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Do you remember the day you saw your child wearing their first school uniform, walking through the gates of their new school? That same young child is now a young adult and about to embark on the next big chapter of life: university.

Helping your child prepare emotionally for their first year at university can have a significant impact on their psychological well-being. Knowing what to expect in the coming year can give your child the confidence they need to achieve great academic results and enjoy a positive university experience.

  1. Provide reassurance

Leaving home for the first time makes most people feel anxious and a bit nervous, as you aren’t surrounded by the friends, family and routine that you’re used to. Chat to your child about your experiences and challenges leaving school – even if you didn’t go to university. It gives you an opportunity to share concerns and excitement about this next phase of life.

  1. Discuss expectations

Personal safety, social responsibilities, monthly budgets, peer pressure, religious observance, dealing with illness, driving in taxis – there are many things you can and should discuss with your child before they leave home. These honest conversations will help your child prepare for their new life and it will give them confidence that they can handle these situations on their own.

  1. Set academic goals

How you learn at university is vastly different from how you learn at school. Students need to be self-motivated and organised to keep up with their workloads and assignments. Encourage your child to speak to their lecturer about their progress and any concerns they have. Help to set realistic academic goals that can be evaluated throughout the year and rewarded when achieved.

  1. Be supportive

This is a new – and very different – phase of life and no one expects your child to have it all figured out on day one. They’re bound to misplace an assignment, skip a class or miss a deadline during their first semester and that’s okay. Part of being a responsible adult is admitting to your mistakes and then taking steps to ensure they don’t happen again.

  1. Make it okay to ask for help

Independence is important but your child needs to know that it’s okay, and encouraged, that they ask for help if they aren’t coping. While you are just a phone call away, there are also plenty of university resources that assist with every aspect of student life. Our student support programmes are designed to help students navigate and settle in to life at Nelson Mandela University.

As a parent or guardian you’re probably feeling just as nervous as your child, but encourage them to grab this moment and make the most of it. It’s an opportunity to discover new passions, learn new skills and make lifelong friends.

We look forward to seeing your child next year and supporting them on this exciting new journey.


Posted on 25 November 2021 21:10:52

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