The logistics of higher education may look a little different this autumn than in previous years, but if you’ve got a child heading off to uni for the first time then you’ll need to make sure they’re kitted out with all the essentials for living away from home.
And while it will no doubt feel sad to wave them off as they embark on their new grown up life, it can actually be fun setting them up and getting them ready for it.
We can’t lie. The list of things they’ll need is endless and it goes without saying they’ll require all the necessary paperwork for registration as well as toiletries, clothes and their best social skills, but we’ve picked out 8 must-haves to get you (and them) started.
Oh and number 9 is a pack of tissues for the inevitable tears as you finish unpacking the last of their belongings.
1. Stuff to cook with!
Ah yes the student kitchen…
Not necessarily a place you’ll want to spend much time when you visit, but they WILL need some utensils, pots, pans and cutlery so they can make the standard (and cost efficient) pasta pesto, stir fries and frozen pizzas.
So instead of shopping around and buying individual pieces at different retailers, we suggest bagging one of these brilliant sets by Morphy Richards.
Morphy Richards 14-piece Cookware Set in Black (was £69.99, now £59.99) at Very
They’ll find five pans, five spatula-style utensils and even a grater, tin opener, pizza cutter and peeler.
You’ll still need to pick up knives and forks and baking trays but with this one set you can cross 14 things off your list!
And, of course, they’ll need plates to eat all this delicious and healthy food from…
But again, don’t buy it all separately.
Invest in a set and they’ll always have spare for when there are breakages, as well as for the countless student dinner parties and get-togethers.
It’s an important for them to feel they can socialise and be hospitable, so they’ll definitely need more than one of everything. This way they can make cups of tea and share their pasta bakes with new friends.
Waterside Camden 16-Piece Dinner Set (£35) at Very
Waterside’s 16 piece dinner set will provide them with dinner plates, side plates, bowls (perfect for all those meals comprised mainly of cereal) and mugs.
And in black, they’re super stylish too so they’ll win cool points from the first day of term.
Send them off to their new abode with a couple of duvet covers, bottom sheets and pillow cases.
Yes, it’s unlikely they’ll wash them and change them as often as they should, but they will eventually, so at least they’ll be able to make up a fresh bed when they need to.
Your fresher may have very clear design ideas about what they’d like their bedding to be and bright and colourful prints can really make a dull halls of residence feel a bit more like home.
But for a simple set that does the job, opt for this Essentials Collection duvet set.
L-R: Essentials Collection 144 Thread Count Duvet Cover Set (was from £13, now from £10) and Essentials Collection 144 Thread Count Standard Pillowcases Pack of 4 (£6) at Ve ry
It comes in grey, white, blue, red and black so can fit any colour scheme or aesthetic.
The Essentials Collection also includes four packs of pillowcases as well as fitted sheets in the same shades so you can match with ease or why not mix and match?
The less you know about their bathroom habits the better, but at least set them up with some brand new towels just for them.
This towel bale by Catherine Lansfield comes with six pieces including large bath sheets and hand towels.
Catherine Lansfield 6-Piece Zero Twist Towel Bale (£25) at Very
We like this unisex pale grey hue but they also come in charcoal, cream, duck egg, ochre and natural beige.
5. Art to make a statement with
One thing we know for sure is that your student will want to make their mark in their new bedroom. Even if the space available is tiny.
It’s important to feel like an individual and that they’re coming home to somewhere welcoming. It should feel like a haven because the reality is that sometimes the first year of university is hard.
So encourage them to create photo montages of friends and family, to bring along their favourite posters and ornaments and why not treat them to some inspirational wall art which they can take comfort in every day.
East End Prints Do More Of What Makes You Happy by Native State A3 Wall Art (£40) at Very
We like this ‘Do More Of What Makes You Happy’ print by East End Prints. It even comes framed so is ready to hang as soon as they move in.
6. A laptop
It’s likely your student has a laptop already, but if they haven’t then now is the perfect time to invest in one if possible.
It will enable them to work from their dorm room more easily, as well as being ideal for taking to the library and to lectures.
There will be communal computers available on campus, but for convenience a portable laptop can’t be beaten.
There are loads of great options out there at varying price points so it’s good to get some advice on exactly what will work best for them.
Apple MacBook Air (2020) 13 inch (was from £1449, now from £1279) at Very
But for a great all rounder we love the Apple MacBook Air. At only 13 inches, it’s small and lightweight but has all the capabilities you’d expect.
And right now, it’s in the sale at Very so don’t delay.
7. A backpack
A student at college or university is going to need a lot of stationery, files, folders and books (even in the digital age) so they’ll need a sturdy bag that can cope with this heavy burden.
We recommend a rucksack which will save their shoulders and back. After all, they’ll be trekking it to and from halls, from lecture hall to seminar room and from the library to the student union, so it needs to be strong and durable.
That doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish too.
Herschel Supply Co Little America Backpack (£95) at Very
Herschel Supply Co are all over the cool backpack thing and we love this Little America version in classic blue.
It’s got a fab striped interior and an adjustable drawstring closure, as well as padded straps so they’ll be comfortable lugging it around with them all day.
8. A winter coat
They’ll be packing up a lot of their clothes to take to uni with them (although it’s worth reminding them it’s unlikely they’ll need summer looks and swimwear for a while), but we do recommend kitting them out with a new winter coat.
Not only will it keep them toasty as they walk around but from experience the heating in student accommodation isn’t always totally reliable so there’ll be at least one evening when they keep their coat on…
So it may as well be super warm and look good too.
L-R: THE NORTH FACE 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket (£250) and Superdry Storm Hybrid Zip Hood Jacket (£75) at Very
We like this 1990s inspired jacket by The North Face. The two tone design is ace and the puffer element will really keep out the cold.
And Superdry’s hybrid jacket is also quilted for warmth but we love the knitted sleeves and very handy hood too.