- Things parents should know about choosing a university
- 3 ways to help your child choose the right university
- What your child should consider
- How to help your child choose the best university
- How to prepare your child for university
With universities worldwide offering thousands of courses, finding the right university for your child can be tricky. However difficult the process might be, it’s your responsibility as a parent to guide your children and support them in their quest to select the right university. 💪
This article will explore different ways that you can help your children choose the right university.
What parents should know about choosing a university
Here are some tips that can help parents avoid stress and improve their chances of making the right decision about their children’s future.
It’s important to start the conversation early
When applying to different universities, there are many things that your child will have to consider. As there will be a lot of new information, it’s essential to get a head start and start deciding on universities as soon as possible.
Having the conversation early will give your child more time to figure out their interests and explore different career paths.
However, if your child is not yet ready to have the conversation, it’s vital not to force them. In such a case, you can consider gently starting the conversation and letting them know that you are there to support them when they’re ready. 🥰
Talk about what they want to do
When talking about university, it’s vital to remember that it’s the child’s decision first and foremost. They are going to spend the next 3-4 years of their life at university, and possibly, their long-term future in their chosen field.
Thus, while you need to guide them in finding the right university, it’s important not to overpower their wishes in the process. Take a step back, listen to what your child wants, and be prepared to support their decision.
3 ways to help your child choose the right university
Before we talk about different ways you can help your child choose the right university, here are some questions that you should consider:
- Is there any specific subject that your child enjoyed in school?
- Is there any subject that your child has always been naturally good at?
- What are your child’s hobbies?
- Does your child have any particular field that they want to pursue a career in?
Once you’ve done your research about your child’s wants, needs, and interests, it’s time to help them find the right university.
Here are some ways you can guide them:
1. Help your child choose the right qualification and subject area
Most universities offer many courses and subjects that students can choose from. While the different options should be beneficial for students, it often creates confusion in their minds as they are unable to decide what to study. 😕
Thus, as a parent, your first responsibility is to guide your child to choose the right type of undergraduate qualification and check if the subjects they’ve shortlisted align with their personality and career aspirations.
Most people opt for a Bachelor's degree in their undergraduate higher education years. There are many different types of undergraduate degree, including the following:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- Bachelor of Science (BSc)
- Bachelor of Education (BEd)
- Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
There are also foundational degrees or Diplomas (HNDs).
Once your child has determined which qualification and subject to pursue, it’s vital to check whether universities accept high school scores or if they need scores of special entrance examinations such as IELTS.
2. Research career outcomes
One of the most important things to consider while choosing a university is researching how it can prepare your child for the future. This is because irrespective of whether your child will be continuing education by doing a postgraduate degree or start working right after completing their undergraduate course, learning about how their current degree will help in their careers is vital.
Thus, it would be best to encourage your child to consider what career opportunities lie beyond their degree. They can do so by researching what types of jobs previous graduates of the degree move into. This will help them decide whether the course they’re choosing will put them onto a path that leads them to a career of their choice. 👨💼
3. Be honest about finances
When it comes to university education, it is important to consider finances as well because college tuition is expensive. Thus, it’s essential to discuss finances with your child before choosing a university.
For instance, if your child wants to get admitted to Oxford University but the expenses are a little intimidating, you can encourage them to start earning while still in school or start doing extra curricular activities that will enable them to receive a scholarship. You should also encourage your children to think about financial aid, and student loan programs that can help them go to the university of their choice.
If you or your family will be contributing money for your child’s education, it’s vital to discuss finances openly and set expectations. This will allow your child to find the right university that fits the family’s budget.
What should your child consider when choosing a university?
When choosing a university, your child must focus on finding the right fit. To determine if a college is right for them they should consider the following factors:
- Academic programs offered by the university - It's essential to choose a university that offers their favourite subject. This is by far the most important factor because it is likely to influence their future studies and their chosen careers. If your child is yet unsure about which field they are interested in, encourage them to choose a liberal arts degree for the first few years and then specialise once they have a better idea about their interests.
- Look at university rankings - The surveys about university ranks are comprehensive and consider many factors. Consulting such surveys can give your child a better idea of the university's brand image and what they can expect during their time there.
- Location of the university - You should encourage your child to learn more about the country and city where the university is located. This will help your child know more about the culture at the university.
- Campus culture - Campus culture plays a vital role in enhancing student's understanding of different cultures and traditions. Moreover, it prepares students to work well in a diverse environment. Thus, it's essential to look for a university that has an inclusive and vibrant campus culture.
- Accommodation and food arrangements - Ensure that the university or the personal accommodation where your child will be staying offers healthy food and safe living conditions.
- Finances - It's essential to check whether the university fees and living expenses fall in your child’s and your family’s budget. If the tuition fee is not in the budget, encourage your child to apply for financial aid or scholarships or consider other universities.
- Career opportunities - It is important to let your child study what they want. But at the same time it’s vital to ensure that the university has a proven track record of offering good career opportunities.
- Extracurricular activities offered - Academics are not everything, and it's essential to have a well-balanced lifestyle. Extracurricular activities can also help them to stay active and healthy. Thus, it's vital that your child’s university offers various extracurricular activities and promotes active participation. 🚴♀️
How do I help my child choose the best university?
To choose the best university for your child, you can help them create a pro and con list analysing each shortlisted college. Using this approach, they can make a more informed and objective decision based on all the critical factors that make a university the right fit.
How do I help my child choose a degree and subject?
Picking a degree and subject can be quite complicated for children as when they are about to go to university, many of them are still unaware of what they’re passionate about. So here are some ways you can help them out:
- Suggest subjects that can help them land a job in a field with good growth potential in the future.
- Take them to a careers guidance counsellor or adviser. A session with a professional will help them gain more clarity about what they like and the career they want to pursue.
- Suggest that they do internships to explore different fields before making the final decision.
How do I prepare my child for university?
To ensure your child is well prepared to go to university, you can do the following things:
- Visit the campus with them and help them settle in.🏡
- Help them prepare a monthly budget.📝
- Teach them all the necessary skills that they will need to know to care of themselves. For example, cooking, laundry, and cleaning.
- Help them stock up on necessities for the first few months.
- Give them confidence that they will have a great time at university.
- Be supportive through every stage of the process.
- Reassure them that you’re only a text or phone call away if they ever need you.
Choosing a university is not an easy decision for any child. They need your support and guidance to make this critical decision. As a parent, it’s important not to pressurise your child and to be supportive at every stage of the process. Most importantly, you must ensure that your child takes progressive steps towards making a final decision and choosing the right university.
If you’re interested in exploring learning alternatives to universities, you can check out GoStudent’s website and learn more about our online classes. We offer hand-picked courses from some of the best tutors worldwide.