Going to university: a guide for parents and grandparents

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Going away to university is an extremely exciting time in a young person’s life, but it’s also significant for parents and grandparents. Leaving home for the first time begins a new chapter for families and marks the next step forward into adulthood.

While some things about the university experience never change, the process will be different from when you might have been there, and might even have moved on in the few years since an older child or grandchild went away to university. If someone in your life is preparing to take the next step in their education, not to worry – there are great resources online to help you understand everything from student accommodation options to applying for a loan.

University applications and financing

Today, families begin discussing and prepare for university years in advance. Exams, applications and other considerations will be a topic of conversation long before your loved one begins their studies, and it’s best to familiarise yourself with the process as early as possible.

Start by understanding entry requirements – there are both general and specific criteria that must be met to secure a place at a university. UCAS is the central portal for higher education in the UK, and has put together a resource outlining the basic guidelines for standard entry requirements you can expect to find.  On the website there is also a section for parents and guardians to help you understand all the important steps of the process and stay on top of things. At this stage it’s also useful to look up any specific entry requirements of any universities your son or daughter is particularly interested in attending.

Financing your child’s university education is also something that’s worthwhile having a look into early – understanding student loans, how much you may be eligible to borrow and the terms to pay them back will all help make the process easier as you go. Consumer guides like this one to student finance from Which? offer a good overview. From there, you can also visit the Government website, which has a dedicated section on student finance and outlines how and when to apply.

Student accommodation and leaving home

Once the applications process is complete, it’s time to turn your attention to finding accommodation and making the transition. This can be an emotional time for both parents and children, but the more prepared you are for what’s coming, the more ready you’ll feel to handle it and help make the experience one that’s positive for the whole family.

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