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Students who celebrated their A-level results last week – and their parents – are being urged to avoid packing panic and start getting ready now to make the leap to university next month.

A Youthsight poll has found that almost half (46%) of students moving away from home leave the packing to the last two weeks, with as many as 16% starting to pack with less than a week to go.

Lads are the most likely to cram their packing in late, with well over half (56%) leaving it to the last two weeks, compared to 37% for female students.

And although most students do their own packing, male students are more likely to need help, with almost one in six (16%) leaving the bulk of the packing to their mums, compared to 12% of female students. In contrast, only 1% of students leave the packing mostly to their dads.

With Fresher’s Week now less than a month away for most, Unite Students is urging students to start planning the big move now. The UK’s biggest student accommodation provider has teamed up with psychologist Donna Dawson to identify four personality types that most students fall into when it comes to packing.

The poll found that:

  • 55% of students are ‘Over-Packers’ – people who, despite best intentions, find it impossible to edit down their packing lists as they imagine every possible scenario they need to prepare for in their new home.
  • 22% are ‘Sentimental Packers’ – people for whom packing becomes a drawn out affair as they get lost wallowing in nostalgia.
  • 20% are last minute ‘Minimalist’ packers – people who refuse to write lists when packing for a big move and often later regret it.
  • 3% are ‘Insta Packers’ – people who can only see their boxes of stuff through an Instagram filter and what their contents say about their personal brand.

The poll also found that male students are almost three times as likely to be ‘Minimalist’ packers than female students (28% vs 11%), whereas female students are far more likely to be ‘Over-Packers’ than male students (62% vs 48%).

Donna Dawson, Psychologist specialising in personality and behaviour says:

“Most students seem to struggle to contain their urge to over-pack. This is a common challenge, as people of this personality type find their vivid imaginations take over, conjuring up dozens of potential situations they need to be ready for.

“This is all the more reason to get started early. This way you can make a list and start to assemble the essentials, but still have time to pause to consider if you really, really need that pasta making machine”

Ed Goldring, Unite Students City Manager says:

“Every year, we welcome 50,000 students to university and help them move into our accommodation and we’ve seen it all: from the students who come armed with everything but the kitchen sink to those who seem to bring little more than a toothbrush and their mobile phone charger.

“The good news is after the initial hubbub of the big move, most students are fine and settle in well – but planning ahead certainly reduces the stress levels so we’d urge students and their parents to avoid packing panic and get started now.”

Weird things parents insist children take to university…

  • Apple Corer
  • Every Kitchen Utensil…Ever’
  • Furniture Polish
  • GPS Tracker
  • Bath Mat
  • Tea Strainer
  • Pictures of when I was younger
  • Butter Dish
  • Medals
  • Shoe Polish Kit
  • And…’my hamster I didn’t want’
  • Cuddly Toys
The Youthsight poll also looked into the emotional rollercoaster involved in making the leap to university with most feeling excitement (87%) closely followed by anxiety (79%). It found female students are more likely to be anxious ahead of going to university than male students (86% vs 72%), whereas male students are twice as likely to feel confident than female students (31% vs 15%).

The survey also revealed that students who move away from home experience almost all types of emotions more than those who choose to stay at home, illustrating what a complicated and confusing time moving out can be:
  • 90% of those who moved away felt excited versus 74% who stayed at home
  • 54% of those who moved away felt happy versus 39% who stayed at home
  • 18% of those who moved away felt sad versus 7% who stayed at home
The three things highest on students’ worry lists ahead of the move are making friends (76%), doing well academically (74%) and having enough money (64%).

Female students are more likely than male students to worry about all of these things, as well as being more likely to worry about staying well mentally (56% of female students worry about this versus 40% of male students) and staying safe (33% vs 19%). The only things male students worry about more than female students are sexual relationships (25% vs 17%), having to cook for themselves (24% vs 19%) and having to clean their own room (9% vs 5%).

About Unite StudentsUnite Students is the UK's largest manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation serving the country's world-leading higher education sector. We currently provide homes for almost 50,000 students in more than 140 properties across 24 leading university towns and cities in England and Scotland. Unite also has a strong development pipeline, which will deliver a further 8,000 beds in the next three years.

Founded in 1991 in Bristol, Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 250 Index.

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