As a parent, it’s only natural to want the very best for your child, no matter whether they are 8 months old or 18 years old! However, as our children grow older, they will naturally become more independent and often, less interested in our guidance and advice.
Despite this, going to university is a big step – and one that should not be taken lightly. As of August 2018, a record-breaking 27.9% of 18-year old’s in England were accepted onto a university course through UCAS. That’s a staggering number of young people, and without proper guidance, it could be all too easy for your teenager to become overwhelmed.
So, if your child is just beginning to investigate universities, courses and degrees, there is going to be plenty to think about! Here are some top tips to aid you in helping them make one of the most important decisions they will have to make – choosing the right university.
When you think of universities, the chances are that you will immediately think of the most prestigious institutions around the world – the likes of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, and MIT, Stanford, Harvard and Yale in the US. While attending these prestigious universities may be the ultimate dream, it’s also important to be realistic to avoid disappointment further down the line. These universities have an extremely low acceptance rate and a very high number of applications, so the chances are, most applicants will not be successful. However, if your teenager is set on attending an Oxbridge university, for example, you can help them weigh up the pros and cons of studying at one of these universities.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing a university, picking the right location is essential. Your teenager will need to consider whether they want to move away from home to attend university, and if so, how far do they want to go? In addition to this, it’s important to consider whether a big city university or one located in a more rural setting will be best suited to their needs. Of course, some universities will be better for particular courses, so this will also play a role, but the right location is important to ensure a happy, fulfilling time at university.
Does your son or daughter know which field of study they want to enter? If they have already got their heart set on a particular course or area of study, this should make it easier to narrow down universities according to additional criteria like location, cost and extra facilities. However, if your teenager is still unsure, there’s no need to panic! It might be beneficial to sit down with them and draw up a list of potential courses or areas to look at in further detail, as this could give some useful avenues to explore.
Accommodation and Facilities
University is about much more than just education – for many students, their entire lifestyle will change. If your teenager will be living away from home, accommodation is an essential aspect to consider. Many universities offer accommodation in halls or residences (especially for first-year students), but there is always the option of privately renting if you prefer. It might be an idea to see if you can arrange a tour of the university and accommodation for you and your teen in order to help them get a feel for the place. Most universities also run open days, which are a great opportunity to get to meet staff and students, explore campus, and see what other amenities like libraries, study rooms and sports facilities are available.
At the end of the day, choosing which university is right for your child will have to be their decision. Being on hand to offer support, guidance and advice will be highly beneficial, but when it comes to the crunch, you should take a step back and let your teenager decide this essential choice for themselves.