University Tips Blog
Image of a parent providing advice on university options to a student
A headshot image of the author, Joe Glover

by Joe Glover

Pre-16 Outreach Officer at the University of Leicester

posted on 18 Jan '24

How to support your young person with their university and course choices

For many parents, it can be daunting as their young person decides to take the plunge into the university world. If you then add in the question of what course and where they’d like to study for the next three years, it can feel like an overwhelming decision. You may be thinking “What can I do to help?”. These three pieces of advice will give you the confidence to offer that support.

Tip one: Explore the options

It sounds straightforward as a starting point, but it’s important that students do not rush course and university research. Being so determined to make the right choice can sometimes mean they dive into the specifics without looking to see what else is out there.

A simple UCAS search will help your young person find all the possible universities that offer their chosen course and you never know what variations they might discover. For example, did you know that students can study a combined degree of Geography and Spanish & Latin American Studies? There are thousands of course opportunities available.

Tip two: Make a list of what’s important

Create a mind map, table, spreadsheet – whatever works best for your young person to visualise all the different options! Together, you can prioritise what is most important to them, which will help them to narrow their choices. Does the course offer the modules they’re interested in? Is the location exciting to them? Does the university offer the facilities they need? Whatever it is, make it clear which universities tick these boxes, you could even see which are the true contenders.

Tip three: Take a look around

The biggest recommendation is to visit the university if you can. It isn’t always possible to do this, Open Days might not fit into calendars easily; some universities may be quite a distance away; or you just don’t have the means to get there.

However, if you’re able to, encourage your young person to go with you for a visit. There’s something about stepping onto a campus for the first time, it can’t be explained, but they’ll know if it isn’t the right fit or if it feels like it could be their new home for the next three or four years.

"Yes, your young person is about to make an important decision about their future, but there is so much support out there for students and you as parents and carers. The best thing you can do is encourage your young person every step of the way, and even step out of the way if necessary, so they can ultimately make the choice that is right for them."

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