Balancing studying with family life can present challenges, so student parents will find it useful to know what support they can access to manage their priorities. Here, we offer some practical tips to help them along their journey to higher education.

Pre-application and research phase

  • Identify students who are responsible for the care of a child aged 17 or under (the pastoral team in your school or college may be able to help with this), and flag that support is available.  
  • Signpost students to more information and advice - UCAS’ information for students with parenting responsibilities is a good starting point.  
  • Prompt students to check if they are eligible for government support (e.g. Childcare Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance). 
  • Students managing conflicting priorities can find there is an impact on their health and wellbeing. Make sure they know there is support available in HE to look after this, and encourage anyone with an existing condition to share this on the UCAS application so the university or college can put support in place – more information above. 

When they’re applying

  • Encourage students to use the UCAS personal statement to highlight their skills and experience – including those gained through their parenting responsibilities (e.g. communication and organisation skills). 
  • Remind students to check what support is available at the university or college before making their final decisions (e.g. childcare facilities, family accommodation). 

Post-application

  • If family accommodation is required, prompt students to apply early as there is often limited availability.  
  • Remind students to apply for student finance as an independent student, and apply for any government support they are eligible for. 
  • Suggest they book childcare facilities (on campus or elsewhere) well in advance, as places will be limited. They can cancel later on, if necessary.  

 

Preparing for the transition to university or college

  • Remind students to contact the university or college to discuss any academic support needs or anxieties about workload. 
  • Suggest resources to support budgeting as they study – more information and advice on ucas.com.  
  • Make sure they know who to contact at the university or college if they have any questions or problems when they start their course. 
  • Suggest they check for any societies or support groups for student parents.