A longitudinal study was conducted to examine the effects of the transition to university in residential and home-based students. All students showed evidence of raised psychological disturbance and absent-mindedness following the transition. Although there were no differences between resident and home-based students in this respect, those who reported homesickness were distinguished from the remainder in terms of higher levels of psychological disturbance and cognitive failure following the transition to university. Covariate analysis established that the gain in psychological disturbance following the transition was greater for the homesick group. The results are discussed in terms of the effects of stressful transitions on psychological state and the concept of personal vulnerability.