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The pains of uni applications

(16 Posts)
concernedmum86 Mon 15-Feb-16 11:45:33

It has been just over a month now since the UCAS deadline passed, and I'm still having nightmares about trying to help my DD get her application, personal statement, and uni choices in order!! sad wine wine
I would love to hear other parents experiences of helping their DC apply to university - how helpful did you find UCAS? How much was your DC's college involved? I found teachers and careers advisors unhelpful... So much has changed since I was at uni...

titchy Mon 15-Feb-16 12:34:20

To be honest if she's not applied yet, given that the initial deadline has now passed, it sounds as if she doesn't actually want to go.

Would not applying this year at all be worth thinking about? She has the rest of her life to go to university if that's what she wants.

homebythesea Mon 15-Feb-16 12:40:27

What is it exactly that is causing a "nightmare"?

What exactly have her teachers /other staff done to help/advise? Why were they unhelpful?

What exactly has your DD done so far? This is key! She needs to want to do it, motivation comes from there, not from parents (however well meaning).

mouldycheesefan Mon 15-Feb-16 12:42:32

I don't think UCAS actually help individuals with their applications, they manage the system.

concernedmum86 Mon 15-Feb-16 12:44:39

titchy - she managed to get her application in - just! she says she wants to go, she just finds it hard to get organised sometimes. i dont know if this is a sign that maybe it isnt right for her?

concernedmum86 Mon 15-Feb-16 12:47:03

homebythesea - narrowing down choices was a nightmare. there are so many different unis to choose from and I just can't be sure which is the best for my DD. her teachers seemed to be as confused about where to go as we were! i would have thought they should be equipped with guides of some sort...
DD managed to get her application in, now we are just waiting to hear back. i think sometimes i should just give up and leave her to it because it has taken so much to get to this point...

mouldycheesefan Mon 15-Feb-16 12:47:55

Plenty of disorganised people go to uni. And plenty more work at them in highly academic roles!
Where has your dd applied and what does she want to do?

homebythesea Mon 15-Feb-16 12:53:40

Well of course the primary filter when choosing is grades required- we found whatuni.com really useful because it had a filter for predicted grades which narrowed the field somewhat. DS had strong views where he wanted to be geographically, so that discounted a few more, then it's down to campus v city and course content. Too late for you now obvs but maybe useful for others

And yes, let her get on with it now- once she gets offers she needs to go to open/offer days as gut feeling is a strong factor

titchy Mon 15-Feb-16 13:12:50

There are guides galore! League tables, unistats, which, whatuni etc. It really should be her doing the research etc, though agree lack of careers advisers is a bad thing. Decisions basically based on subject, likely grades, reputation of place for subject, preferred location and type of university.

Glad she got it in on time though!

hellsbells99 Mon 15-Feb-16 15:03:53

Concernedmum - as you can see within the Higher Education topics, there are now several threads dedicated to choosing from the intial 5 once all offers are in .....the joys of being a parent! DD got her application in early, withdraw from 1, has been to interviews/offer days and is now choosing not to talk about it at all. I don't think she will make a decision until the last minute.

hellsbells99 Mon 15-Feb-16 15:04:47

Initial not intial!

bojorojo Mon 15-Feb-16 16:37:01

Concerned .... I get a sneaking feeling your DD wanted to be spoon fed. She sounds a bit reluctant. Teachers only know where they went. Often they are not good at advising others who want to study something different. Times have changed since they went to university too! Careers is down the pan.

So, it is up to you to do the research. It does not take much research to see which the best universities are and where delivers the best courses for her subject. Then it is down to location and campus vs town. Go and have a look around and see what feels best. UCAS is only there now to flag up offers or rejections. When offers come in, go to the post offer days. This means she will start to see where meets her requiremements and look at accommodation. Make a list of her requirements. Where are other people going from her school? What have they found out?

If you say where she has applied, people on MN will know of the universities and have opinions to help you sift. Some will have young people actually there.

TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 15-Feb-16 16:51:29

Biggest problem we had was with the personal statements. Our DCs wrote statements basically illustrating their enthusiasm for the subject; the extra reading around they'd done, the ideas that had triggered, the trips they'd taken to pursue their interest, the related hobbies and jobs they'd had.

The sixth form college put them under a lot of pressure to change their statements to a much more bland list of achievements and modules studied. My kids stood their ground.

However, many of my DCs' very academic friends struggled and failed to get offers for competitive courses. I do wonder if their personal statements were not particularly helpful.

bojorojo Mon 15-Feb-16 17:19:30

Oh dear, Tinkly, the College advice is rubbish. Universities do not want to see boring lists. Everyone has donesimilar modules. None of tis makes the student different and engaging. Trips are a bit iffy because not everyone gets the chance and it is not evidence of the student actually doing anything and the parent usually pays. It is a bit like saying, "I want to study Drama because I have been to the theatre a lot". Far better to say how your acting has developed by studying how great actors develop roles, for example. However, I always think personality shines out in a well written PS. So a bland one is just that, bland....and easily dismissed! What a shame children get such bad advice!

TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 15-Feb-16 18:04:41

Boj the trips were things like my wannabe geography student son enthusing about the coast to coast bike ride he'd done and how it had given him a fantastic sense of the physical and industrial geography of the region. And my classics loving DD talking about coming across a very obscure Roman military site and possible amphitheatre on top of a mountain in North Wales. Nothing particularly priviliged and nothing we had paid for.

BeeppityBeep Mon 15-Feb-16 18:14:50

OP - it's not the best plan but your DD can always withdraw or change her choices on results day or even later. I've known more than a few go to uni and change their courses in the first few weeks.
One of my DCs switched from one more general stem subject to a slightly more specialist one at the same Uni a few weeks into the course. He had previously given his subject choice lots of thought so it wasn't as though he rushed his initial choice.
If your DD is busy with her Alevels then it might be that she just doesn't quite have the time to be thinking about her Uni choices properly.
Going on applicant days should hopefully enthuse your DD and make it more real.

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