without their permission in order to ensure that their safety is protected.
Links and resources
We recommend the following resources:
- Leapskills – parent & supporter edition, developed by Unite students this guide helps you support your student with blended learning
- Five things every student & their parent should know – by Martin Lewis (moneysavingexpert.com)
- Safe student online– expert advice on digital safety
- Let’s Talk About It – online safety
- Student Space – is a collaborative mental health programme to support students through the unique circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic
- Families Under Pressure - parenting tips and tricks formulated by researchers and NHS mental health experts
- Doctors of the World - parenting guidance available in 27 languages
- Young Minds - specific guidance on young persons behaviour and mental health
- Royal College of Psychiatrists - information about the process of adolescence and how the challenges which arise can be managed
- Charlie Waller Trust - mental health resources, training and support for parents.