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The first year

When your son or daughter leaves home for the first time to attend university, it can be an upheaval for you both.

A new student has to deal with different living arrangements, managing their money and taking on new responsibilities. They may have a variety of concerns, from finding the nearest supermarket to living up to their academic expectations.

For the most part students enjoy their studies, but there are times when things do not go as expected. As a parent or guardian, understanding the pressures a new undergraduate faces is helpful both to yourself and the student. Parents and guardians who understand the ups and downs of the first year at university are better able to help their child with the transition from school or college.

Typical issues facing new students during their first year at university might include:


  • Your son or daughter will probably be excited or a little nervous about starting at university.
  • When they arrive they will want to test their new freedom and make new friends.
  • Although many students love their first few weeks at university, others experience anxiety (about making friends or the academic work, for example) and homesickness.

What can I do?

If your son or daughter is feeling homesick, let them know you sympathise but encourage them to stick it out or they may find it even more difficult to settle in. Remind them that the clubs and societies run by the Union of Kingston Students are a great way to meet people and make new friends.


  • By this point in the academic year, your son or daughter will probably have started to settle down into the routine of university life.
  • But with the dark days of winter setting in, the first rounds of colds and flu usually arrive and any irritations with flatmates may start to show.

What can I do?

Make sure your son or daughter has registered with a doctor, which will make things easier if they do feel ill. There are also some vaccines they ought to have before starting at Kingston.


  • With the first term nearly over, most students are excited about going home to see family and friends over the holidays.
  • However, they'll probably also to be sad to be leaving new friendships or relationships as well.
  • Term 1 marks are released so they may be pleased or disappointed with their academic progress.

What can I do?

If your child is disappointed with their grades, remind them that our site-based Academic Skills Centres can provide support and advice.


  • As the new year starts, students again experience the excitement/anxiety of returning to university and leaving family and friends.
  • The days are very short and cold at this time of year, which may make some students feel down.

What can I do?

If your son or daughter is finding the time of year is getting them down, remind them that the Fitness Centre includes lots of indoor dance and aerobics classes, which aren't weather dependent!


  • At this point in the academic year, many students start to experience financial worries.
  • Term 2 grades are released so your son or daughter may experience a high or a low depending on their grades.

What can I do?

If you think your son or daughter may have financial worries, remind them that there is plenty of help and advice on fees and funding, including money management talks and workshops.


  • Summer is nearly here so the days are getting longer and your son or daughter can make the most of the parks and riverside cafes in Kingston.
  • But with the end of the first year approaching, most students will experience exam pressure.
  • They may be excited about returning home for the summer or sad to be leaving new friends behind.
  • Many students also have concerns about finding accommodation for the following year, or about finding paid employment during the summer to help fund their studies.

What can I do?

Remember that the careers and employability service is available if your son or daughter needs help finding a summer job and accommodation support is available to offer advice with house-hunting.

Contact us

Kingston University
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 9000