Navigating the Journey for University Parents – A Guide

Whether it is your first child heading to university or not, negating the deadlines, documents and guidelines required for enrolling can be daunting. However, with up-front planning and being aware of potential pressure times can pay dividends, providing some peace of mind. Here are some top tips for university parents to consider:

Dealing with Deadlines

Deadlines are in place to ensure everything happens as it should as there are several people involved including students, colleges, universities and other authorities. UCAS provides a great snapshot of deadlines for the year for university parents, which you can put in your calendar and plot backwards on what support your child may need. Whether that’s visiting potential universities, or potential student accommodation, to being more aware of stress levels at decision points. Don’t panic if your child’s friends have made a decision and yours hasn’t. Some decide sooner than others, so be aware of the potential impact of peer pressure.

Big Steps Ahead

Seems a simple step, but picking the right course can make a big impact on your child’s experience of university. Encourage your child to speak with potential universities course leaders to get information on the courses. One big factor is what type of work will be involved in the course – exams or coursework? Picking a course based around exams for someone who performs better at coursework might not be a wise choice. Other aspects such as how much access will they have to 1:1 learning hours, and is there extra support – both educational and wellbeing – available if they need it? Perhaps ask your child to write a list of how they prefer to learn – solo, in a team, reading or through activities – and you can then use that list to check with course leaders if their learning preferences match up.

Home Away from Home

Home with the family will always be home, but their living environment at university is really important for your child to feel settled and ready to learn. When selecting student accommodation consider ones provided by universities and specifically built student accommodation as they will all have different facilities. Lots of natural lighting, good communal spaces and storage are the top three things to consider. When it comes to kitting out the place, think personality. All the core elements should already be included in the student accommodation (check beforehand though) but those homely touches can help your child feel settled quickly. A rug, scatter cushions, photo frames with some memories of friends/family can easily achieve this.

Ultimately you being by your child’s side throughout the preparation journey for university is the main thing. For university parents it’s such an exciting adventure  your child is heading on, and before long you will be watching them at graduation in their gowns.