Supporting a student

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. My success is not mine alone, but it is the strength of many.

Whānau are an important part of each student’s journey—here are some tips on supporting them before and during their time at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Plan finances together

Help them plan a realistic budget for their time at university. Having a plan eases any financial pressure and enables them to stay focused on study rather than finances. Work with them to consider options including part time work and applying for scholarships. Also check out the Financial Survival Guide pdf3.6MB for more tips and ideas on managing finances while studying.

Encourage full participation

At university, the best way to settle in and make connections is to get involved. From study groups and academic mentoring, through to sports and cultural groups, encourage them to make the most of their university experience and to make time amid their studies to enjoy their student life.

Get personal insight

Come along with them to events like Open Day or an information evening, help them to move into their hostel or to see the campus. That way, you can picture where they are and what they will be doing.

Ask questions

Be interested, be proactive, be involved as much as they will let you.

Adjust your expectations

When students come home, they will need to do a lot of study (and most probably catch up on sleep!). Although everyone will want to see them, having a large whānau hui at mid-term can cause stress on students when they return and haven’t had time to do their schoolwork. Ask your student what they would like to do.

Encourage communication

If students miss class at any time for family commitments or emergencies, make sure that they contact their lecturers so they don’t end up with a fail grade.

Remind them of their goals

We all need the big picture to motivate us when difficulties arise. Make sure you are encouraging your child towards their dreams and not just what you think is the best option. Let your student make the final decision about what courses they will study. The best results usually come from the most motivated students, and they are motivated because they are doing what they love. If you’re worried about their career or study options, encourage them to talk to a careers adviser or a course adviser.

Let them go

You have helped them develop a skill set to enable them to live independently; they can cook a meal, do their laundry, phone the bank and stand up for themselves. Now, give them freedom to choose their own path. Enjoy this transitional phase of life and seeing your child become a successful, contributing adult.


Be excited about their success and proud of what they’re doing. Let them know they can talk to you about anything that happens along the way and that you will continue to love and support them.