There are approximately 375,000 young adult carers (aged 14-25) in the UK, all facing different challenges and responsibilities. If you are under the age of 19 and provide regular care and support to a family member, you may be eligible to access additional support while studying.
Universities and colleges have initiatives or support programmes in place to help those who need it, but it's really important to first identify yourself as a carer. If your chosen university or college doesn't know about your caring responsibilities, they won't be able to put the necessary support in place. If you're not sure where to start, have a chat with their student support team, who will be able to point you in the right direction and provide the support you need.
To get an idea of the support available, take a look at these examples of university initiatives for students with caring responsibilities compiled by the Carers Trust.
As part of your uni application, you’ll need to write a personal statement. UCAS spokesperson James Durant has this advice:
Your background as a carer will have given you skills and experiences that can set you apart from other candidates. Writing about your personal journey, and linking it to the subject you want to study will strengthen your application and make it stand out.
Fran is studying at The University of Winchester and has hopes of doing a master’s. She has been caring for her brother who has autism since she was 11. Fran wants universities to make sure that anyone who does care for someone is recognised from the start.
“In terms of increasing support at university, it is to make sure that anyone who does care for someone is recognised from the start so the university can make sure that they are not alone and know that if they want and need help there is always someone there! Starting university, I did not disclose that I cared for someone on my university application as I thought it was not needed and to be honest did not want to use it as an excuse. However, since telling someone at university the support that I have gained has helped so much. I wished I had said something at the beginning and do recommend disclosing this on the application as you never know the help or opportunities you can get by doing this.”