Sending your Child to University – a Parents Story - Torsion Students
Date October 2021

Sending your Child to University – a Parents Story

By Eniya Ngonge 

 

Eniya is a parent of a student about to start university. She has written about her experience for Torsion Students about finding the right university for her daughter and moving her out of home and into university accommodation for the first time. 

 

Looking at suitable universities for my child has come around so quickly, I can hardly believe there is a nearly 18 year old living in my house, soon to move into student accommodation for the first time! 

My daughter Emma hasn’t had an easy educational ride after being diagnosed with ADHD as a child but it is testament to her ambitious personality that she was determined nothing would hold her back. She excelled in her GCSEs and is now on track to get 3 A* at college which is why we are now in the fortunate position of looking at universities.  

 

Where do you start when looking at Universities? Well obviously, the first thing you need to do is support your child in deciding on a course and then looking at where offers it. We took the advice of Emma’s tutors at her college who strongly recommended a degree course in Childhood Studies and recommended which universities had a good reputation for teaching this subject.

Emma then did her own research – looking up review sites and forums and talking to friends about their university experience.  

 

Then we found ourselves signed up to a few virtual open days – varying in format and content.  

In a way it was easier than driving around the country.

Emma is pragmatic, ambitious and organised so she did so much investigating and researching to find the most appropriate Universities. We just turned up to support her and make sure she was asking the right questions. 

 

First, we found out about the actual university, what its credentials were and even had a virtual tour round campus. 

Next, we were able to attend a presentation for the course Emma wanted to do. The course sounded wonderful. She would have so many opportunities to do placements too which really appealed to her, a chance to get out of the lecture hall!

The most impressive thing to hear was the opportunities following this course, it is really important to consider, the investment in money and time is so huge, we wanted some reassurance that there is a good chance of employment at the end of it. 

Some of the previous students had gone on to work in reputable schools and nurseries and entered the industry at management level.  

 

The university showed us the student accommodation options which looked nice, bright and clean but we also asked some student property private halls for virtual tours. 

There were 2 different options for Emma – her own room and en suite with shared kitchen between 6 in private halls or her own room with 2 sharing a bathroom and a kitchen between 13. 

Emma was excited about the thought of living with lots of other potential friends but also really wanted her own En suite in her student flat after having to share with her siblings for her whole life! 

 

We then attended a second virtual open day – this uni is around 150 miles away from where we live so a bit more to think about than the last. 

This campus looked even more amazing than the last and being a seaside city, Emma was excited about the prospect of sunbathing on the beach.

We attended the course talk but for the same course this was a 4 year degree! With it being such an investment, I would have expected it to offer something more than the last but the third year was to do work placements which the other uni included in the three years as part of the course.

Someone asked a question about salary expectations at the end of the four years and quite staggeringly, it was less than the university offering the same course over three years. Being ambitious and extremely money driven, the final decision in the end wasn’t so hard.

 

We were very naïve when it came to applying for student finance but actually the application is very simple and all done online. 

As both my husband and I are on a decent salary, Emma only qualifies for the minimum loan which is going to be tight especially when considering her accommodation and living costs. 

We will have to make sacrifices as a family for a few years but also there is a chance of a scholarship which we will encourage Emma to apply for. 

 

 

So, decisions have been made on the education side of things but there are definitely some anxieties around cooking, cleaning, washing and generally looking after herself without us! 

We have time to teach her the basics at least but there is nothing like living on your own to accelerate learning.

We are very excited for her, a bit apprehensive as it will be a tough few years but so worth it. 

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