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Moving out and post-secondary

Transitioning from high school to post-secondary, or moving out for the first time can be difficult if you have food allergy. Learn how you can confidently manage the transition!

Student in front of a dorm, moving in and carrying a box of books
Young adult with her mom speaking to a professor

The transition from high school to college or university can be quite difficult as you move into a more independent environment where you are expected to be solely responsible for your food allergies. It can be a little overwhelming at first to have so much independence and a full work-load come at you all at once. Make sure you keep your food allergies a top priority. Remember, when you have too much on your plate, you need to remain aware of what is actually on your plate!

1. Choosing a school

When applying to post-secondary school, do your research on each school’s policies regarding food allergy and anaphylaxis. Contact the school admissions office and ask about campus allergy and anaphylaxis management strategies, emergency procedures, and proximity to a hospital or medical care.

  • Check out our post-secondary section for educators. There you will find resources and tools for students and families as well as a guide for post-secondary institutions you can download.
  • Our guide provides campuses with the tools they need to develop a comprehensive approach for supporting students who have food allergy. It also provides a framework on how to develop, review, and adapt current policies.
  • Check out our post-secondary section

2. Work with foodservices

Whether campus foodservice workers are employed directly by the school or through an independent company, you may need to work with them to ensure your food is safe. Speak with the foodservice management upon registration regarding meal selections, food handling/preparation, cross-contamination and food allergy training for cafeteria workers.

3. Don’t be a face in the crowd

It’s not uncommon for a college or university to enroll tens of thousands of students. Since it’s easy to blend in, make sure your food allergies don’t fall through the cracks with new friends, roommates, teammates and others. You will likely meet many new people right away, so start off on the right foot and let them know about your allergies. You can usually get a good sense of a new acquaintance by finding out if they take your allergies seriously.

4. Res life

Living in a university or college residence is a unique experience as you live with other people who start out as strangers. Look into housing options, such as a single room or a suite or apartment style residence with a kitchen, and the steps for requesting a certain room type. If you’ll be sharing a kitchen with others, make sure you explain the importance of keeping a very clean space, right from day one.

5. Inform health services

If you are studying out of town, consider finding a local doctor and informing the campus health director about your food allergies. These local resources may help you to learn more about how others have managed their allergies on campus.

Managing food allergy and roommates

Learn more from Bryan, a 23-year-old graduate student as he provides tips for educating roommates about his food allergies as well as additional guidelines for how to be allergy prepared. Made in collaboration with EpiPen Canada.