CAO offers are out, the hunt for accommodation is on and there are only a few weeks to be ready for Third-Level. Going to college can be daunting for both students and parents alike but the best way to beat overwhelm is to be prepared in advance. Here are some helpful hints to get your student ready for college.

Stay Calm

If you get all het up about your child going to Third-Level, they will pick up on your anxiety and become worried or anxious themselves.  You need to be their rock. They are young adults and need you to treat them as such but they also need your parental guidance. This can be a bit of a tightrope, with parents asking when do I let them be and when do I step in as the parent?

This is one you are going to have to figure out for yourself because every child is different.  If you are feeling anxious, then fake confidence. You have to outwardly be as graceful as a swan, while inwardly you may be paddling like hell! Remember, you are not the first parent to feel like this so reach out to others and learn all their wisdom.

Budget for Third-Level

Third-Level fees are one thing, but day to day living expenses really add up.  Agree a weekly or monthly budget in advance and stick to it. Armed with some easy recipes, take them shopping for the ingredients. Create a shopping master list so they know what they need to have every week. Your student needs to understand how to budget to ensure that they eat well, have travel costs covered and most importantly (to them) money for socialising.

Do a dry run. Make out a full shopping list and have them go to several different supermarkets. Without buying anything, add up the cost of all the items in their virtual basket. This will encourage them to shop around; the more value they can get in their grocery shopping, the more going out money they will have!

One last thing – no advances! If the money runs out, they manage until ‘payday’. It may seem harsh, but they will survive. Lesson learned; they will budget better from there on in.

Make Lists

This is a lifesaver if your child is moving away for third-level (and most of them want to!).  They are going to need a lot of stuff, but you don’t need to buy everything new. Make a list and see what you have at home already.  For example, bring their own pillow from their own bed. They will sleep better with it.

Here are the headings I think are useful, but you know your child best:

  • Medication
  • Study / Desk Supplies
  • Electronics ( Laptops, Phones, Chargers etc)
  • Bedroom Essentials
  • Bathroom Essentials
  • Kitchen Essentials
  • Clothes
  • Sports
  • Shopping
  • Misc

You are What you Eat

This may be the first time that your child must feed him or herself. Ideally, every student should have learned 10 easy recipes by the time they leave for college. A friend of mine admitted that her son did not use a fork for the first 6 weeks of college! He was living on rolls from the cafeteria. She was mortified that she had not taught him a few basic recipes so that he could eat properly. She was so good at looking after him, cooking proper dinners, making sure that everything went smoothly at home to enable him to study for his Leaving, that she forgot to look ahead and plan for when he would be responsible for himself.

An army marches on its stomach, but students study on theirs. Teach them how to cook. Find great, easy, nutritious recipes on YouTube and have your college student subscribe to them. That way they can see how it’s done, rather than calling you.  While you’re at it – find them a YouTube video on washing up, room cleaning, clothes washing & ironing too!

Congratulations to all our Hummingbirds who got their Leaving Cert results last week. We are so proud of you all.

College life is a wonderful experience, one which will help shape their future. At Hummingbird Learning Centre, students find that our one-to-one Study Success Program helps them to manage their course work more easily.

For information on Study Success and all of our other programs, contact me on or 087-2996054

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