How to prepare your student for university

21 Jul 2022

Someone considering university as their next step is faced with a lot of decisions to make - which course to study, where to go, and how they want to shape their future. As a person who they'll turn to for advice, it's a good idea to be well equipped to discuss higher education topics. We've put together some main pointers for you to know and suggested some topics you may want to delve into further.*

Why university? 

University allows the student to pursue a passion in a more targeted way. The course will be their main focus, encouraging them to further their knowledge and challenge wider ideas on specific topics.

Gaining a degree improves job prospects. Not only does it put them a step ahead of others from a certification point of view, but universities also give students precious opportunities to gain industry experience, placements abroad, and access to important networks.

University also provides invaluable social and life skills. From learning how to budget, to making lifelong friends, going to university teaches students a wealth of interpersonal and self-affirming tools that ground them for life.  

Transitioning from school to university

There are some key differences to make the person aware of when they're deliberating university. One, is the importance of deadlines and timekeeping. It is unlikely that tutors will chase them for essays or remind them of deadlines. The responsibility for attendance and time management is on the student's shoulders. We have lots of academic study sessions plus a student support and success team to help the student with any challenges.

Finding the right balance between academic activity and social events is needed for getting the most out of the university experience. 

Students are pushed to think critically about topics. Tutors will teach them how to back their ideas up with independent research and how to reference these accordingly. Although lecturing staff are there to inspire and guide them, self-motivation is a fundamental key to success. Choosing a course that they're excited about is therefore paramount. 

Making choices

Deciding what course they want to study, let alone where they want to study it, can be a daunting proposition. Some students might not know what they want to do and feel uncertain about their future. This is common. The best way to make decisions is to be as informed as possible.

There will most likely be a subject or subjects that they enjoy at school or college and this is a good place to start. Research courses related to this subject, including module information (if available), practical to theoretical balance, and potential career avenues. Remember that there are a wide range of courses available that they may never have considered before, as well as hybrid courses. 

Choosing a university comes down to different variables. Do they want to be close to home? Do they want a campus-based university? Do they want to be in a city/study abroad/be near the sea? What key values of an establishment do they want to align with?

Once they have an idea of these things and have narrowed down their university choices, make sure they book onto some open days. This is where you can not only get a feel for the university and its community, but also ask specific questions about a course and make your research a little more bespoke. Prioritise the universities and use this as their first, second and third choices.


'As soon as Katie saw the University of Winchester she fell in love with it and I knew deep down that was where she was going!' - Alison, parent of a Psychology student at Winchester.



Some students choose to commute to university but if they decide they want to move away from home, there are a few options for them to choose from. This is split between university managed accommodation and private. 

University managed halls are usually on campus so there's little travel time to their seminars and lectures or heading to the gym or student bar. We offer both catered and self-catered accommodation options here

We guarantee them a room in our university managed accommodation if they have a place confirmed with us through UCAS and get their accommodation application in by our deadline. Check this page for more details. 

Alternatively, they might want to live outside of the campus bubble to feel more independent or closer to a city. Most universities will give a list of recommended private accommodation for you to investigate. 

Student finance

Student Finance England provide financial support without any upfront costs. This includes tuition fee loans, maintenance loans, and additional grants if applicable. 

Students start repaying their loan in monthly instalments starting from the April after they leave their course and are earning above the repayment threshold. The payment is usually automatically deducted from their wages. The loan does not impact any credit score. After 30 years all outstanding payments are wiped (increasing to 40 years from 2023). There are also grants and bursaries for certain courses which is worth researching.

University is a brilliant opportunity for students to gain experience in managing finances and juggling priorities. We offer a range of support for students in need of it - more information can be found here


For 2023 entry, try to ensure the application is completed by 25 January 2023. As long as the course remains open (enough people have signed up to it and will therefore be running), we still receive applications from UCAS after this date. We can't guarantee they will be considered in the same way, however.

Some courses will require the student to attend an audition or interview - this is detailed in the course page and supporting information. Once we have informed them of our decision (usually before the end of May although this is to be confirmed), the student will need to make their decision on first/firm choice and insurance choice afterwards (date to be confirmed).

Results day can be an emotional time for many if their choice of university is conditional based on their results. They will receive confirmation on the same day of which university/universities have accepted them.

If, unfortunately, they didn't get into the university they wanted, clearing is a brilliant option

Dates and deadlines for application do change so make sure to check the UCAS and University websites so you don't get caught out.  

Be on their team

University is the biggest step for them finding their independence, so no matter what course they choose to study or where they go to study it, be there to guide them through it. 


Information in this blog might be subject to change and details should be checked on the relevant websites. *


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