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A Concise Guide to Navigating University Admissions for Parents and Pupils

A Concise Guide to Navigating University Admissions for Parents and Pupils
What is the single most important decision we as humans make in our lifetime? If your answer to this question concerns university admissions, you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, according to research published in Psychology Today, the majority of us would agree. Adrian R Camilleri Ph.D. set out to learn what decisions actually matter the [...]

What is the single most important decision we as humans make in our lifetime? If your answer to this question concerns university admissions, you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, according to research published in Psychology Today, the majority of us would agree.

Adrian R Camilleri Ph.D. set out to learn what decisions actually matter the most to us. He asked people what they thought the biggest choices in life were and then organised their responses into a set of categories and listed these in order of their collective perceived significance. Of the 9 categories that he broke the responses into, the top 2 on the list of the most common big life decisions were Career and Education.

Suffice to say, then, that choosing what to do in this critical moment is an important milestone in our transition into adulthood. If it’s approached in the right way, it not only sets us on our path to becoming financially and intellectually independent but also instils in us the confidence and autonomy to tackle life’s biggest questions with a positive and healthy mindset.

As parents or guardians, finding the right balance between encouragement and interference is a delicate task – and will naturally vary from home to home – but that doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t useful guidelines we can follow to give our children the best chance of making the right decision for their future.

We’ve drawn up a brief list of the things we think every child – and their parents or guardians – should be doing.

Discuss Limitations and Plan Finances

Before any list of potential universities can be made, it’s vital that your child is made aware of any financial or geographic restrictions that might affect the institutions available for consideration. This conversation needs to be had at the beginning of this process, so as to avoid any time or emotional investment being wasted.

Another topic worth consideration at this stage would be regarding a financial plan. It’s essential that every future student knows where they stand and what kind of financial commitment is expected of them, the potential funding that exists and the amount – if any – available to them from the home.

Conduct Research

Now that you have a clear picture of the universities they could attend, it’s time to start thinking about ones they might want to attend. Again, the earlier this is done, the more time your child will have to gather the information needed to make a well-informed and measured choice.

Households should do this research as a unit, at least initially. This will help prioritise the task in everyone’s mind and consolidate a feeling of support and proactive engagement.

Deadlines

Prospective students should keep a calendar and update it regularly. Having a sequential order of events at your disposal will help with organisation and time management. Focusing on one thing naturally takes our attention from something else; having a list negates this risk, allowing us to fully commit to the task at hand without the worry of something slipping through the cracks.

Positive Reinforcement

With every big moment in a person’s life is the potential for anxiety. The decision we make for ourselves after secondary education is often sited as being the first real adult choice many of us will experience and so it is imperative that the infrastructure around them is encouraging and supportive.

These stresses can take many forms. As is often the case, frank and open discourse is the best way to understand how a child might be feeling about the process – and any areas in which they may be struggling to cope.

Share is Care

Many of us would have been through a similar set of experiences when we finished secondary education, albeit in very different times. This bridged experienced can be helpful in two ways: it enables us to share any advice we might have in a more directly relatable fashion and offers an opportunity for bonding and imparting a sense that they aren’t alone in their experiences.

Be Flexible

When thinking about solutions to any complicated issue, it’s easy to get fixated on one possible answer early on as opposed to taking the time to come to a more satisfying conclusion. The same can be said of university aspirations.

There are over 160 universities in the UK alone. These institutions will have different philosophies and histories and identities, all of which will heavily contribute to the most important factor in this choice: the student’s experience.

Rejection as Opportunity

Nobody enjoys rejection, but it should never be taken personally. The university admissions process is complicated and multi-faceted and the very last thing it means is a rejection of anyone as a person.

It’s also important to bear in mind that, more than the reputation of the institution that provides the education; it’s the efforts of the student that is most indicative of academic achievement.

Attend and Reflect

University is a social undertaking as well as an educational one. The most desirable university on your list might just not feel right and the least could feel like home. Nothing beats walking around a campus for the sense of what it would feel like to be a member of the student body.

Sometimes, you might find that timetables are conflicting and attendance at an open day might not be possible. Many universities now offer virtual open days and tours. In the event that you are unable to attend the premises in person, these services are a worthwhile alternative.

Be Patient

While it may be tempting to make a concrete decision early on, remember to wait until you have all the facts at your disposal first. In the case of university admissions, make sure that you have received responses from all of your applications before finalising any plans.

Enjoy…

More than anything, a person’s time in university should be enjoyable. A proactive approach to finding the right environment for your child will go a long way to ensure that their time will be exhilarating, fulfilling and fun.

Ollie is a QEH 'lifer', as he joined QEH Juniors in Year 3, eleven years ago.  It's been great to watch his development through the years, both on and off the pitch.

Thank you Friends of QEH!

Ollie is a QEH 'lifer', as he joined QEH Juniors in Year 3, eleven years ago.  It's been great to watch his development through the years, both on and off the pitch.

Ollie signs for the Bears!

As well as being Head of Religion and Philosophy, Zak leads our digital vision. He was instrumental in developing our excellent online learning offering during lockdown, much to the relief of our parents, and is now leading the roll out of our school device programme.

Induction day, but not as we know it!

This week, Year 6 boys and their teachers headed off to Exmoor for their last QE Award trip of the year and of the Junior School.  QE Camp is the final part of their two year outdoor pursuit programme and is the culmination of the skills they have learned and journey they have been on.

Exmoor at last

QEH has surpassed all of our high expectations considerably.
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