Advice for parents about the career options for their children

Home or away?

Baked BeansConsidering where to study can be equally as difficult as choosing what to study. One doesn't necessarily need to come before the other but it does help to have a clear(ish) idea about what subjects are to be studied prior to looking at universities. For one thing it can help narrow down a large field if your son or daughter has a specific career goal or degree programme in mind as some universities may not offer the particular programme of interest or in the format that they require. In this way you will be able to help them to remove a number of institutions from their list with some careful research.

On a basic level, you as a parent will need to ensure that you are satisfied that your offspring will be safe, secure and content with their choice of university programme. After all, they will potentially be leaving home for a period of up to four years at an age where you may feel they are still vulnerable and lacking in life experience.

They will need to consider the option of whether or not to study near to home and not to move away at all. This could considerably cut the cost of undertaking a university degree, but may not suit their aspirations of becoming more independent. Staying at home while studying has been the norm in many other countries; students save money on rent and are able to enjoy continuing their home life and at the same time gaining the university experience, offering them the best of both worlds. This option is becoming easier to achieve as more institutions, such as local further education colleges are now offering higher education qualifications.

However, moving away to study is still a popular and in many cases necessary option. As mentioned, certain institutions may offer the programme that a student wishes to undertake and therefore it makes sense to move away. For many students, the experience of living away from home initially in halls of residence, or later in rented and possibly shared accommodation is as important to them as the learning aspects of university life.