Starting university is a big step in students' lives, but it can mean many changes for their families too. Whilst it is important to recognise every student as an individual, we know that for many, their parents and carers will play a key role in supporting them throughout their studies.
Parents' and Carer' Welcome Address
Launched just in time for the big (or not so big) move, our Parents' and Carers' Welcome Address is an opportunity to hear from senior staff across Student Services, Student Living, the Guild of Students, and academics. The 2023 Address will be released on Facebook and YouTube just before Arrivals Weekend - keep an eye out for them.
What to expect
Our ever popular Understanding the first year resource was developed with students and parents, and works through some of the key moments in students' first year of studies, from nerves around moving in, to first assignments and thinking about accommodation for their second year. Getting a feel for what to expect will help you to guide your student and to feel more prepared for what's coming up.
For a more in-depth look at the run up to starting in September, our Welcome Timeline sets out important deadlines and useful information for students to help them track where they are up to.
Parents' and Guardians' Facebook Group
Our Facebook group for parents and guardians provides an opportunity to meet other families, share tips and advice, ask questions, and discover everything you need to know about life at Birmingham. The group is for all families, guardians and parents with a current student studying at the University of Birmingham.
Join the Facebook group
Arrivals Weekend and moving in
Arrivals Weekend is one of the busiest weekends on campus each year. Arrivals Weekend is open to family and friends too. You can check out the Welcome Fair, enjoy the atmosphere, and explore campus. We encourage you to come down, with or without your student. Find out more about Arrivals Weekend.
We know that many parents and guardians help their student move into university accommodation, and will be keen to know the details! You can find out more about moving into accommodation, but our top tips especially for you:
- Try not to pack too much - it's tempting to provide everything you can possibly think of, but space in student rooms is limited and there are plenty of shops nearby to stock up on anything your student finds they need. Our packing list provides some useful suggestions.
- Follow their lead - some students will want you to stick around and help then get settled, whilst others may prefer to be left to get on with it. They might not know how they feel until they arrive, or might change their minds! Plan to be flexible and try to follow their lead in deciding how long to stay for.
- Take a deep breath - remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Try not to panic if it feels like your student hasn't settled in the first couple of days, it's entirely normal for students to take a while to settle in and feel at home. Encourage them to keep going to Welcome events and remind them that everyone is feeling the same way, even if some people are better at hiding it.
Not all students will be moving into accommodation. If your student is going to be commuting from home, there are still plenty of things to think about. Our commuting students information provides some useful tips and advice, and remember that Arrivals Weekend is open to all. Find out if your student would like you to come with them, or encourage them to bring a friend if they don't feel confident coming alone.
Supporting your student
Understanding what to expect is the first step in supporting your student, but it can be useful to understand the range of support available in case your student needs it so that you can encourage them to make use of the options available to them.
Support for students
We also have some specific information relating to students under the age of 18.
What can I do if I have concerns about my child?
In the interests of respecting students’ privacy and confidentiality, we are unable to discuss these concerns with you without their permission. This is a legal requirement (under the 1998 Data Protection Act), with University policy prohibiting the disclosure of an individual's information.
There are only certain situations in which this may not apply and these are dealt with in respect to the University’s duty of care. Whilst we cannot discuss a student’s situation or circumstances with you without their permission, we can contact the student to offer support and advice. It is the student’s responsibility to decide whether to take advantage of this or not.
If you have a serious concern about your student's wellbeing, please contact Security in the first instance. Please note that University staff will not usually be able to inform you of the outcome of any investigation they make, but they may be able to encourage your student to contact you.