University Tips Blog
An image of a parent and child discussing university
A headshot image of the author, Poppy Hudghton

by Poppy Hudghton

Deputy Head of Student Recruitment and Widening Participation at Queen Mary University of London

posted on 3 Feb '23

Supporting students when they are making university choices – three steps to success

Studying at university will offer your young person an invaluable qualification at the end of their degree programme, and from their first day at university, they’ll be supported with the guidance, tools and opportunities to build their skills and confidence.

Whilst choosing to study at university can be a big decision, choosing what and where to study can feel like an even bigger one. I’ve pulled together a three-step guide to help you support your young person when they are undertaking preparation and subsequently making decisions.

Step one: Researching courses

There are lots of course options to explore and it’s never too early to start the discussion. Useful websites and tools include the UCAS Course Search, The Complete University Guide, and Prospects. Universities also have their own course finders which are the best place to find out more about modules, entry requirements, and course structure.

Step two: Prioritising universities

Once your young person has an idea of what course they want to study, the next step is to narrow down university choices. A good starting point is to make a list of priorities, covering what is important to your young person. Their priorities might include:

  • Do they want to live at home or move away?
  • Do they want to study in a city or a rural area?
  • Do they prefer exams/coursework, what does each university offer?
  • Does the university offer financial support, bursaries or scholarships?
  • Are the entry requirements realistic?
  • What study support is available at each university?

An image of a parent drawing potential career paths

Step three: Explore avenues to ask questions

Once your young person has a long list of university options, we would encourage a more personalised approach to whittling down their choices. Speaking to current students, support staff and academics is invaluable, and there are plenty of resources and events out there to help along the way. The first port of call might be booking a number of open days, to explore the campus whilst engaging with current students and staff.

You and your young person may also want to consider exploring services such as Unibuddy which allows prospective students to interact with current students, as well as booking taster lectures and watching webinars like those on the UniTasterDays on demand platform.

Once your young person has narrowed down their options and has a realistic feel for the entry requirements, they’ll need to settle down to apply on UCAS. Their school or college are likely to offer support with this, to supplement the wealth of information available online.

Best of luck with the process, it’s a fun journey to go on!

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