Starting university: information for parents

Starting university is an exciting yet daunting time for students and we know you’ll want to help your son or daughter be as prepared as they can for studying with us.

During their university journey, some students might worry about money, struggle with homesickness and question whether they made the right decision to come here in the first place. There’s lots of support available to help students when these worries arise and by knowing some of the issues they’re facing and what support is available, you can also help them cope with these pressures.

We hope you can find the answer to your questions below, but if you still have worries or want to know more, please email us at icentre@aru.ac.uk.

Concerns about your child

As your child is over the age of 18, we won’t be able to provide you with specific details about their progress, or other personal matters. We understand this might be difficult as you’ll be used to receiving information about their progress, but under the Data Protection Act, unless we have received express permission, we can’t share any information with you or other third parties.

But please be assured, if your son or daughter is struggling, we are here to support them. If you think they might need specialist support or advice, please direct them to Student Services and/or their Personal Development Tutor.

Welcome Buddies

All new undergraduate and postgraduate research students are allocated a Welcome Buddy – a current student from their course or area of study who will become a friendly face around campus and help them settle in. Welcome Buddies are there to signpost students to further support, share their university experience and help with any first year nerves.

Before arrival

There are a number of things we ask students to do before they arrive. You might want to check with your son or daughter if they’ve completed all of the following tasks.

  1. Have they registered online? They will need to register online before starting.
  2. Have they prepared their photo and documents for their Student ID card? They can upload their photo to the student ID card page, and they’ll need to bring their passport or birth certificate and a form of photo ID to collect their card.
  3. Have they completed the online induction, Into ARU? This online guide gives them essential information about their course and what support is available to them.
  4. Do they know about their first day? Students need to find out about how to access their online course induction and make sure they attend all the sessions.
  5. Have they found about Welcome events and activities? It's important that new students attend as many welcome events as possible to help them make friends and settle into university life.
  6. Have they joined our social media networks? Encourage your son or daughter to get involved with ARU before they arrive. They can take a look around our Welcome webpages, download our app and join our Facebook group to start making contact with other students before they arrive.
  7. Have they thought about what they need to bring with them? If they’re moving into student accommodation, have a look at our suggestions for what to bring.

August

  • Worried about making friends and fitting in
  • Nervous about leaving home for the first time
  • Worried about managing their money

What you can do

  • Encourage them to join our social networking sites and get chatting online to other students
  • Tell them to look at our Accommodation webpages to help them prepare for independent living
  • Point them towards our Money Advice Service which provides money management online resources

September

  • Worried about making friends and fitting in
  • Homesickness
  • Questioning if they've chosen the right course
  • Worried about managing their money

What you can do

  • Encourage them to contact their Welcome Buddy and share how they are feeling
  • Whether they're living at home or in student accommodation, encourage them to take part in the events and activities planned during Welcome Week to help them make friends, socialise and feel part of ARU
  • If your son or daughter is feeling homesick encourage them to get involved in clubs and societies, sport and wellbeing events. Our Counselling and Wellbeing Service runs settling-in sessions and can offer 1-2-1 support.
  • If they feel they've chosen the wrong course, encourage them to speak with their Personal Development Tutor or get in touch with Student Services to discuss possible options. It's important they don’t stop attending as this will cause issues with their funding
  • Encourage them to stick to a budget. Our Student Money Advice Service runs money management sessions as part of Welcome Week and will run various activities throughout the year to encourage students to manage their money. ARU Temps can also help students find temporary or part-time work.

October/November

  • Doubts about their academic ability as they start to take their first assessments
  • Difficulties managing independent living and workload
  • Issues with sharing accommodation may be starting to show
  • May get 'freshers' flu' or other colds and bugs as winter starts

What you can do

  • Encourage your son or daughter to look at our Study Skills Plus webpages and attend workshops to help with time management and academic skills. Support is also there to help students exceed their academic expectations
  • If there are issues with fellow housemates, encourage your son or daughter to contact Residential Services
  • Make sure they have registered with a local doctor. If they are studying in Cambridge they should register with our medical centre on campus
  • If your son or daughter is still not feeling settled, encourage them to contact their Personal Development Tutor or Student Services

December/January

  • Overwhelmed with writing assignments or taking exams
  • Returning home for the December vacation period can be difficult for some students who have become used to independent living
  • Unsettled about returning to university after a long break

What you can do

  • Encourage your son and daughter to attend a time management session with Study Skills Plus. This will help them plan their assignments so that they're manageable
  • Try to be understanding that they may not have the time to be in contact with you as much during this busy time
  • Talk to your son or daughter when they return home about any expectations you and they have
  • Encourage them to talk to the Personal Development Tutor or Student Services. If they are feeling really down and unsettled suggest they contact our Counselling and Wellbeing service

February

  • Not wanting to return to university after the long break
  • Disappointed with their first assessment results

What you can do

  • Tell them it’s not unusual to feel like they want to stay at home but encourage them to return and ask for help from Student Services if they're really thinking of not coming back
  • Encourage them to talk to their Personal Development Tutor about their academic progress. Staff will be able to support students to make improvements

March/April

  • Money worries while waiting for their loan payment

What you can do

  • If you think your son or daughter may be having money problems, remind them about our Student Money Advice Service which offers help and advice on money management. Also remind them to register with ARU Temps which can help them secure part-time work

May/June

  • Overwhelmed with writing assignments or taking exams
  • May be excited about returning home but sad about leaving friends
  • Worried about finding accommodation for next year
  • Worried about finances over the summer break
  • Unsettled about returning to university after a long break

What you can do

  • Remind your son or daughter about our Study Skills Plus service which can help them plan their assignments and manage their revision
  • Encourage them to contact our Residential Services which can offer advice with house hunting, and holds events to help students find housemates
  • Suggest that they register with ARU Temps for summer work
  • Tell them it's not unusual to feel unsettled, and encourage them to contact Student Services if they're really struggling with coming back

Have a look at our Student Services webpages for an overview of all the support we offer.

Key dates

The academic year is split into the main arrivals weekend, Welcome Week, teaching weeks, exam periods and vacations. Our courses are taught on a trimester basis. Any variations to these dates will be published in the course handbook.

To see the key trimester dates, please visit our preparing for university page.

Personal Development Tutor

All students are given a Personal Development Tutor (PDT) who is an academic member of staff. They can help your son or daughter with any academic-related issues or refer on to specialist services if necessary.

Student Services

We have a great deal of support for students. From academic study skills support, support for disabled students, money and funding advice, counselling and wellbeing support and much more. Encourage your child to take a look at our Student Services pages and contact our specialist advisers.

Urgent concerns

If you have serious concerns about your child’s wellbeing, please contact Student Services during office hours on 01245 686700, or call Security outside working hours on 01245 493131 or 01223 363271.

We’ll investigate your concern. Please be aware we won’t be able to inform you of the outcome but will encourage your son or daughter to contact you directly.

Before they arrive
Wellbeing at university
Disability support

Student accommodation

Providing help with life at university, including finding a home which is friendly, comfortable and safe

Student accommodation

Fees and funding

Find out more about paying for university with our guide to student loans and finance.

Help with finances

The application process

How to apply to university as an undergraduate student, including key dates and deadlines.

How to apply

Careers and employability

Read about the career support available to students at ARU.

Our careers and employability services

About us

ARU is an innovative global university with students from 185 countries coming to study with us.

Why choose ARU?
Open Days at ARU: come and explore