Isn’t it just like doing extra years at school or college?
No. The experience won’t be the same at all. The working week and year, type of work and assignments, facilities, social life and wider experiences and opportunities available will be different. Student life is nothing like school. People are at university or college because they want to be, not because they have to be. There is also much more choice and flexibility about how to study, so your child can work in the most productive way for them.
Is it really hard work?
Obviously students will have to work to succeed, but your child will be studying something they really enjoy and which offers great future prospects, alongside others who want to do well. The ability to organise and plan own work is important, and there is plenty of study help available at the university or college.
Is it all about the academic study?
No. Aside from studying, university will give your child the opportunity to make new friends from different places and backgrounds, and allow them to take part in a huge range of social and sporting activities. It will enable them to grow as an individual and explore their potential in a broad range of areas.
What about working part-time?
Higher education courses offer plenty of opportunity for part-time work to be fitted in (many universities and colleges have their own ‘job shops’), and there are long holidays when full time work may be possible. Some large employers actively target students to work part-time for them.
What kind of support is there at the university/college for my child?
Universities and colleges have a dedicated team of support staff (student services) who are on hand to provide professional advice and support on a range of issues affecting students. For students with a disability, care leavers, or young carers there are usually specialist staff available. It is important to talk to them before choosing a university or college course to make sure the right support can be put in place for your child if they go to study there – each institution’s website will give you the contact details for student services staff.
How can I find out about what a university or college is like before my child starts applying?
Student life varies from place to place – encourage your child to visit universities and colleges on open days and speak to students to find out what it is really like.
If you get a chance to accompany them on a visit it is a really good way of finding out for yourself what the university or college is like and gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have.
Will it be easy for my child to make new friends?
Going to university or college will introduce your son/daughter to a wide range of new people – from different places and all sorts of backgrounds. There will be lots of opportunities to make new friends.
Most universities and colleges run plenty of activities throughout the first few weeks of term, including sports clubs and social activities, to help new students fit in.