My daughter is currently in Year 12. She has completed her exams for predicted grades. Unlike her friends in Year 11 and Year 13, she is now exam free. Some of you will recall that Year 12 was another year of exams – A/S levels. I am not sure if employers ever understood what A/S levels actually were! My son took these exams. He did okay. However, one of his friends was asked to leave sixth form as she didn’t do very well. Shame.
Anyway, Year 12 is a relative exam free year. However, they have to start thinking about if they want to go to university. Perhaps an apprenticeship would be better. My daughter has already attended an open day at Bournemouth University (Twitter [email protected]) where universities gathered to say what they had to offer. I have never attended a university open day. By all accounts it’s very busy and filled with 16 and 17 year olds making life changing decisions.
My feeling is that the choice of university has to be very much down to your teen. Afterall, they need to be confident they are choosing the right course and the right place to study for the next three years.
So, what’s next? University open days. Many universities offer days to look around in July.
Here is a link from UCAS, which lists open days coming up in the next few months (Twitter handle @ucas_online)
My son shortlisted a few universities and we visited them all – Chester, Coventry, Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Obviously, if the university of choice is further afield, you have to be organised!
The UCAS application deadline is January
Once again, another link to help with when to apply and the deadlines. This is for 2018 but you get the idea for next year.
The key things, as a parent, to look for when visiting universities are many. I checked out halls of residence for the first year. How close are the halls to the university. What type of accommodation do they offer. The lecturers for each course should do a meet and greet. One university we visited did not offer their lecturers for my son’s chosen subject. Instead, they chose a very charismatic history lecturer to talk about the university. Instantly suspicious!
It’s also good to get a feel of the town or city where the university is placed. For example, is the university at the heart of the town or city – or somewhere on the outskirts. For me, it was ease of access to get around town. Most students don’t have access to cars so have to rely on public transport.
I don’t really look at league tables – yes university league tables do exist! As with schools, it’s about how the place feels. If your teen feels happy – you can be happy. You can guide and discuss. But ultimately, it’s their decision.
This is all part of the invisible thread….