By the time they are 18 years old, many young people may have outgrown their home town and perhaps would like to study somewhere new. There are hundreds of universities to choose from in the UK alone, so students will have a lot of opportunities available to them – both close to home and those further away. Remember, university is about so much more than simply studying for a degree – it is also about students developing and growing holistically through new challenges and experiences they will encounter.
If personal circumstances allow, students may wish to consider moving away from home, into supported student halls of residence as a first-year student. What better way to meet new people and make new friends, than moving to an entirely new place that they will have three years (in most cases) to explore and get to know! It is also a great way to meet different people from diverse backgrounds from both around the UK and further afield.
You may also wish to consider encouraging a young person to explore places and travel as much as they can; they may discover some hidden gems in different parts of the country they had never heard of along the way!
University is about continuing to discover who you are, so students shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. There are many societies and sports clubs to join and become part of at university, so if they have always fancied giving something a go, university provides the perfect opportunity to try it. Being part of a society or club is also a great way to meet like-minded people and get involved in social activities.
It is important that students strike the right balance between studying and recreational activities, their mental, physical and social wellbeing are all important, so scheduling downtime alongside studying is an absolute must.
Of course, some students don’t choose to go directly to university. Anyone can have a change of direction in the future and return to study as a mature student, so it’s never too late to turn their hand to something new at university.
Universities know that it can be daunting for students to find their feet in the first year, so there are always plenty of welcome activities and on-campus events for them to attend to ease the transition.
Students should try to take advantage of suitable opportunities that come their way - as we know, you’re only young once! Please encourage your young person to attend university events such as welcome week, freshers fairs and comedy and live music nights.
Whether it be field trips or a year in industry or abroad that might come their way, students should make the most of these opportunities while they can. Please remind your young person that new experiences outside of their comfort zone, including volunteering or finding part time work will support their resilience and employability skills.
Once they’re studying, if your young person feels they would be able to speak confidently about their course and university experience to prospective students, you could suggest they enquire about becoming a course representative or being part of the student ambassador scheme to support with university open events and more.
Please reassure your young person that they should not put too much pressure on themselves. University can be a fantastic experience, but students shouldn’t try and do everything at once, they should pace themselves and set specific time aside for relaxation as well as study.
At university there are different support networks to support students personally and professionally. If they find themselves struggling, they should not suffer in silence, so encourage your young person to ask for any help required. We want to ensure students make the most of their time at university, so please encourage them to always access any support they may need.
The money saving possibilities as a student are endless, but the more disposable income they have, the better! They may wish to consider study locations where their money will go further, and I would suggest bigger food shops at cheaper supermarkets to last longer, rather than shopping in smaller convenience stores.
Students should invest in a student union card and use this to get discounts on local leisure activities, shopping and restaurants. If they’re going to be using the train, it is well worth investing in a young person’s rail card to save 1/3 off rail travel. Remember students are exempt from paying council tax. If they are in self-catered university accommodation, cooking skills would also be very handy before they move in!
Although none of us can predict the future, we can be as savvy as possible when making informed choices of where and what to study. Lots of graduates secure employment near to where they studied, and where they have undertaken a year in industry may have already led to many positive connections. They may also wish to look at labour market information to predict growing graduate job market opportunities.
They should not put too much pressure on themselves. University can be a fantastic experience, but students shouldn’t try and do everything at once, they should pace themselves and set specific time aside for relaxation as well as study.
This free newsletter will include information on university events added to UniTasterDays, as well as details about new webinars and blog releases for you and your students.
by Jon Cheek
posted on 7 Feb '23
The university application process can feel quite daunting for many young people, so it is understandable that parents and guardians will want to be involved and stay in the loop with any updates. This blog will guide you through how universities communicate with students and their support network.