Has anyones 16yo gone away to college?

(36 Posts)
KatyMac Sun 07-Oct-12 16:23:03

How did you deal with the practicalities (emotionally I will be a wreak but I need something to concentrate on)?

Did they live in digs or halls or did you arrange something?

Leaving home at 18 it is hard enough to manage finances; I imagine it is worse at 16!

Any handy tips or hints?

How did your DD/DS cope emotionally?

EvilTwins Sun 07-Oct-12 17:17:39

Can't speak as a parent here but I used to flat share in London with a girl who had left home (Yorkshire) and gone to drama college in London at 16. She lived in halls and was absolutely fine. Her parents visited fairly frequently and the college looked after her well. Only two issues- 1 was that she was essentially following a degree course in Musical Theatre but since she hadn't done A Levels, she couldn't actually have the qualification. The other was that at 16, rather than 18 like everyone else, she couldn't have the kind of social life as her classmates or get the same kind of part time job. Luckily her parents were able to finance her fully. The social bit meant she felt a bit isolated but I guess her passion for theatre meant she put up with it.

I assume this is for your DD?

goinggetstough Sun 07-Oct-12 18:00:25

I can't speak as a parent but I do have 2 friends whose 16 year olds have just gone off to college and they both live in Halls. They said:

- It is important to look at what pastoral care there is for the 16 year olds especially if they have not lived away from home before. Obviously if they were at a boarding school sixth form they would be closely looked after. I am not saying this is vital but they do need some care as they are only 16. I would assume this would be especially important with meals/ enough sleep etc as I think your dd is a dancer Katymac and health is vitally important.

- Do check the ages of those on the course and their prior experience. My friend's DC fulfilled all the entrance criteria but when they arrived most of the other course members were much older and had had experience in industry. This made settling in much harder for them.

Of course you will miss her, that is only natural. In the run up show them about budgeting, how to sort clothes and do the washing etc and to let them plan their schedules.
Good luck!

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 18:28:23

Not my own DC but a girl I have been guardian to went to university at 16
(after some considerable difficulty getting her a place and only then with my guardianship) because her family were abroad.

She has been fine, absolutely no difficulty at all. She was in boarding school so it was not new to be away from home. First year she was in halls. The second year she moved into a flat share with friends from university.
She had no difficulty dealing with having friends older than herself because she had always been in a year group two years or more above her age. She was right at home all the way.

KatyMac Sun 07-Oct-12 18:43:34

It's so hard isn't it

I was assuming (when she was 2) A levels uni & a steady job; well we all know now it doesn't work like that

So the re-adjustment of my thinking to performing arts was hard but I managed it; now there is just the 'going at 16' vs 'going at 18' debate

& I am being told quite emphatically by different people that each is vital

I am so confused

SamSmalaidh Sun 07-Oct-12 18:46:30

My local college won't accomodate under 18s in halls - they recommend "homestay" type accomodation where you rent a room as a lodger in a family home.

needanswers Sun 07-Oct-12 18:48:13

Mine has gone to live with my mum - it's horrible - but you do get used to it.

Is home some of the time on the weekends and I console myself with when I was 16 - I was never in anyway.

Saracen Sun 07-Oct-12 22:05:55

It depends so much on the individual. I went away to university at 16 and was fine. It helped that the institution had a tradition of accepting young students and there were a handful of others around. There was the expectation that we would cope but might need a bit of extra hand-holding. Some did struggle.

I may have found it relatively easy because I was used to doing housework and helping my parents with their finances: they'd done my sister and me a great favour in our early teens by having us help balance the chequebook and pay the bills every month. The main challenges from which some of my classmates suffered were staying on top of their laundry, shopping, cooking and cleaning as well as managing their money.

Socially, we were not at all sidelined. Those of us who showed maturity were treated accordingly, while those who didn't were taken under the wing of some of the older students and looked after like younger sisters and brothers - bossed around a bit, teased occasionally, overprotected at times but still included.

For us, drinking wasn't the issue which some parents seem to fear. Those who wanted to drink did so illegally, just as they had already done at school. Those who didn't want to drink said no thanks, and probably came under less pressure to conform than they had at school. For me, university was a relief from the intense same-age social jockeying and exclusion which can happen within a fixed peer group such as school.

Living in university accommodation helped enormously. Like many young people, in later years I had my share of troubles with private landlords who took advantage and flatmates who ran off leaving me to pay the rent or other bills. With hindsight it was great to have been spared that for my first few years.

Hope your dd lands on her feet, KatyMac!

KatyMac Tue 09-Oct-12 07:36:22

Tbh I'm quite worried about the whole thing

KatyMac Wed 17-Oct-12 21:54:41

I am starting to feel a bit better; there is a boarding school she can go to and some family have discussing her boarding with them so that might be better

If she is primarily a dancer (which if I remember rightly she is?) then there is definitely a case for going at 16 if she is interested in doing a diploma course. If she would rather do a degree, or doesn't feel ready to go at 16 then there is nothing wrong with going at 18 - it is just that dance is such a short career that the more performing years you can have the better really. Most of the colleges are pretty good at the pastoral side because half their students are 16 and moving away for the first time. They either lodge with a family, or share with other students, or live in a hostel, and they all get on fine. Hostels are a pretty popular option in London as it isn't like living off on their own but it is less restrictive than lodging with a family. Is she looking at doing a pure dance course or musical theatre? Which colleges are top of her list? To be honest she would be absolutely fine not going until 18, but I should imagine she is anxious to get started! Has she done any summer courses away from home? They can be a really good way of testing the waters.

KatyMac Fri 19-Oct-12 07:42:55

She hasn't been away, although she has done the normal school trips & group holidays; so being away is OK (under those circumstances)

She is looking at doing the Urdang pre-audition course in Feb; which would hopefully give her the feedback she needs you know:
#can she hack it as a dancer
#how much work she needs to do to get there
#if pure dance or MT would be better for her

& then maybe an Italia Conti course (or somewhere else) in the summer and repeating the pre-audition course in Oct to see if she has been able to put into practise anything they have suggested

On another thread I am trying to get my head around her travelling in London by herself <gulp>

But she can cook, use public transport (albeit in Norfolk), balance her cheque book bank account; we need to work on cleaning her own space, washing her own clothes and I'm not sure what else she needs to be able to do

KatyMac Fri 19-Oct-12 22:52:45

We booked some open days today hmm <gulp>

So how old is she now? What sort of standard is she at? If she does pure dance what style would it be? Different colleges have different strengths so she needs to consider her aims when looking at colleges. For some reason I thought you were in Scotland and I have no idea why confused Don't worry overly about the cleaning/washing stuff - she'd get the hang of it soon enough!

TheDarkestNight Sat 20-Oct-12 01:55:01

I moved away at 16 - similar reasons to your daughter, KatyMac. I lived in halls with students from the local university, and was fine. However, I did know some girls who struggled a lot more. If she's really committed, she'll probably have thought it though fairly hard herself. I know I had. The courses you have planned sound great and it looks as if you and your daughter are being realistic in weighing up all the options. Have you looked at Tring? They board right through to 6th form and have a good MT course. To me the pastoral care seemed a bit overwhelming when I auditioned, however if your daughter needs a little more support it could be worth a look.

KatyMac Sat 20-Oct-12 07:30:11

She is 14 (yr10), she started Ballet last September & did her Grade 5 in May started Tap & Jazz in January & just aced Grade 2 & Bronze respectively.

She is about to start Modern, with a view to doing Grade 5 next year

She also does Ballroom & Latin (which are apparently 'worthless') and African.

She is in 2 choirs and has singing lessons (working towards Grade 5 - I think)

She has 'starred' in a local Youth pantomime hopefully passed her BTec Dance (should know by Christmas)

She attends the local Centre for Advanced Training (p7)
& spends half her life of stage - normally Choir,Drumming or African Dance. With a few B&L comps thrown in & last weekend a Talent Show

But she isn't really 'Ballet'; I like the look of Italia Conti (as the teaching is important to me) or Urdang (as there are different levels/types of dance). Tring seems too Ballet but for some reason Hammond also appeals.

The main difficulty imo is the absence of advise, the teacher either don't know or contradict each other; I'm putting a lot of hope in the pre-audition course being realistic & Laine also have a pre-audition day. But I am out of my depth

TheDarkestNight Sat 20-Oct-12 09:51:12

What sort of marks is she getting in the exams? What really matters is quality of dancing, of course, but I'd expect someone to be Intermediate-ish in everything by the time they're 16. Do you know what exam board she's with?
Hammond is nice, too. Is your DD thinking about doing musical theatre, or does she want to focus on dance, IME dance courses are usually quite ballet-heavy, especially at interview. Ballet is seen as the cornerstone of dance, so they want it to be of a fairly good standard. I'm not sure, but I think for musical theatre they might be a little more forgiving, especially with someone like your DD, who has so many other skills to offer.
If you want any advice, please PM me. I'm no expert, but I've been through the process myself, and would do my best to help.

KatyMac Sat 20-Oct-12 09:54:41

She is ISTD & studying Grade 6 & the next one (is that intermediate?) atm

I have PM'd you - thanks

I think DD is quite confused atm tbh; she 'needs' to dance

Mutteroo Sat 20-Oct-12 13:54:58

Look for somehow here that has good pastoral support. As long as you have people keeping an eye on your DD and making sure she's eating, sleeping and enjoying the experience, she'll be fine. Of course it will be hell for you! Make sure your talented young lady feels confident and work through any homesickness should it arise. Last little bit; make sure DD realises you are 100% behind her decision to board. If she feels your anxiety it is likely to rub off on her. You have time to get used to the idea and worrying about it isn't going to help anyone. If you ar yet to look at colleges and speak to the staff and pupils. Take a list of questions and make sure you happy content with the replies. Talk to your DD aboit her expectations and make sure they're realistic. You are bound to feel nervous because it's the fear of the unknown but it will get better.

How do I know all this? DS boarded from age 13 to 16 and has returned home for sixth form. Can't tell you how happy I am to have him home! In his time away, he has gained a well developed sense of maturity and a brilliant way of tolerating those around him. He had a very short fuse three years ago and now he even gets on with his older sister! Never thought that would happen? When DS said he wanted to go to the local sixth form college, while I was pleased to have him living at home again, I was also happy for him to continue where he was because I knew he was well looked after. Money can't buy that reassurance, it just builds up over time.

Good luck to your daughter. I hope she's able to live her dreams and be th success she dreams of. OP, be that strong parent you know you are.

KatyMac Sat 20-Oct-12 18:56:14

Aww Thanks Mutteroo

It is hard being a mum

KatyMac Sun 21-Oct-12 19:46:35

The first big step is a course in London next Feb; we have arranged accommodation for her with family

Which is a massive weight off my shoulders

If she's only 14 it sounds like she is fairly on track. She does need to really focus on her ballet in particular over the next couple of years - as Darkest said she wants to be aiming at Inter standard in ballet and modern for when she is auditioning. Tap is useful to have, but she won't be auditioned on it, so it is less of a concern at this point really. Good she is doing the local CAT - what does yours focus on? Some have a more contemporary focus and others are more classical etc. It might be worth her auditioning for EYB next time it is in your area - it's really useful to get some classical performing experience.

Ballroom/Latin/African are by no means worthless, and could be very useful for her, but in terms of auditioning for colleges they are unlikely to be much help, apart from in that she will have learnt and grown from the experience she has gained from them. However, if in 5 years time she is at an audition for Dirty Dancing or The Lion King for example, they could prove invaluable, and be the difference between her getting the job, and someone else getting it. Nothing is worthless - there are just some things that are useful in that she WILL be auditioned in them, such as ballet/jazz, and other things that are useful in that they can get her jobs in the future, such as tap/ballroom/latin/African.

The singing is great if she is interested in Musical Theatre. The grades are less important - she doesn't need to be at a particular grade for that, it just matters how she sounds!

Depending on whether she decides to go for musical theatre or jazz or contemporary etc there are different colleges to look at. For an all rounder I would suggest London Studio Centre, as they don't have to specialise there until their final year, and she will reach a good level in all areas of dance there. Millenium is quite well thought of at the moment, and graduates from Bird and Laine always do well (personally I dislike Laine, but there is no denying that their graduates work). Don't look at Italia Conti unless she decides to go for musical theatre. If she decides to wait until 18 then LIPA is very good, and for Musical Theatre Arts Ed is arguably the best. If she decides to go down a contemporary route then you want to be looking at different schools again (with the possible exception of London Studio Centre). But wait and see how she develops over the next year, and where she thinks her interests lie.

KatyMac Mon 22-Oct-12 18:03:27

It's very confusing for me

We just found this & I can't tell her about it because she is too young for it; but it is right up her street!!

Arts Ed is from 18 isn't it, I haven't looked at London Studio Centre - I'll have a look at that - I thought to split the open days between this year & next and also look at colleges at Move it

Startailoforangeandgold Wed 24-Oct-12 23:06:10

My BF at uni was 17. The only effect it had was that she had to live in halls.

No ID in those days so she drank just as
much or as little as the rest of us.

She said she noticed it far more at school, because she's short and PE etc were a nightmare.
(she'd been homeschooled by her teacher Mum and came back to the UK way way ahead of her year).

littlemisstax Thu 25-Oct-12 19:47:16

I've not read it in detail KatyMac, but are you sure she's too young? It says "mostly 16-21" so they may take her

KatyMac Thu 25-Oct-12 19:53:32

Thanks Startailoforangeandgold

Well littlemisstax I just took a big chance & emailed them & I am sat here chewing my nails trying to second guess if I was right to or not

Eastpoint Thu 25-Oct-12 20:08:06

She could do her A levels at Arts Ed, or if she is really desperate to dance could transfer there after Christmas. I think they have families pupils can live with if they aren't based locally. The school starts at Yr 7.

littlemisstax Thu 25-Oct-12 20:11:39

smile

KatyMac Thu 25-Oct-12 21:36:07

Eastpoint, I'm not sure she is ready yet; there is a good 18m to go before final decisions need to be made. I do think she would love it there - but I can't see anything about open days

littlemisstax - I sent you something by PM

EvilTwins Thu 25-Oct-12 21:39:01

Katy - an ex-student of mine did a YMT course a couple of years ago and he loved it. He was 19 at the time- just finished his first year at uni. What about NYMT? They recruit from 14 yrs- have a look at their website. Next lot of (regional) auditions are in the New Year, I think.

KatyMac Thu 25-Oct-12 21:43:28

It was that particular show DD fancied; everyone at dance school 'ignores' her Latin & DD loves it so much - it would be fun to 'do' something with it iyswim

I'm not sure we could spend all that money on something she was less interested in <spoilt brat>

EvilTwins Thu 25-Oct-12 21:54:27

Does she play an instrument ? Looks like they want actor/singer/musicians.

KatyMac Thu 25-Oct-12 21:58:26

Well yes but I doubt they want an ungraded African Drummer (Djembe) grin - they were talking about grade 8 shock

She can sing & dance (& is better at dancing)

EvilTwins Thu 25-Oct-12 22:07:52

Definitely worth giving it a go. The YMT website doesn't mention specific age limits other than the "mostly 16-21" thing, by which I guess they mean they will make exceptions where appropriate. The more experience she can get, the better. BTW, the friend I mentioned up-thread who went at 16 went to the London Studio Centre- it suited her.

KatyMac Thu 25-Oct-12 22:11:13

Thanks - apparently it might be £1200 or so <gulp>

KatyMac Fri 29-Mar-13 22:35:53

It's been an interesting few months - so much has changed

We went to London Studio Centre yesterday & they def only take from 18 (well possibly from 16 but only if you have the UCAS points)

I'm coping better with the idea of her going away; she managed Urdang in February without too much stress. She was all set to go away again (Bodyworks) next week but it was cancelled on Wed (very last minute)

& she didn't get into YMT (but she auditioned in the midst of Glandular Fever)

Her 'favourite' places to Audition so far are Urdang, Bodyworks & Millenium - but she wants to see Laine, Bird, Arts Ed & Performers before she finalises her decision.

She is also looking at StageWorks (In St Neots) as a possible level 3 course for 16; she looked at Ipswich but didn't fancy it much

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