How to support your child when they’re applying for university

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For many of us, before we try to work out what our dream career path would involve, where we’d like to live, or who we’d like to live with, one of the first big decisions we face is working out which university would be our first choice, and what we’d like to study. Like all big decisions, this can be daunting, and it can be tempting to put off drawing up a wish-list of universities and courses. If your child’s getting ready to apply for a university place, His & Hers has some tips on supporting them through the process…

Work on a short-list


Your child could apply for up to five different universities, and it’s worth putting in some time to help them find a campus where they’ll feel at home. Even if they’ve already attended open days, you could offer to take them on a day trip to spend some more time in the town or city where their favourite uni is based. Getting familiar with their favourite campuses, and getting a feel for the area, will help them to make an informed decision.

Help them to budget


One common source of anxiety for students can be finances. And often it can be hard to talk about money until they’ve run out and find themselves making a panicked call to the Bank of Mum and Dad. Try to get ahead of this situation by sitting down and discussing all of their options when looking at short term student loan options, applying for a Student Loan, and drawing up a budget. You could also encourage them to shop around for a good bank account, avoiding those with high account fees and overdraft fees.

Be a sounding board


If your child is really struggling to narrow down their options, rather than constantly running through the pros and cons of each choice in their mind, they might benefit from journaling or having a chat with you to give them a chance to order their thoughts and get a fresh perspective. Talking might also help them to remember that although applying to university is an important milestone, as long as they chunk the process down and take small steps towards their goal, they don’t need to put themselves under immense pressure to make every aspect of their decision making process and application perfect.

Be on hand for proof reading


Drafting a personal statement can be daunting. If your child has cold feet about sitting down to start writing, you could either offer to help them with some brainstorming to give them a starting point, or offer to proof read their personal statement once they’ve finished it. Either way, having some support and a second opinion available can help take the pressure off.

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