In September, there will be hundreds of thousands of new first-year students heading off to university.

You may well have a child or grandchild among them, perhaps who you will be supporting financially while they take the next step in their education.

Of course, the university experience is well-known to be about more than just what’s learned in lectures and seminars.

Alongside their formal studies, your child or grandchild will also receive a thorough education from the “university of life” as they fly the nest and head into their new, independent lives.

While experience is often the best teacher, you can help give them a head start here by sharing some vital lessons that you’ve learned throughout your lifetime before they go.

Continue reading to discover five crucial life skills that could help set up your child or grandchild for their time at university, and beyond.

1. Budgeting and living within their means

Money has become one of the central aspects of going to university. Whether they’ve applied for student finance or you’re paying their fees and providing financial support, careful money management and budgeting are crucial skills to learn – and ones that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Impress the importance of budgeting and living within their means on your child or grandchild before they go, especially as this may be the first time in their lives that they’re dealing with these pressures.

Explain that they’ll need to balance their busy social lives with their basic costs, such as food, rent, and bills.

If you’re providing financial support, you can set ground rules here. Explain that you won’t provide more money if they overspend, so they will have to live within their means.

Alternatively, you could create a reward system instead, offering an incentive for not spending their entire allowance. For example, if they pay back some of this money each month, you could promise to double it and give it back to them when they graduate.

2. Time management

Managing time is vital in all aspects of life, and will be particularly important for your child or grandchild’s studies.

Hopefully, this will be a skill that they’ve picked up throughout their school lives. Even so, making sure that they know they will have to balance their schedules is a good lesson for them to learn so they can meet deadlines, both now and in the workplace in future.

Time management also extends to how they allocate time to studying versus socialising. Explain that there will be instances when they have to make difficult decisions around their core responsibilities and the things they really want to do.

With this awareness in the back of their minds, it might encourage your child or grandchild to make the sensible choice when these moments arise.

3. Living healthily

As a parent, you may have spent years encouraging healthy habits, from a good diet to the importance of exercise.

However, going to university is often a freeing time when your child or grandchild might start to break from the routines and habits they had at home. Alcohol in particular has become a staple of the student experience, which can be associated with a range of health issues.

So, it may be worth reminding them to balance this carefully. While this freedom will be good for them, point out that the reason you’ve taught them to be healthy is for the benefit of their mind and body.

Similarly, although alcohol could play a significant role in their social activities, encouraging caution over excessive consumption and warning of the risks involved could help to temper their drinking.

Pursuing a healthy lifestyle now could help them to continue on this positive path as they get older.

4. Being careful about what they post on social media

Social media is now an ever-present part of life, with figures from Meltwater showing that there were 57.1 million UK social media users in January 2023.

However, the danger of social media is that your child or grandchild uploads posts, images, or videos that are damaging to their image.

For example, many employers now google search candidates by name before they hire them. If your child or grandchild has posted less-than-flattering content on social media, this could harm their prospects in future.

As a result, telling them to restrain their enthusiasm when using social media could pay dividends in future.

Even if they think it’s funny in the short term, they might lose their sense of humour if they find it difficult to get in the room for job interviews as a result of something they put on their profile in their teens.

A good rule of thumb that you could suggest your child or grandchild follow is to never post anything they wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.

That way, they might think twice before putting up things that could be preventative to them in future.

5. Living and dealing with other people

University can often be a culture shock. If your child or grandchild has always preferred to keep their space clean and tidy, they may find it difficult to adjust to the messiness of others when they move into halls.

On the other hand, if you’ve had trouble with them being messy at home, they might find themselves on the receiving end of some strong words from flatmates who are fed up with your child’s pots and pans always being unwashed in the sink.

That’s why a hugely valuable lesson to teach them is in living and dealing with other people of different backgrounds and life experiences.

While you’ve likely always encouraged them to be respectful of other people and their possessions, this can be even more important when living in close proximity. Giving them a heads-up here could remind them to be even more cordial and careful, a trait that could benefit them in future.

Learning to live and deal with other people and their habits is a fundamental life skill. It will serve them well in various aspects of life, particularly in the workplace where they may have to adapt to individuals who have differing opinions or want to work in certain ways.

Get in touch

If you’d like help organising your wealth for the benefit of your family, please do speak to us at Cordiner Wealth.

Email or call 0113 262 1242 to find out more.