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Read the guidance

Encourage your child to read the pages on this website. They may also wish to read the UCS self-help leaflet on managing transition to University and the Student Minds guidance, Know Before You Go is also very informative.

You may find it helpful to read the section explaining the key aspects of College and other pastoral support available to students.

Talk to them

Talk to them about how they are feeling. Helping them to focus on the positives whilst allowing them to share any worries will hopefully ensure they have realistic expectations about what moving away from home and coming to Cambridge will be like. It is absolutely natural to feel nervous, excited and sad about leaving home all at the same time and it’s important that they realise this is a perfectly normal response to their situation and part of becoming an independent adult.

Help them to develop practical skills

An essential part of being an independent adult is developing and using basic practical skills such as cooking, laundering clothes, cleaning, budgeting, structuring the day. Supporting your child to learn these skills before they come to Cambridge will help to give them confidence in their ability to cope and take care of themselves.

Help them plan for success

If your child has been offered a place at Cambridge they will have demonstrated that they are extremely academically able. However, thriving at University often depends as much on how a student manages their transition - and the increased independence and expectation that this brings - as it does on their academic ability. There is lots of advice on this website and support available to help students make this transition as smoothly as possible and it will be important for you to instil in your child the need for balance, healthy living and time for themselves to help them to flourish at Cambridge.

Manage expectations

Avoid the phrase "these are the best years of your life." No one is happy all of the time and this is particularly unlikely to be the case during a period of significant personal growth and transition. Everyone will have a slightly different University experience and your child will inevitably find some times at Cambridge harder than others. It is important that they realise that ups and downs are to be expected and that this is entirely normal.

Having chosen to come to Cambridge, there is no doubt that the academic expectations will be high and the workload significant. Making the adjustment to University-level study will bring with it challenges that your child may not have encountered before, including making the adjustment from being top of the class at school to being amongst one of many bright students at University.  It is, however, important to realise that everyone will be making the same transition and experiencing similar feelings of uncertainty that accompanies that. Preparing your child for this academic jump will therefore be key. 

Ensure support is in place before arrival

If your child is disabled or has a long term health condition, we would strongly encourage them to disclose this to the University on application, or as early as possible prior to arrival to ensure that all the relevant support arrangements can be put in place in advance and help to make the transition to Cambridge as smooth as possible. It is worth noting that if your child's disability or health condition might have implications for their living arrangements, College accommodation is often in high demand and late notification of a disability and reasonable adjustments with respect to accommodation and/or location can be very challenging to implement late on in the process. Visit the Disability Resource Centre website for more details about disclosure and support available.