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First steps - thinking about university

First steps - thinking about university

Is higher education the right path for my child? Has it really changed that much since I went? Your questions will be answered here.

Have a listen to other parents reflecting on their child’s university journey.

There are many options available for school leavers; from going on to higher education, working, taking a gap year or doing an apprenticeship.

As a parent or supporter advising your child on the best option for them can be tricky. To help, we have summarised the reasons why they should consider university in this guide to Higher Education.

So many questions surround the transition from school to university that students may be understandably concerned about how they will manage and in turn that will worry you.

School offers a relatively protected environment, with a good support network of teachers and friends to keep a student on the right track. University on the other hand is new territory. 

That initial realisation that they will be taking responsibility for themselves in everything they do, could come as a surprise. From waking up on time, attending classes, studying, cooking their own meals and managing their finances, your child will now be the governor of their own time and will quickly learn how to manage it effectively.

Organising their own finances can be a challenge but not one that is insurmountable. By teaching them how to prepare a basic budget and guiding them as to what is an essential rather than a nice-to-have will help your child get to grips with money matters.

Another difference which may feel unusual at first, is the way in which students will learn. There will be far less structured teaching and far more self-directed reading and research. Some students will initially struggle with this concept, but will adapt over time.

The actual method of teaching will also vary to the school environment. A student may be one of 150 others attending a lecture, or be part of a small group in a seminar, which is more informal and offers the opportunity to discuss and develop ideas. Tutorials, a one-to-one meeting with their tutor, can be commonplace. Active engagement in such activities is important to academic success, but it may not come easily to everyone. Students new to these teaching methods will soon find their voice and will no doubt benefit from this type of learning.

Meeting new people and finding a new group of friends may seem intimidating at first, but joining clubs and societies, seeking advice from second and third-year students and taking part in all that Welcome Week has to offer, will help your child to quickly acclimatise to university life. After all, they follow in the footsteps of thousands of other young people who were at one time also new to university. By embracing this different environment your child can experience all that university life has to offer.

If you went to university you probably remember the long hours studying, the parties and the friends you made for life. Those aspects are still present today but there are some things about the university experience which are now different.

Find out more in our summary guide to how university has changed.

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