With more than 50,000 degree courses available at 300 institutions across the UK alone, making the correct decisions can seem bewildering. Whilst ultimately the decisions made must be your son/daughter's, as a parent or carer, you can offer invaluable support and make the journey to Higher Education much easier to navigate.
There are many significant benefits to choosing higher education. Studying for a degree provides the opportunity to gain an in depth subject knowledge - which is essential for many career choices. For others, the attraction lies in being able to study a subject for its own sake - more than 60% of graduate level vacancies do not require a specific degree subject. Employers value highly the commitment that studying for a degree demonstrates and the transferable skills which students develop whilst at University, such as communication skills, problem solving and organisation. The development of these skills can lead to a rich and fulfilling career and gives graduates the 'edge' in a competitive job market. Higher Education can lead to further postgraduate study and training opportunities. There are also potential financial rewards to studying with an increased earning potential after graduation and faster career progression.
For many students, undertaking a university degree is a hugely exciting time and broadens horizons in all manner of directions - perhaps an evolving fascination with a new area of study; the opportunity to socialise with others from all walks of life with a shared passion for their subject; a springboard to a vast array of career opportunities; or the chance to gain a new level of independence and self confidence.
Choosing the right degree course is critical for your son/daughter to ensure they get the most out of their time at university. There are a wide range of courses available and it is essential that your son/daughter researches the options available to them; the content of courses with identical titles and course codes can vary dramatically between institutions. The UCAS website contains an A-Z keyword search and contains links to university web pages where further information is available about course content.
Most universities offer a range of BA (Bachelor of Arts), BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) and BSc (Bachelor of Science) undergraduate degree courses, which typically take three years to complete. In many cases, Engineering and Science programmes are available as four-year undergraduate integrated masters degrees (MEng, MSci). Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Science programmes are longer in duration. In some instances, courses are available with a foundation year, a year spent working in industry or a year spent studying overseas.
Some considerations your son/daughter might like to take into account include:
There are a wide range of factors that your son/daughter may wish to consider when deciding on the universities they wish to apply to, in addition to whether or not that particular institution offers their subject of interest.
They can apply for up to five courses (more than one course can be at the same institution), but should not use more than four choices for Dentistry, Medicine or Veterinary Science.
Your son/daughter should pay close attention to the entry/selection criteria for their chosen course and institution, both in terms of grades and particular subjects which are required for entry. Entry criteria are published in print prospectuses but further information and advice is available from online prospectuses.