Parents' guide to university
From applying to flying the nest
Your child leaving home and going off to university is an exciting time with lots of possibilities and questions. We’ve put together a guide to help you prepare every step of the way, from understanding the application process right through to advice on how to deal with empty nest syndrome once they've left home.
The application process
The application process has various steps and some deadlines you won’t want to forget. To apply for a higher education course, your child will need to go through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
The UCAS website is packed with videos and articles on every step of the application process. It also has information on things like writing a personal statement and ideas for extracurricular activities to support applications.
If you sign up to their monthly newsletter you’ll get plenty of helpful, up-to-date information and reminders of important deadlines in the application process too.
Choosing the right university
The key thing to remember is that this isn’t really your choice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be supportive. Be prepared to help with travel on open days, finding the right course, and even UCAS Clearing if things don’t go to plan.
You’ll find a whole host of information from UCAS. The annual university rankings lists produced by publications like The Times and The Guardian will also come in handy. When it comes to choosing the right place to live, our guide to choosing accommodation can help too.
Student finance information for parents
When it comes to student finance, parents’ income can be a factor. You might have questions about things like the student loans’ parental income threshold, how student finance works for divorced parents and what qualifies you for additional support.
You can find the answers at www.gov.uk/student-finance, which also has info on additional bursaries, scholarships and funds available to your child. This is also where you and your child will be making the application for assessment and loans.
You can also check out our student loans and finance guide for more information.
Setting up a student bank account
Getting your child set up with a student bank account will mean one less thing to organise while they're starting their studies. They can choose 1 of our 3 great offers to make student life just that little bit easier. Find out more about our student bank account.
Apply online only. You must be 17+ and living in the UK. See full eligibility.
Help with managing their money
Your son or daughter will be learning to live independently. The key word here is learning. It’s likely the time will come when you get a call for money. You may get little or no notice, so it helps to be prepared. If your child needs a quick cash boost you can use mobile or online banking to transfer funds to them fast (criteria and payment limits apply).
We've got instructions on how to transfer funds from both Mobile and Online Banking in our Ways to Bank section.
Empty nest syndrome
When your child leaves home, you might experience feelings of sadness and loss; you’re not alone. Many parents have similar feelings – in fact, it’s so common it’s got a name: ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’.
If you’re feeling like this, try and think of their move towards independence as exciting. Remember your child is probably as nervous as you are. Far from leaving you behind, they’ll still look to you for advice and support - and will probably soon be home to visit for a home cooked meal and the home comforts they'll no doubt be missing while they're away.