Parent Blog: Jennie – Information Stage
Jennie has two sons, the eldest is currently at Loughborough University, studying a sports coaching degree and the youngest son is working through his GCSEs.
When your son/daughter is ready to look at next steps into further education, then the first question you need to ask is what do they want to do as a career? What interests them? This is something that I find a lot of students have not thought about or indeed those that have want to do something different now. Researching this and talking to the school they are at with the teachers there can help to guide them in the right direction. The courses at universities have specific entry requirements so, make sure the BTEC course or A levels that they have been doing are at the level the college/ university is requiring.
When they have reached a decision as to what interests them or job they want to do then this is the time to look at the websites for courses available and the best one. Look at different universities to see what they offer. I looked at league tables to look at the best university for sports coaching although I did know this as my son had already had this advice from his tutors. However, I always check any advice as this is my son and his career so it was very important we got it right.
They also need to decide whether they would rather study at home or think they are ready to be more independent and live by themselves. My son went away and found this quite difficult at first as he had not left his bedroom for years and I am told by other parents that I am not alone! This has proved the best thing for my son as he needed to experience how to look after himself and budget his finances. One size does not fit all so it is up to the individual as to how they feel about this. I believe that a parent knows exactly what is best for their child as we know them and what they can do even when they say they can’t possibly do it. Your advice and guidance is crucial at all stages even when they say they don’t want it, trust me they will thank you later.
Once you have narrowed it down to which college/universities you would like make sure you go to as many open days as possible. This will help you to assess whether you and your son/daughter would feel comfortable there. The universities I have visited have all been different and offer completely different/varied courses and accommodation. Look around the area and see what is available and do you both feel safe there. I have compiled a few questions that I feel are important and that parents have asked me when visiting Sheffield Hallam University.
- What is the City like?
- What accommodation can my son/daughter choose from? /is this near the university? Is there security on site?
- My son/daughter has a disability what support is available to them and how can they access all areas to be able to study and feel independent?
- My son/daughter has a learning disability what is available to help them? Will they receive extra help?
- What amenities are nearby?
- What will they need to bring with them e.g bedding,pots,pans,cultlery e.t.c
- Will they be able to get a part-time job and study?
One thing I didn’t think of was making sure my son was registered at the doctors there. All these questions and more will be answered at these open days and make sure you advise your son/daughter to talk to the students there and find out how they have found the experience.