Tips for parents of university students

Sep 22, 2019

You are so proud of them! They worked so hard at college and earnt themselves a place at university! Packing your son or daughter off to university can be an exciting but slightly daunting time. Here are some tips for parents of university students.

1: Encourage them to focus on their employability as well as their academics

Whilst it is a distressing statistic, 48% of graduates never secure a graduate-level job and remain underemployed in jobs that do not require a degree.

We conducted a surveyed of 1500 graduates to find out why they struggled to get a graduate job

The survey revealed that:
90% found it difficult to work out what job was right for them
86% found it hard to write a graduate CV
85% find interviews difficult and nerve-wracking
85% admitted needing work experience before entering the workforce

Your son or daughter can increase their chances of successfully securing a graduate-level job after university by working on their employability whilst they study.

Action points:

-Encourage your son or daughter to get work experience and/or internships and a part-time job.

-Purchase a copy of The Student Book for them. It outlines everything you need to know to get the job you really want.
A degree alone is no longer enough to secure a graduate-level job.

Graduate recruiters expect graduates to leave university with the following 6 skills:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Organisation and planning
  • Problem-solving
  • Professionalism
  • Using your own initiative

Gaining work experience will help your son or daughter, to be able to clearly demonstrate and articulate that they have skills useful for the workplace. This will boost their employability.

For more information, visit our page dedicated to parents.

We’ve put this as the first tip for parents of university students because employability is often overlooked.

2: Understand the academic support available to them

Most graduate schemes have a minimum entry requirement of a 2:1 degree.

Employers still do value academic achievement however, it is important to also gain experience as explained above.

Many students say that “first year doesn’t count” as the grades achieved in the first year doesn’t contribute to the final degree classification.

However, working hard in first year will help them to build a strong foundation for their second and final year at university.

First year is a good opportunity for students to develop the academic skills required for higher education such as researching and referencing.

If your son or daughter is having trouble adapting to their university studies remind them that they can:

Tips for parents of university students

-Visit their academic support centre.

Most universities have an academic support centre as well as a section on their website dedicated to academic support.

They will provide help with research skills, writing skills, study skills etc.

-Speak with the staff at their university’s library

The library staff can help students to locate books and resources related to their course.

If your son or daughter requires assistive technology, the library staff may also be able to help your son or daughter with that too.

-Attend office hours

Office hours will give your son or daughter the opportunity to speak with their lecturers face to face. If they are struggling with a particular area of their course attending office hours can be beneficial.

-Get the right support if they have or think they have learning difficulties

The disability services centre at your son or daughter’s university can help them to get the support they need.

3: Encourage them to be all-rounders

As well as a strong academic record and work experience, employers will be interested in your son or daughter’s extracurricular activities.

Encourage them to take up leadership positions for societies that they are interested in.

Other activities such as taking part in a sport, volunteering, learning a language or playing a musical instrument will help your son or daughter to stand out when it comes to applying for graduate jobs.

Furthermore, taking part in these additional activities will help them to get the most out of their time at university.

Whilst they may find the academic element of their university overwhelming at times, it is important that they manage their time effectively and pursue various other activities as employers will look for evidence of this.

4: What to do if your child wants to change course

If it is still early on in the term it may be easy to switch to another course. Advise them to book an appointment with their programme leader to see if they can switch to another course.

Unless your son or daughter wants to go into a vocational profession such as nursing, changing their degree subject shouldn’t have a major impact on their employability as many graduate programmes do not require a specific degree subject.

If your son or daughter is studying something that they enjoy, they may feel more motivated to work harder, increasing their chances of achieving higher grades.

5: Give them the space to settle into university life

Your son or daughter might be leaving home for the first time. This can be quite nerve-wracking for both parents and students.

Give them some space for the first few weeks to settle into their new lifestyle.

If you do want to check in, remind them to do important tasks that they might overlook such as registering to the local GP.

Tips for parents of university students: summary

We hope that these tips for parents of university students are useful.

The key takeaway from this post is to ensure that your son or daughter actively works on improving their employability whilst they are at university.

Before you go, here are 5 tips for parents of university students from a parents perspective by Leicester university.

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