State of shock/worry/ignoranc e

(73 Posts)
AndyMurraysBalls Thu 28-Nov-13 13:58:42

You think you know your children, don't you?

DS is 17 and in year 13 doing A levels. He is also working about 30 hours a week.

I had no idea that he wanted to go to university.

I thought he was just getting these A levels done and then getting out there like everyone else.

He is bright and did well in his GCSEs and really wasn't sure about staying on, but eventually decided to do A levels. I supported this decision (although I was very surprised) and actually thought he had been put under pressure by the school to stay on. (Schools seem to be very into this these days).

We have just had a Parents' Day (which seemed very bizarre to me - he's 17 FFS) and the teacher started rattling on about references and statements and applications.

DS has said that he isn't absolutely sure yet that university is for him but that there are deadlines looming (hence the teachers getting stressed).

What do I need to know? I've googled but there is so much information out there that I can't take it in. I need shorthand facts.

I'm guessing a few MNers must have DCs at university who could please help me.

I've heard about all these people with debts and having to find £9000.00 a year etc, but have always just let it all go over my head because I never thought it was going to apply to me yet. I have a DD who is 14 , and think that she may very well want to go to university because she is a very different character (loves studying and reading stuff) so wasn't going to get too stressed about it all for a few years because things change so much.

Help .....!

LEMisafucker Thu 28-Nov-13 14:04:02

Why is a parents day bizzare at 17?? I would have thought them useful for just this purpose!

Please encourage your DS as much as you can to go to university. I know its expensive but there are ways round it etc and it really will improve his job prospects AND it will be such a brilliant experience for him. I went as a mature student and really regret not dong it when i left school, i would have had a blast smile

Find out what he wants to study and where? He may already have an idea, look at prospectuses, go to open days - there may be somewhere local so he can still live at home and cut down on expenses. If you call the unis they will be able to advise on fees and admissions (although the school should help with this)

Most importantly tell your Son how proud you are of him, he has made this decision himself rather than being pushed by his parents or it being assumed - so i reckon he will be one of the ones that makes a real go of it. Then have a wine to absorb the shock smile

Middleagedmotheroftwo Thu 28-Nov-13 14:23:09

you won't have to pay the £9000 per year fees. DS will take out a loan for this, and repayments will be deducted from his salary when he starts work at a very low rate of interest. And if he doesn't work straight away, or takes a career break to have kids or something, he won't have to pay it back during that time. Also, repayments are dependant on salary - you don't pay anything until you start earning £21k (I think - but somewhere around there anyway).

I'd definitely encourage him to go to university - a degree is well worth the money - it will increase his earning capacity when he finishes.

There are loads of websites which help you chose courses/unis - the Daily Telegraph has loads of info.

Why would you be surprised at having parents' days at 17? They are still minors, and you are still responsible for them, and interested in their progress I would have thought. And as you're effectively subsidising them while they are at school by providing room and board etc, I would have thought you'd want to know that your money is being well spent - and that DS isn't mucking about in school.

If DS isn't sure about uni still, I'd encourage him to apply - it doesn't committ him to actually going to uni, but not applying closes the door. He could also apply for a deferred place, for the following year, if he wants time to think about it.

goinggetstough Thu 28-Nov-13 14:25:31

It is great that your DS is keeping his options open and applying for university.
The following link gives you information on student loans;
www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-loans-tuition-fees-changes

Basically, the student fees (£9000) is covered by a loan. In addition there is the maintenance loan which covers living expenses/ accommodation books etc. This is all means tested. The calculator below will give you an idea about what your DS is entitled to. It all depends on how much your household income is:
www.studentfinance.direct.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=153%2C4680136&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

If your DS comes from a low income family he may be entitled to a loan, grant and even a scholarship. So don't panic. Plus many students work when at university to supplement their incomes, although it is harder to get a job these days and some courses have 9-5 lectures etc.

Good luck!

AndyMurraysBalls Thu 28-Nov-13 14:40:35

Hi LEMisafucker

I find Parents' Day at 17 bizarre because they are almost finished with school and are working under their own steam now. For those who know they really, really want university, I can see the point of making sure you've got the right grades and things (I can't think of anything else because I don't really understand it!)

To put things into context here, I left school as soon as my O'Levels were done (in fact, I was already working) and had left home long before that (for reasons I'd rather not enter into) and had a share of rent to pay.

I have found out that DS went to open days when we were on holiday in the summer (he was working and preferred not to come away with us). He has a load of prospectuses in his room (apparently).

How does this £9000.00 work? Am I supposed to find this? What about rent/food/bills? My head is pounding with worry about the money side of this. I assume that his A level grades will determine what he can study?

I am incredibly proud of him. He has a brilliant work ethic. He works bloody hard in his job and cycles miles at 6am and as late as midnight (despite the school having issues about it - FFS). There are so many lads out there who do no work at all and expect Mummy to buy their pants for them.

When do you know where they are going? Do you have to find accommodation there? I've heard of "student houses" - do the universities help with this?

Shit - I don't even know when the A Level results come out. DS only has grades that he's currently attaining at the moment so how can the school expect him to be applying without any results?

titchy Thu 28-Nov-13 14:51:57

As others have said he'll get a loan for the fees and living costs.

His school or college will put predicted grades on his application. You must know his GCSE and AS results though surely? These too will influence his offers.

What grades were they? What is he doing now? What does he want to do at university?

He has till Jan to apply. Or he could wait till his results are out next summer and apply for the year after.

Tbh I'm not surprised college doesn't like the fact that he is working 30 hours a week. You do realise he is supposed to be studying full time don't you? He won't do himself credit if he doesn't study as much as he is expected to. 10 hours a week work should really be the maximum.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Thu 28-Nov-13 14:56:48

I find Parents' Day at 17 bizarre because they are almost finished with school and are working under their own steam now.

I disagree - they are still kids, and will need your help, support (financially and otherwise) and understanding if they are to achieve the grades they are capable of. And, as a parent, I want to know how well or badly my DCs are doing.

I have found out that DS went to open days when we were on holiday in the summer (he was working and preferred not to come away with us). He has a load of prospectuses in his room (apparently).

Good for him - but why the secrecy? We went to all DDs open days with her - she wanted us to.

How does this £9000.00 work? Am I supposed to find this? What about rent/food/bills? My head is pounding with worry about the money side of this.

As per posts above, DS will get a student loan for fees and for maintenance. You may have to supplement this, and he will be able to have part time work whilst at uni if he needs to.

I assume that his A level grades will determine what he can study?
Yes they will, and also where he can study. But, as you probably found out at parents' day, he and his teachers will have a good idea of what grades he is expecting to get.

I am incredibly proud of him. He has a brilliant work ethic. He works bloody hard in his job and cycles miles at 6am and as late as midnight.

Again, good for him - but if you're keen that he goes to uni, and if you can afford it, you might like to suggest he keeps his out of school work to a minumum so he can concentrate on getting the grades he needs. Being a parent doesn't necessarily stop when DCs are 16!

There are so many lads out there who do no work at all and expect Mummy to buy their pants for them.
I prefer my DDs to concentrate on their school work. They both have pt jobs to earn extra pocket money, but I would ask them to stop in an instant if I thought their school work was suffering.

When do you know where they are going?
DS will need to apply to a max of 5 unis - each will either accept his application or reject it. The acceptances are usually conditional on DS getting certain grades. He will need to accept two offers, and then can finallly make his mind up after he gets his results.

Do you have to find accommodation there?
Unis all provide halls of residences where most first years live - but there is always the option of living at home if uni is near enough, or renting a house.

I don't even know when the A Level results come out.
August - usually round the 14th or so. DS will need to be at home at this time to deal with accepting offers etc.

DS only has grades that he's currently attaining at the moment so how can the school expect him to be applying without any results?

DS's teachers will provide forecasted results on the uni application form.

AndyMurraysBalls Thu 28-Nov-13 15:15:09

Thanks for all this brilliant information and advice.

I am actually shaking with sheer horror at my ignorance here (and my inability to help DS should he need me).

DS didn't involve me in looking at universities or looking at the prospectuses because he didn't want me worrying and wanted to make his own decisions. It wasn't secrecy for the sake of secrecy.

I appreciate the comments about the number of hours DS is working but the school have no ammunition because his grades are on target. I spoke to him when he first took the job about making sure his grades weren't affected and they are not. I think that if anyone started leaning on him about the job, he would stop doing his A levels all together (he doesn't like interference - he's a complex being!)

I think he and I need to have a chat, don't we?

AndyMurraysBalls Thu 28-Nov-13 15:20:58

He is on target for 2 As and a B. They do something called General Studies as well which is on target for a B. He dropped Physics after AS level and I think that was an A (he loved the teacher, but he left and DS ended up hating it).

He wants to do Economics with Finance. Whatever that is.

I think I have been burying my head in the sand over this haven't I?

titchy Thu 28-Nov-13 15:26:31

AAB - blimey! With a bit of a push on the B subject he would have stood a chance at applying to Oxford or Cambridge, except the deadline has passed for those.

Why on earth didn't you think university was an option with those sort of grades?

AndyMurraysBalls Thu 28-Nov-13 15:36:31

titchy - I thought they all came out with As these days. Isn't that what all the negative press comes out with every time results are released? It's all being dumbed down etc?

Oxford/Cambridge is for people from posh schools with the right friends and money isn't it? Trust me, DC's school is like a war-zone. I've dragged myself up very well over the years, but even I'm a bit horrified by some of what goes on there!

I just didn't think he would be interested in university because he's always saying school is boring and he can't wait to leave. He's been saying that since he was 4 and a month old and still says it now! Also, because his work ethic is so strong I assumed he would want to get on with something real rather than reading for years and getting into debt.

I sound like a right doofuss.

It can't be the first parents day at 6th form ?
I went to one for my 17 year old last week but we also went to at least 2 in year 12.
If he is getting those grades while working 30 hours a week just imagine what he might have done if he wasn't holding down a nearly full time job. shock
They don't all get As at A level. They are much harder than GCSEs.

NCISaddict Thu 28-Nov-13 15:44:33

I think this is really sad. It sounds like the sort of attitude people had 50+ years ago when clever children from poorer backgrounds were seen as being too big for their boots.
Going to university doesn't mean you don't have a good work ethic. You should be really proud of your DS wanting to improve his prospects of a really good job and be encouraging him all the way. If he's at a 'war-zone' school and is clever then he probably can't wait to leave and go somewhere where brains and learning are admired not sneered at.

ValentineWiggins Thu 28-Nov-13 15:46:52

If he's getting those grades with that background contemplate a year out working then apply to Oxbridge after results. He is exactly the sort if person they want!!!

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Thu 28-Nov-13 15:51:55

AMB If I had not seen your name on many other posts I would think this was some sort of joke.

Please stop belittling your son and further education in general. I am not surprised he told you nothing about his possible plans. Even though you say you are proud of him.... What did you think he was doing A' Levels for fgs?

I am dreadfully sorry that your very clever and hardworking son had no-one to advise him about subjects. He really shouldn't have dropped Physics if he was capable of doing well - just because he didn't like the teacher.

Others have already told you that you will not be responsible for his fees. Please, please decide to be extremely careful not to say, directly or by implication, anything to him that will put him off the whole idea for good.

Bunbaker Thu 28-Nov-13 15:54:36

"I am incredibly proud of him. He has a brilliant work ethic."

Rightly so. I am, however, a little concerned that you give the impression that you aren't that supportive of his education. I think he will do very well though because he is obviously very self motivated. Good on him.

AndyMurraysBalls Thu 28-Nov-13 16:00:12

Er - who is belittling further education here?

And I certainly don't accept anyone suggesting that I belittle DS either.

I have come on here asking for some information about something I don't understand and am very grateful to those who have helped me.

NCISaddict Thu 28-Nov-13 16:03:11

You said 'I assumed he would want to get on with something real rather than reading for years and getting into debt.' If that's not belittling further education, and by association your son, I don't know what is.

flyingbebe Thu 28-Nov-13 16:04:00

The thing is that a lot of jobs nowadays require a degree to even be considered for the job, even if the degree has nothing to do with the job itself. Studying at uni is very different to studying for A-Levels and it shows employers that you have certain skills, like writing academic essays.

It's good that you getting the information that you require from here but you still sound really dismissive of going to university and higher education in general. With the way that you're surprised that your DS is doing A-Levels and wanting to go to university, it comes across as that you don't think your son is very clever. Or that you think university is a waste of time.

Yes, you obviously love your son but it seems like you think that going to university is the lesser choice and he should be doing something 'real' but you are expecting your DD to go to university. I'm not getting your logic here.

kelda Thu 28-Nov-13 16:05:21

It sounds like your son is very bright. You say he is working 30 hours a week? Do you mean in a job outside of school? If so, I think 30 hours is too much on top of A-levels. I always worked at weekends and in the holidays but not 30 hours, my studying would have suffered if I had done.

impty Thu 28-Nov-13 16:10:00

Wow. Those are great predicted results! My parents had no clue about uni either. Talk to your sons school, they can and will help. Google Russell Group Uni's, look at the websites of the Uni's your ds is looking at. Talk to the admission department if you need info and advice.
You won't need to find fees up front. Don't worry about that. Universities are full of all different people, they aren't the preserve of the posh and privately educated.
Now, you know about his aspirations you can fully support him.

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Thu 28-Nov-13 16:12:13

I thought he was just getting these A levels done and then getting out there like everyone else. Belittling

actually thought he had been put under pressure by the school to stay on. (Schools seem to be very into this these days).

He works bloody hard in his job and cycles miles at 6am and as late as midnight (despite the school having issues about it - FFS). There are so many lads out there who do no work at all and expect Mummy to buy their pants for them. Belittling education.

He wants to do Economics with Finance. Whatever that is.

I won't go on because it's far too depressing. It may be OP that you genuinely do not know that you do this. But it is incredibly frustrating to read.

Finnable Thu 28-Nov-13 16:16:15

I'm currently a mature student at uni, (doing a 2nd degree) having been through the whole process recently feel free to pm me anything specific that you want to know. Not promising I've got all the answers, but I might be able to help put your mind at ease.

Your son sounds like a pretty awesome individual, I'm sure he's got a cracking future ahead of him.

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 28-Nov-13 16:17:24

One piece of advice: he doesn't need to decide now. If he's in his second year of A levels and hasn't made his mind up he'd be better off finishing his A levels, going to open days this summer, reading introductory degree texts in the subjects he's thinking of etc. Basically making sure that he knows what he wants to do.

Then he can apply next September and doesn't run the risk of deciding in haste and making a mistake. He might be certain and just not letting on yet, and he might need your support to make sure the application actually goes in.

This would give him an extra year in which he can save money for his degree, or go travelling if he wants. But the debt is his and its not "real debt", its more like an extra tax. You might need to top it up depending on household income, if you have a lower income he would get a higher loan and grant to compensate.

AndyMurraysBalls Thu 28-Nov-13 16:18:48

DD enjoys school/reading and works hard at school. She has older friends who are hoping to go to university at the same time that DS would and is already excited at the prospect of it for herself. One of her teachers has told me (very inappropriately) that she has more academic potential than DS. She is performing better than he was at the same age (although in different spheres of learning).

DS doesn't like school and never has. He hardly revised for his GCSEs at all despite my support/nagging/encouraging etc. I think he did A levels because it was expected of him by the school, but I know that it was his decision because he is not a sheep.

By "doing something real", I am referring to doing a job where you can see results as part of a productive enterprise where there is a reward in the form of job satisfaction and the means to pay for yourself in life. As opposed to the less immediately obvious benefits of continued study.

Yes, DS works outside of school as do many (but not all) of his fellow 6th formers.

I am sorry that this has turned into this kind of thread. I was just looking for information.

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