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Your role

Everyone providing care and support to a young person wants them to get the best education possible and a rewarding career. Parents and supporters play an important role in helping prospective students through the process of applying and going to university. 

Stability and moral support

As a young person embarks on their journey to university, you can provide an important element of stability at a time of huge change for them. Your emotional back up and moral support can help them through a complex journey with unfamiliar processes, deadlines and jargon. It’s important to remember though, that whilst it’s tempting to play a hands-on role, this is a big step towards independence for a young person and it’s ultimately their decision to make about the future direction of their life.

Take a look at our top tips for providing support during exams

We also have advice on how parents and supporters can help students during the transition from school or college to university.

Start early

There are lots of higher education options to choose from, so try to encourage prospective students to start their research early. UCAS (The University Colleges Admissions Service), through which students apply to university, is a good starting point with all universities and colleges and degree courses listed. Information is also available through schools and colleges and university websites and prospectuses. Looking up universities on their social media channels can help to see what’s going on and to get a feel for what student life is like at university. Our parents and supporters’ newsletter provides updates about our open days, deadlines and advice on how you can provide support.

You’re welcome at our open days

University open days are a great way for a student to see where they could be learning and living. They’ll be able to chat to academics and other members of staff and ask questions before applying to study there.

There may be several open days throughout the year – sometimes on campus and at other times online. Many universities also offer individual campus tours for visitors who are unable to attend the scheduled open days. We welcome parents and supporters joining us alongside students at our award-winning open days*, either at our on-campus open days or by being ‘in the room’ if a student is attending an online open day.

Take a look at our parents' open day blog to find out more about open days and some top tips from a parent's perspective. You can also take a look at our recommendations for who to meet at an Open Day to ensure you get the most out of your experience. 

*Winner of the silver award for Best Open Day Experience at the HEIST Awards 2021.

Application process and deadlines

The application process to university may seem lengthy, but in reality passes very quickly, so it’s wise to familiarise yourself with the application process (UK students, Irish nationals and those with EU settled/pre-settled status) and associated deadlines so that you can provide support through each step. It can also be useful to help your student make choices about their university process, such as choosing a firm and insurance university.

In particular, be prepared when it comes to results day, and know what to do on the day. This can be an anxious time, so make sure that you’re prepared for all possible outcomes. 

International students can apply directly to the University via the online apply link on the course they are interested in, or via the relevant local office, or an agent in their home country.

Student finance

One of the most practical ways in which you can help is by providing support as they apply for student finance. Encourage them to apply for this as early as possible as it can take up to six weeks to arrange. They don’t need to have a firm offer from a university to apply for student finance as the details of their university or course can be changed online easily. If their application is delayed they may risk not receiving their money at the start of their first term. Read our guidance on fees and funding.

We’re always happy to speak to parents and supporters, although we’re unable to discuss a student’s specific circumstances without their permission. Call us, ask a question on Live Chat (available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday on our website), email our Student Helpline or join us at one of our award-winning open days.