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  • Writer's pictureThe Parents' Guide to

What to pack when heading to university

Once your teen's got their university place, it’s time to celebrate. Enjoy the moment and make sure your child knows how pleased you are for them. After the celebrations, it’s time to prepare. They'll be moving out of home, so help them pack everything they'll need to feel comfortable in university digs.

But what will they need? It's a comprehensive list, from course materials, laptops and phones to bedding, cooking equipment and clothes plus all the appropriate paperwork such as bank accounts, TV licences, insurance and new travel passes. It will make their life easier if they have everything they need at the start of term and you'll probably feel more comfortable knowing they are well-prepared, so help them plan ahead.

Getting a good night's sleep is vital, so make sure they've got comfortable bedding - whether they're moving into university halls or renting accommodation away from campus. Duvet, pillows, sheets and covers can make all the difference to sleeping well. Don't forget, although most halls of residence provide students with single standard size beds, arrangements may differ - so it is always worth checking before buying bedding whether they'll need single or double sizes.

Hopefully your teen will want to cook once in a while, but keep to the basics when it comes to kitchen utensils. They don't need oodles of pans and crockery, but a good hob to oven dish for casseroles and stews will let them cook in bulk to freeze batches later. Not only could this help with budgeting, it will also encourage them to eat home-made food more often, as they'll have meals that can easily be reheated to hand. A pan to boil/fry on the hob, something for the microwave, and a few utensils to mix, stir and serve should be enough. Try to purchase items which are easily identifiable - bright colours or patterns will help your child keep track of what's theirs.

Make sure they've got everything they need for their study, including laptops, chargers, text books and stationery. Don't forget, they'll also need to have the right clothes with them to dress appropriately. This may not be as straightforward as it seems for those who've spent the last seven years wearing school uniforms!

If you are helping your child move in, factor in some time for a trip to the local shopping centre for any last minute purchases. This is less about milk and cereal, and more about some to clean up with - whether that's bleaching the loo, washing up in the kitchen or cleaning work tops and shelves.


Essential items not to forget:

Important documents

  • Passport

  • Driving licence

  • All university and accommodation correspondence

  • Insurance documents

  • Bank details


  • Laptop and chargers

  • Mobile phone

  • USB stick

  • Headphones

  • Extension cables

Stationery and course books


  • Cutlery and crockery

  • Kitchen utensils

  • Recipe books

  • Cooking equipment

  • Some favourite snacks


  • Coat hangers

  • Duvet, pillow, mattress protector and sheets

  • Wash kit

  • Photographs of family & friends


We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy, Vanessa and Darius -


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