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Get teenagers ready for University with useful tips for parents

Back behind rear close up view photo of crying depressed stressed workless one lonely hipster looking at the campus doors


As students up and down the country make their way to university over the next few weeks, Dr Lisette Johnston has some top tips for parents.

University life can be overwhelming and it’s easy to forget that for some teens it will be their first time away from home and their support network of family and friends.

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That’s why an academic, parent and former BBC World News editor has compiled a useful check-list for teachers, parents and teens who are considering their next step now exams are finally over.

Dr Lisette Johnston

Dr Lisette Johnston, Head of School at ScreenSpace, part of The Metfilm School is offering the advice following concerns that students are often under-prepared for university life which may lead to mental health issues.

  1. Where possible speak with your child about their expectations for university. For some people it is a logical step, for others it may seem like a daunting jump.
  2. As well as going to see their universities, and making informed decisions about courses, it’s important to highlight to these young people that university is not like school. There is absolutely support available, but there will be an element of independent learning.
  3. Students may go from living at home and getting pocket money to suddenly having thousands in their bank accounts. Teaching students some financial acumen is sensible. Martin Lewis has long advocated financial skills being taught in schools, and learning basic things like what an overdraft it, how to budget for the full year and what you can realistically afford to buy will help students in the long term.
  4. Help them understand what the course involves, going beyond the prospectus. Will they be in a small class of 12 or lectures of 300 people? What is it that makes this the right course for them?

At the end of the day, these people are young adults who have to make their own decisions. Let them and don’t spoon-feed them but advise that the door remains open, and you are there to support them on this journey.

Sometimes, failure can be a useful learning experience – In my first year of university, I ran out of money, maxed-out a credit card and my student overdraft, mainly due to silly spending. The upshot was that I had to get a job over the summer and through term-time. I wasn’t an easy thing to learn, but it taught me an important life lesson.

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