Although your son or daughter is approaching adulthood, they still need you! Year 12 and 13 are two very busy years for them, and they will be fully occupied with adjusting to a higher level of study after GCSEs, revising and taking more exams, and making important decisions about what to do next.
Hopefully our top tips will help you to help them balance their need to become more independent with the extra care and support they will need from you.
Help them draw up a shortlist of universities they’d like to visit, and check out their open days. Parents are welcome and there are usually specific activities geared towards them. If distance is an issue, then many unis also offer virtual tours.
Your son’s/daughter’s school is likely to hold parents’ information evenings attended by local universities to offer help and advice and answer any questions you might have about going to university. These are usually held in Year 13, so look out for dates and encourage your child to attend.
Make sure your son/daughter is aware of the course application and financial support deadlines. UCAS usually opens in September for applications for the following September. Some courses may also require interviews or auditions.
Start making sure they know the basics of cooking; it will save them a fortune! Give them recipes for cheap meals, which provide basic nutrition so that you know they are eating properly.
Make sure they have enough money to tide them over the first couple of weeks at university until their loan and/or grant reach their account. They need to apply early for student finance, usually by May when they are starting in September.
Look with them at their income and outgoings and work out a budget for each week so that they know what their budget limit is.
Make sure they get all the important documentation together which may be needed for enrolment, eg for ID purposes and for registering at the Doctors, Dentist etc.
What Will They Need?
Get them to check what they need to take with them - each university is different - from course equipment to living essentials like bedding, towels, pots and pans, etc.
Keeping in Touch
Encourage them to make use of readily available internet and ensure that their mobile phone contract is the best value so that they are easily contactable. Make arrangements for regular contact, eg at least once a week, so that you know they are ok.
LIVING AT HOME
If they are going to a university nearby and will continue to live at home, encourage a degree of independence and involvement with university life so that they enjoy the full student experience. Check if the university offers placements or study abroad, so that they feel they’ve had the university experience!