Offering advice and guidance to your child about his/her application is a natural thing that you will want to do.
- Families can be an invaluable source of experience and good sense.
- Unless you have an in-depth professional knowledge of the whole process it may be wise to think carefully before you offer advice.
Some of the common pitfalls that parents can fall into:
- Basing your advice on your own experience of university 30 years ago. Universities and university life has changed since that time and you will almost certainly be out of date and your child will know that.
- Suggesting certain courses will always lead to a good job. Are you sure? Have a look at Graduate Prospects.
- Suggesting certain universities are good for a particular subject. Again, are you sure? See our League Table for the facts about quality. Universities have changed and our own and other league tables show a range of universities in the top 30, not just the ancient universities or ones that call themselves 'Redbricks'.
- Projecting your own desires onto your offspring. However much you love being a doctor or an advertising executive, it doesn't mean that your child wants to be one, too. Students switching courses routinely comment that they never really wanted to do their initial subject but felt that their family expected it.
Consequently, giving advice can be tough.
- You can offer all the usual sound, sensible stuff that young people never want (but always need) to hear.
- Read the prospectuses, take decisions slowly and carefully, dissuade them from applying for Aramaic & Offshore Engineering just because a best friend has done so, that sort of thing.
One really helpful thing you can do is test the reasons for decisions.
- Check out that universities have been chosen for sensible reasons, such as the quality of a course, and not as a result of some dubious gossip.
- Be careful with specific advice – if you can't be sure you are accurate, it may do more harm than good.
- This is a chance for your off-spring to show you their independence as they transist into adulthood.
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