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How do I give DS the info to choose university, course etc?

(28 Posts)
AskBasil Sat 17-Sep-16 22:12:35

He's v vague and his mate came round the other day and has already been to open days, chosen course, written his personal statement, etc.

I have no idea. His school is shit and not many people go to uni, so no help there. He wants to go to university, but really doesn't have much clue as to what he wants to do.

Can you recommend any websites etc., with lists of open days, courses etc.?

And no I'm not a helicopter parent (just scanned the UCAS thread) but seriously DS is extremely clueless about this and he won't get any help from anyone else.

lljkk Sat 17-Sep-16 22:24:03

What year is your son in now?

AskBasil Sat 17-Sep-16 22:30:37

Last year of sixth form, A levels in June

Apparently other schools in the area have already started collecting personal statements for feedback etc

NoahVale Sat 17-Sep-16 23:56:04

Well i guess If he wants to he shoudl do some research. Go to an UCAS fair perhaps?

titchy Sun 18-Sep-16 00:06:02

He needs to trawl uni websites, look at their standard offers and compare to his likely grades and check his subjects are ok for the course he wants to do. Google university league tables and his subject - broad rule of thumb - the higher placed in the league table the higher the grades needed. He's missed most open days, though there maybe some in the next few weeks. But again websites will give him an idea.

He should do trawling though, not you. It's tedious but easy enough with Internet access.

If he doesn't know what subject he wants to do he shouldn't go. Too much money to borrow unless you're certain it's going to get you where you want to go.

titchy Sun 18-Sep-16 00:08:57

He needs to check with his school when they need the UCAS form submitted with his personal statement. Once he's submitted it UCAS automatically send it to school for references and predictions. They MUST do this before Jan 15th 2017.

BackforGood Sun 18-Sep-16 00:16:04

Open days have been running in the Summer Term and are (mostly) in the first half of this term. is a good website to start looking at universities to narrow down by all sorts of different filters.
He needs an idea of sorts of grades he will be looking at
He'll need a good idea of what subject he wants to study.
He needs to be writing his personal statement now.

NoahVale Sun 18-Sep-16 00:17:34

my dd followed The Guardian for the university league.

stonecircle Sun 18-Sep-16 00:26:48

Are you sure the school is doing nothing? Isn't there a head of sixth form you can ask about key dates and what advice they are providing? Have you looked on the school website to see if there is any advice on there? I find it difficult to believe they're doing absolutely nothing? If you listened to my ds3 you'd think none of his mates are going to open days and he hasn't a clue when his personal statement is due. But I know his school is doing loads.

There's still time to catch some open days. Just google individual universities and dates are usually on their home page.

ErrolTheDragon Sun 18-Sep-16 00:28:09

What subjects is he doing for A level and has he got his predicted grades yet? That might give some clue as to what sorts of things he might consider. He needs to have some idea before he can write his personal statement ( although for most subjects they're not really that important apparently).

It sounds as though his school has been pretty negligent if its only a friends visit which has alerted you to all this. There will be a few more open days ( e.g manchester is oct 2nd I think). As far as i know, you have to identify the unis he might be interested in and look on their websites, rather than there being one list with dates for them all. But don't despair if he's missed them - many will also have 'applicant days' or 'offer days' later on in the process, if he can pick 5 that look appropriate on paper (its what many of us had to do back in the day, after all, no open days in my era).

ErrolTheDragon Sun 18-Sep-16 00:36:38

Wait a mo - i googled and UCAS site has open day listings

Probably would be a good idea for you to take a look at more of that site....

Hope that helps, good luck to you and your DS.

Lorelei76 Sun 18-Sep-16 00:38:42

Talk to the school but also talk to your son about why he wants to go, is it right for him if he's so casual about it?

lljkk Sun 18-Sep-16 10:24:38

Find a UCAS fair near you.

UCAS tool for choosing a university course.

AskBasil Sun 18-Sep-16 13:23:50

This is all really great, thank you.

Slightly dismayed to find that most of the open days have been and gone.

He's just very disorganised and impractical and while not wanting to infantilise him, I also know that if I don't give him a push he'll miss all the deadlines.

ShowMe Sun 18-Sep-16 13:40:44

What are his predicted grades roughly?
Can you get him to visit any local Uni's that are easy to travel to just to give him a starting point as to what to think about. I'd also get him to get some prospectuses from a wide range of Unis. My DC found the paper prospectuses easier to idliy browse through than online.
He needs to read through course contents to see if anything strikes him as interesting. Once he know a little more what interests him then he can fine tune the suitability of different Unis and courses.
The websites my DC used were WhatUni, Which Uni, UCAS, Unistats plus all the ranking site ( The complete University guide The times university guide, the Guardian rankings etc etc)

I'd also suggest he not worry too much as he still has over three months. I know that's not exactly ages but it's still a while.

Another thing to remember is that if he is really undecided about what career to do a generalist degree such as Maths is going to be useful for a lot of things. (I think this is correct advice but I'm not an expert so you should check. I have one DC who hasn't a clue what career she wants but is in the middle of a maths degree. I don't think it's a bad plan)

I'd also remind him that not everyone is wildly 'passionate' about what they study. It's great if you find that subject that lights your fire but realistically a lot of people don't.

thesandwich Sun 18-Sep-16 13:49:04

He can still arrange to visit on non open days. Might be worth looking at something like the icould website to give him some ideas about career areas which might suit him then courses?

HarrietVane99 Sun 18-Sep-16 14:03:35

He also needs to look beyond the application process. If he finds a university/course he likes the look of, he needs to look at how the course is structured. What is the course content/choice of modules? Which parts, if any, are compulsory? Are they aspects of the subject he is actually interested in and would like to study? What are the options in the second and third year? Is there the option to do a dissertation/extended essay in third year? Are there any course reading lists online? He should have a look at them and see if it's stuff he'd really like to get stuck into.

ShowMe Sun 18-Sep-16 14:23:17

Don't worry about helping him. Mumsnet posters are often quite dissaproving of helping out kids with uni applications but I wouldn't hesitate to help him if I were you. Some kids get a lot of help and advice from school and some don't so it seems reasonable to make up the shortfall if needed.
I helped one of my DCs out a lot. She was a bit overwhelmed with her A'levels and was asking me to help so I did. Obviously she made all the decisions etc but I provided back up.

BTW a word of warning about signing up to uni open days, I suggested to my DC that they set up a unique email address just for signing up for Open Day and that they use a universal password and slightly fake details. Some Unis were ok but some were awful for sending spammy emails that were difficult to stop. I don't know why some Unis think they need to collect quite so much personal data from casual enquiries.

Cocochoco Sun 18-Sep-16 14:29:54

Wouldn't everyone help their kid with uni applications? My dss has just gone and I was so impressed by the research he did on courses and places. But we had loads of conversations about where would be good to live, what unis are good etc, what the courses were.

have to say though if your ds is totally disorganised then maybe uni isn't a good idea. It's a lot of debt to take on if you are not going to work and get a good degree.

NoahVale Sun 18-Sep-16 16:23:07

and there is no hurry for university,
or open days, in fact there are open days later in the year.

titchy Sun 18-Sep-16 20:27:16

Noah there are only a few now. Going next year will be too late as applications have to be in by January.

Sadusername Sun 18-Sep-16 20:34:13

Another option would be to apply once he has results ( and is a year older and wiser). Though I guess you would need to check achool could support him with this.

OutDamnedWind Sun 18-Sep-16 22:03:38

Which have a useful guide

MaryMargaret Mon 19-Sep-16 19:49:45

Some sixth forms explicitly say 'we'll support your ucas application post a level if you decide to go that route - but it doesn't sound as though his has much clue? Agree with pps who say don't let him bounce himself innto something he isn't clear he wants to do - big chunk of both time and money. Doing a gap year has lots to recommend it in many instances - but getting a decent gap year placement also needs to staet fairly soon.

If hes of an engi/ technical, or businessy bent, there are also some well paid apprenticeships, some of them also sponsoring your degree. Worth investigating and I wish dozy ds and dozy us had looked into this properly but too late now he's just embarked on the road to megadebt

MaryMargaret Mon 19-Sep-16 19:52:30

Of course he doesn't have to do a serious gap year placement he could travel or get a dull sort of job b so he can save, and at the same time get inspired to study to open opportunities for more interesting jobs

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