With university tuition fees and living costs taking the cost of a degree well beyond £50,000, it is clear that your son or daughter attending university on a 3-year degree course is a big investment. With that said, it’s important to make sure it’s the right decision, as opposed to another route. The Head of Sixth Form at an independent school in Surrey explores further below.
Nowadays, employers are opening up their recruitment schemes to school leavers and using skills and qualities to distinguish between candidates, rather than a degree qualification. Alternative pathways, such as KPMG’s 360° Professional Apprenticeships, are becoming increasingly attractive. It would be wise for parents and their children to explore whether university is actually the best place to develop the skills and qualities necessary to achieve this.
The Right Option
If university is the right option, you will need to help your child with some thorough research. With thousands of university courses available to students, they are in danger of becoming overwhelmed and unsure which route to take. Fortunately, modern technology allows students to refine their search and bring the number of suitable courses down to a more manageable number. Ask your son or daughter to consider their priorities when choosing a course; is teaching quality most important, or perhaps the percentage of students within graduate level-jobs within six months? Perhaps they have a particular city in mind and maybe their predicted grades versus the entry requirements will help them prepare a shortlist. As you and your teenager become more knowledgeable throughout the process, they might amend their courses and/or universities.
Attending open days and submitting their personal statements are the next steps and their teachers will help them refine their statements, with a strong emphasis on academic craftsmanship. Students must demonstrate key skills and qualities outside of their academic studies, to prove they are prepared for their chosen course. This could consist of work experience and other qualifications/extra-curricular activities but bear in mind that the key is to reflect on the learning rather than just listing experiences. Think about how the experiences may have helped your child with their leadership skills or communication, and how these skills can be transferred to their degree course.
The application process can be intimidating. However, by starting early and investing sufficient time in research, visiting potential universities and crafting a personal statement that reflects on anecdotal experiences to demonstrate their academic, professional and personal suitability to the course, pupils will reap the rewards.
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