How to prepare your child to move out of home

Mother and daughterIf your child is beginning tertiary study next year, moving out of home may also be on their mind. It could be that they are interested in leaving home to experience independent living or simply because their chosen institution is too far away to commute. Whatever the reason, rest assured that you can eliminate some of their stress (and your own) by following our simple checklist.

Help them to research their accommodation options

There are a few different choices when it comes to student accommodation. The first option is on-campus accommodation, with a choice to be made between residential colleges, halls of residence and student apartments. The main difference between these accommodation types relates to the style of living that is provided. For example, while residential colleges usually provide meals, cleaning and various support services, student apartments provide self-catered accommodation. Halls of residence fall in between, offering a good alternative for students who want a more independent lifestyle but do not want to let go of the comforts of home. Rental accommodation is also a popular option, with students choosing to live on their own or in a share house close to campus. If you are worried about how your child will adjust to living away from home, suggesting that they spend their first year in campus accommodation may be a good idea. Visit institution websites for more information about your child's accommodation options, including cost and availability. Real-estate agencies in the local area may also provide information about student housing.

Investigate financial assistance

Tertiary students can take advantage of government allowances and scholarships to help fund their education. Various government allowances are available, including Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Rent Assistance. Students may also choose to take out an income-contingent Student Start-up loan (previously offered as a scholarship), which assists with the start-up costs of education. There are also various incentives for trade students. See the Department of Human Services website for further information, including government allowance eligibility and payment rates. Scholarships are offered by education providers, the federal government and private organisations. They are generally awarded for merit and equity, recognising high-achievers and those who may not have been able to access education without funding. Some also target specific groups of students, such as those from an Indigenous background and female students in non-traditional fields (engineering and IT, for instance). Scholarship amounts vary, offering anything from a stipend to cover textbooks to full remission of course fees. To look for scholarship opportunities, see the Scholarship search on the Hobsons Course Finder website.

Assist with budget planning

There's no doubt that living out of home for the first time can be difficult. This is especially the case for students surviving on a modest income. In addition to living costs such as accommodation, transport and food, there are also study-related costs such as the purchase of textbooks and course equipment. Having a part-time or casual job will certainly help to manage these expenses, but it is still very important that your child has a budget and is able to manage it. Their budget should take into account their essential expenses (such as rent, groceries and utilities), as well as non-essentials (such as nights out with friends). This should be based on all sources of income, including government allowances and their part-time job. Even if you are continuing to support your child while they study, maintaining a budget will allow them to save some of their own money and work towards a goal purchasing a car or new laptop, for instance.

Ensure they have the skills to live independently

By the time they reach their last weeks of high school, your child will have learnt a number of independent living skills. But, if like many parents, you are worried that your child does not have the skills to live independently, now is the time to offer a few quick lessons even if you only get a few words in before they run out the door! The upside is that they can pick up most skills quite quickly, even without assistance, such as learning how to use the washing machine, pay utility bills online or cook their favourite meal.

Provide a support system

It's important to support your child while they are preparing to make the move, as well as once they are living on their own. Although this varies from student to student, the transition from high school to tertiary study can seem more difficult for those living away from home. Even with greater opportunity to exercise independence, your child may still rely on you for emotional support while they are in their period of adjustment whether or not they readily admit it. You might consider planning a weekly family dinner, scheduling regular visits if they have moved interstate or simply making time for a regular phone call every few days. If you are worried about their wellbeing, remember that their institution will provide a variety of support services to help them manage the transition.

Useful links
Parents and students can find information about tertiary study on the Hobsons Course Finder website.

Popular schools
Browse more schools

Become a member

Already a member? LoginForgot password?

Join the conversation