Do I need a TV Licence at university and other important questions is a paid collaborative post with TV Licence (TVL) for their Uni Checklist. We have been challenged to take part in the TVL Family Quiz – The Student Edition and with one son at university and the other in his second year of A Levels and applying for university, this couldn’t have come at a better time for us as a family.
Attending university is a massive step for parents and children, and I know I am a little concerned. Not about the coursework or anything academic but more about laundry, food, and general wellbeing!
Your child going off to university is a massive step for any parent. Up until this stage, most children have been part of the family nest and had the full support and experience of their parents. It is quite a big shock to go from a cosseted home to halls and even more so if moving into rented accommodation. For many children, it will be their first taste of independent living. So apart from the obvious things such as learning to cook or budgeting on their student loan, what else do students need to know?
How Well do you know your Children?
Let’s start with the fun bit – we had a bit of a “how well do you know me quiz” where we compared answers to some questions about university and my kids time there and what they think it is going to be like. My children are chalk and cheese with one a lark and one a night owl, one super sporty and one a social animal, one of them a foodie and the other not!
What item from home are you most likely to take with you?
Maxi – Xbox!
I will be sending them off with a homemade quilt each.
How many times a week will you call home?
Maxi – None
Mini – Once
I will ask for one call a week
How many of your lectures will you attend?
Maxi – All
Mini – three quarters.
At least Mini is honest!
How long do you spend watching TV shows in a week (in hours)?
Maxi – 15
Mini – 5 hours.
Mini will spend more time playing football manager than watching TV. Maxi loves binge watching a series.
How would you navigate cleaning halls with housemates?
Maxi – I have no idea; I like it clean – everyone does their own room and whoever makes the mess cleans it.
Mini – Let them do it (I make the mess).
Yep, exactly as I thought!
How much will you budget for food each month?
Maxi – £100
Mini – £85.
Both the boys can cook and know their way around Aldi!
What is the first meal you cook at university going to be?
Maxi – Chicken and rice
Mini – Super noodles.
Maxi wants to take an air fryer to university with him.
What clubs/societies will you/did you join in fresher’s week?
Maxi – Football
Mini – None
Mini will be all about the drinking and socialising and Maxi about getting into the Uni football team.
What is your best money-saving tip?
Maxi – Bulk buy food and make your own food
Mini – Don’t save it spend it!
What is your best stress-busting tip?
Maxi – Playing Xbox
Mini – Sleeping
Mini will sleep whenever he is stressed, anxious or just bored and Maxi will be found on the Xbox.
If you had a 9 am lecture, what time would you go to sleep the night before?
Maxi – Midnight
Mini – 11.30pm
Mini will not go to bed as he will be worried that he won’t wake up!
I have to say that I pretty much guessed their answers (after 18 and 17 years you know your children, warts and all). All I can hope is that both of my boys have a fabulous time if they choose to go to university.
Things to Know before starting University
Now on to the serious stuff! University is such a big step up and as a parent it can be tempting to sort everything out for your children, however, letting them research and sort things out is so much better for them in the long term. So apart from the obvious things such as learning to cook or budgeting on their student loan, what else do students need to know?
Do I need to register with a new GP?
If like most students you spend more weeks at University than at any other address, yes you do. You can find a GP near your university online. It makes sense to get a prescription for any medication just before you move to tide you over until you register for a new GP. If you fall ill at home during the holidays then you can receive emergency treatment for 14 days at GP any longer you will need to register as a temporary resident.
How much does a load of washing cost in a laundrette on average?
About £4 for a standard load, however, if you are in halls many of them have laundry rooms that cost less. Getting into a routine with laundry rather than just bringing it all home unwashed will mean that you never run short on things to wear for those student nights out. But you might want to make sure you have more socks and underwear than you need so that when you do wash you have a full load.
How often should you change your bed sheets/towel?
I guess this really depends on the child. I have one that changes his bedding at home once a week and I have another that would leave it until they walked to the machine themselves! Ideally, once a week is recommended for bedsheets and towels, but make sure you remind any inexperienced with doing their own laundry that duvets only need washing seasonally and you are talking about duvet covers!
On which shelf in the fridge is meat typically stored?
Even if your child is in catered halls, they will still have the option of sharing a small kitchen with fellow students. My eldest is opting for self-catered accommodation, so it is important that he understands what goes where in a fridge, in addition to labelling all his food. Initially, he said that he would just have a shelf and keep all his food on one shelf. Meat should be stored on the bottom shelf to prevent contamination, but not in the salad drawer – Sometimes you have to spell things out!
Do I need A TV Licence in Halls?
All of us knew the answer to this one – Yes.
You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or streamed live on an online TV service. And that’s not just the BBC; it’s all channels on any platform and on any device. You also need to be covered to watch BBC iPlayer. TVL has an excellent guide which even includes how to claim back any excess paid for your licence if you move.
In halls of residence, you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you plan on watching live TV in your room. But the biggest benefit for students who buy a licence for the year is that when they go home at the end of the academic year, they can apply for a refund for the unused time! This means, they can claim a refund on any months they didn’t use their TV Licence if they live in their student accommodation for less than 12 months.
Do I need any Vaccinations?
“Fresher” students going to university for the first time should make sure they’ve had the MenACWY (sometimes called the Nimerix vaccine) vaccine to prevent meningitis and septicaemia. Many will have already had it at 17/18 years of age with their local GP, but you might have slipped through the net. You also need to check if you have had your two doses of the MMR vaccine (Mumps, Measles and Rubella).
Where can I get Mental Health Support?
Attending University is a massive step and mentally can have its challenges from home sickness to low mood, so it is important not to know where you can access mental health advice. Student Minds is UK’s student mental health charity. You can also check if your university has student night line services, which is a confidential, anonymous, non-judgmental, non-directive and non-advisory support service run by students for students.
Do I have to buy Contraception?
Contraception and condoms are free for everyone from any GP or family planning clinic. They are also available from the local sexual health service at your university.
If you have a child going to university then check out our University Packing Checklist.