Advice for parents about the career options for their children

The key influencer – you!

A recent study by the National Citizen Service concluded that teenagers today are more likely to choose a similar career to their parents than any generation for 100 years. Three-quarters of students admitted that they didn't feel they had been given enough information on which to base their university decision, and that they relied on advice from their parents when making decisions about their university and course choices.

However well-intentioned, parental advice, which many would admit is heavily influenced by their own experiences, may be ill-informed. The higher education and university landscape has changed dramatically over the last 20 years and parents and students should make sure they do their research thoroughly before applying.

Influencer You

Parents and guardians always want to provide the best for their children; from the moment they are born all we ever want is for them to be happy and live rich and fulfilled lives. We try to base all of our parental advice on our own experiences in life, taking from the successful aspects and attempting to steer them away from that which did not furnish us with positive results. This works in varying degrees; children are reflections of their parents to an extent but are also individuals with their own personalities and leanings. All we can do is provide guidance to the best of our knowledge and experience and hope that they make the right choices along the way.

There are some aspects of their life however, where our own experiences form only a part of the knowledge required in order to assist them in making an informed and balanced decision. The world of education at all levels can be a daunting place; which school your son or daughter attends can have a major influence on the outcome of their learning and working career, and where they choose to continue their education even more so, as they potentially narrow down their options further to the point where they may have opted for one specific channel.


KeyAs a key influencer in their lives, you play a major role in the decision making process, along with teachers, advisers and their peers among others.

The guidance that you provide your child at all stages of their education will be invaluable to their eventual academic achievements and their long term outcomes.

As well as providing physical support in the form of financial assistance and access to university visits with travel etc, parents and guardians can have an important role to play when it comes to university choice and selection.


Once your son or daughter has decided and agreed with you that a university education is for them, there are some straightforward steps that you need to undertake in order to begin the process of choosing a degree course and an institution in which to take it. In order to help things move smoothly, you should also be aware of the total application process and deadlines for things such as UCAS applications and student funding.

FactsFirstly, it is useful to think of this type of decision making in a context to which you can relate, rather than being overwhelmed with the vast choices and variety on offer. Try to think of this whole process as similar to choosing a holiday. It will make it easier to understand and how to consider the type of support you may need to offer. Making a decision such as where to go on holiday is based partly on emotions (what is the ultimate destination of my dreams?), partly on second-hand information (who do I know who has been there) and should be based mostly on factual information (speaking to a travel agent, looking at brochures, checking out website information from a variety of sources).

Before you start to gather a mixture of the above you first need to know where you want, or would like, to go. In order to get to this point however, you need to bear in mind issues such as your finances, availability and practicalities such as travel and accommodation. This same process of information gathering in order to help you to make an informed decision is what is required in relation to assisting your son or daughter with their options in education at this stage.