Understanding higher education can be
challenging – there are acronyms to learn, dates
to remember, forms to complete and events
to attend. This can be especially difficult for
students, and their parents or carers, who come
from under-represented groups within higher
This includes students who:
• are in the first generation of their family to go to university
• have low household incomes
• live in areas where fewer young people progress to university
• attend schools that perform below the national average
• have experienced time in care
• are young carers
• have a disability.
The Office for Students (OFS) – which regulates the work of universities – states an aim to ensure that ‘...all students, from all backgrounds, with the ability and desire to undertake higher education, are supported to access, succeed in, and progress from higher education’. Therefore, many universities put support in place to help students from these backgrounds overcome any barriers they face.
As parents or carers, if you feel that your young person might be eligible for additional support, you can signpost them to the following opportunities:
Widening participation programmes such
as summer schools and other intensive
outreach events. These support fair access
by giving students an insight into university
life and study.
Students will need to meet eligibility criteria in order to take part, so look carefully at these before applying. Participants may also receive additional benefits such as mentoring, support with the transition to higher education or access to reduced or alternate offers.
Most universities will take a student’s personal circumstances into account when they consider an application and will review how these circumstances may impact their achievement. Contextual offers are often a grade reduction below the typical entry requirements for a course. They may be offered automatically to students meeting specific criteria or may need to be applied for separately – students can find out more on university websites.
• Enhanced funding: Your young person may
be eligible to receive enhanced funding
to support them at university. Again, it is
worth checking university websites for
what might be on offer and the eligibility
• Academic support: Students from under-represented backgrounds may be entitled to additional support at university, such as peer mentoring, 1:1 guidance or enhanced careers programmes. What is available to students will vary from university to university, so it is worth researching what would be most beneficial for your young person.
This free newsletter will include information on university events added to UniTasterDays, as well as details about new webinars and blog releases for you and your students.
by Rebecca Wills
posted on 22 Feb '24
With so many graduates now entering the job market, a degree alone is not always enough. It is therefore very important that you work on developing your employability skills throughout your time at university, and university careers services are experts in offering a range of support to help you achieve this successfully. I will tell you more about some of the opportunities here.