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With the cost of attending university rising every year, parents are concerned about what to expect when it’s time for their children to go to college. Funding is a huge issue for parents as well as students and it is important for parents to have all the information they need to see if their investment may pay off in the future or if attending college from home makes more financial sense.
Universities in most countries today charge tuition fees and if your child is enrolling in a foreign university you may expect to pay a higher price in comparison to domestic students. Tuition fees vary greatly from university to university so parents will have to research and compare the costs of each university and course before they pick one. Tuition fees will also be different for private universities and state universities. As a general rule, private universities tend to have higher fees. The fees will also depend on the academic program you choose.
Other than tuition fees, parents will also need to factor in living expenses. Your child will need funding for accommodation, food, books, study materials, activities, transportation and more. Add health insurance, visas and other additional costs if your child will be attending a university abroad. In most cases you will be able to get an estimate of expected living expenses from universities before you enroll. You can also check government websites for local living costs to get better insight into what to expect when you budget.
If your child plans to take a student loan to fund the expense of university, you should take the time to understand how these loans work. Student loans are made up of two parts: tuition fees and living expenses. The amount that you can borrow will depend on several factors such as grants they receive, household income, location of university and more. The living cost and tuition fee loans combined will provide you an estimate of the total debt your child will have. Student loans have to be repaid once your child graduates and starts working. Interest rates vary based on the source of the student loan but if it is a national scheme student loan, interest rates are generally very low. Use online calculators to get a close estimate of what kind of debt you can expect with different student loans.
Most universities today provide fee waivers and bursaries to students from low income families. Scholarships and grants are also often available so you may want to first contact the shortlisted universities to see if your child is eligible for financial assistance. In certain cases, you may be able to make multiple payments towards the tuition fees throughout the year instead of paying the entire amount upfront. You may also be eligible for many government grants and financial assistance schemes based on your household earnings.
Most students attending universities take up part-time jobs to contribute towards their living expenses. Search for job options available on campus as well as off campus and estimate what your child may be able to earn. If your child plans to study abroad there may be restrictions on the type and amount of work that is allowed. It is important to understand that students do not spend too much time on a job since it may negatively impact their academic performance.
What is the payoff of attending university?
When you are investing a considerable amount in your child’s education, it makes sense to ensure that there will be some financial payoff from the money you invest. Graduates tend to typically earn more than those who do not have a degree. Before you pick a university and a course, consult reports, job market news and labor reports to get an idea of what type of jobs are available, salary expectations and estimate of future demand for graduates in a particular field. You may also want to select a university that provides your child career support, advice and internships.
Studying abroad definitely makes a student more employable as employers generally value international experience. Parents should also spend some time finding out how a particular university ranks in world rankings and if it is viewed favorably by employers.
When students are evaluating universities and colleges, it is usually a very stressful experience for parents as well. Ensuring that your child picks a program that best matches his/her interests and career plans is a difficult job. However, with a little patience and research parents can guide their children in the right direction and help them make a decision that will prove to be beneficial in the long run.
Helping your children discover their interests
While some students have very clear career aspirations, many tend to be quite confused. As a parent, one of the best things you can do is to discuss and evaluate all options available, listen to their future plans and help them find their ambition and interests. If your child is still not sure what course interests them, they could take an online Stamford Test. This online questionnaire matches courses and interests based on user responses.
Academic Vs Vocational course
One of the first decisions parents have to help their children with is deciding between a vocational or an academic university course. Certain courses are quite general, for example geography and English literature, and they usually lead to several different career options. Some other courses lead to a very specific job such as medicine and dentistry while others will equip a student for career options in a single area such as catering or media studies. Discuss the pros and cons of these options with your child before picking an academic or a vocational course.
Before picking a university program, check the course outline of each program and compare them. Almost all courses are made up of optional as well as compulsory modules. Ensure that the course covers a subject your child is really interested in. Parents and students can also contact the university to check if certain subjects are available optionally.
Career options available
It is important to select a university program that will prepare your child for their professional career in the future. Most universities have information available about the kind of roles their students secure once they graduate. You can also consult a career counselor or a professional in your chosen field to discuss your child’s career aspirations to get recommendations about programs that they think would be the most appropriate. If your child has not yet decided on a concrete career choice, it would be important to select a flexible program that allows them to learn transferable skills that can be used in a wide range of roles. It is also important for a program to include career services as well as internships or other opportunities to gain some work experience.
Method of teaching
Talk to the university to learn more about the method of teaching for the particular course, the support provided to students and the level of difficulty. You would want to select a program that will challenge your child but also provide the necessary support required to be academically successful. Based on your knowledge of your child’s learning abilities, you may want to select a course that offers opportunities for field trips, academic lectures, and practical work or smaller student groups. Parents also need to consider the course structure to learn more about the assessment method of the program and if it is suitable for their child.
Once you have narrowed down to a few university programs, you will also need to consider the program’s admission requirements to ensure your child will be accepted at the university. It is generally a good idea to have a few options to select from and apply to more than one program so you won’t be left disappointed. Ensure your child has enough time to prepare for the admission process. With complete support of parents, students have a far better chance of succeeding at university.
Universities today have changed a lot since most parents were students. Technology used in teaching, facilities available to students, accommodations and even the social activities on campus are very different today. University life may feel just as overwhelming to parents as it does to students but it is important to provide children the support they need to adjust to their new lifestyle.
The first few weeks at university
The first few weeks at university are the most crucial. New students may be worried about how they would fit in and if they would be able to make friends. As a parent, you would want to provide your child the reassurance that everything will be fine in a short time. Talk to them to ensure they have realistic expectations of university life. You should also help them understand that it takes quite some time to form friendships and to adjust to the new lifestyle on campus. University life offers a lot of freedom and this might be an issue with some students. Talk to your child to ensure they are focused on their education and that they do not take undue advantage of the freedom they have away from home.
Academic demands of university
The learning structure at university is very different from high school and it may take quite some time for new students to adapt to these differences. With the new independence they have on campus, there might be a lot of distractions and procrastination that may make it difficult for your child to put in the effort to study. If your child is having problems adjusting to the new style of studying, encourage him or her to speak to a professor and seek help on campus to overcome the difficulties.
Accommodation options available
For most parents, university accommodation is one of the main concerns, especially when their child has enrolled in a university abroad. Most universities today offer some form of accommodations to students for the first year. There are several different options to choose from. Traditional residence halls with meals, self-contained apartments, hotel quality private rooms and shared accommodations are the few options available. Each accommodation type has a different cost attached to it. While a private room is definitely the most comfortable, parents should also remember that their child would be responsible for cleaning and cooking. With their academic and social obligations, they might not always have enough time available to do that.
Living with a roommate
In most cases, your child will have to share a room with a stranger. This may present a few problems if your child has never shared a room with someone else. It is important for parents to talk to their children and explain that adapting with another person is an essential skill that will prove to be helpful every stage of their life. Encourage them to discuss all issues with their roommate and try to resolve them in a healthy manner instead of letting problems grow.
Dealing with homesickness
Even if your child is excited to attend university, he/she may soon experience homesickness as they try to adapt to their new environment. If your child comes home every weekend, it may take even longer for them to adapt to their new life. Encourage your child to spend as much time as possible on campus so they can experience university life, make friends faster and make the transition process easier. During their time on campus, parents should communicate with their children on a regular basis and discuss their problems.
University offers students an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded students and form solid friendships that may last a lifetime. Most universities today cater to a variety of interests including academic, cultural, social and sporting and students can easily find something that suits their interests. Parents should encourage their children to participate as much as they can since it will allow them to meet new people and discover their own interests in the process. If your child’s university has a student exchange program or a study abroad program in place, it would be a great opportunity for your child to experience a new culture and gain valuable life experience.
College is a huge step in life. It is stepping outside of a more structured environment to pursue interests that will impact one’s future. It is a time to explore a new environment, meet new people and challenge ideas. Here you will find a few ways to support your child through this change, while still allowing them the freedom to grow.
If your child is away from home, mail from someone familiar can be both exciting and comforting. Encourage other family members to send letters and cards as well. You can write about what’s been happening at home, how other family members are doing, or share a funny story. Don’t be upset if your child doesn’t write back. The independence of college is exciting and often leaves little free time, but your actions let them know you’re thinking about them.
Receiving a box with your name on it is always a nice surprise. Create a box of your child’s favorite snacks from home, a new movie or book, a gift card or something for their new home on campus. Send silly things just to make them laugh, or create a small photo album of recent happenings at home. You can send care packages as encouragement around exam dates, or on any other day throughout the year.
As a parent, you will be curious to know everything about your child’s new environment and routine. Avoid nagging and remember that your child wants to experience some independence. They will probably not tell you everything. Encourage their independence, but remind them that you are only a phone call away.
Happiness, Not Homesickness
It is not recommended that you ask your child if they’re homesick. They may be so busy the first few weeks of school that they aren’t even thinking about home. Asking that one question could really change their mood. Instead, focus on the positive things. Share the positive things happening at home and ask questions about college in a positive manner.
Most universities have parent weekends. After discussing it with your child, make plans to visit so they can show you around. Treat them to dinner if you can, or bring them something special from home. You can visit at other times of the year, but it’s best to arrange these times with your child. You never know what they have going on with school and it’s important to respect their independence, new responsibilities and new routine.
Give your child the freedom to handle schedules, deadlines and budgets. Don’t pressure them into selecting a specific major or class, or into joining a specific activity. It’s acceptable to let them know you will always be there to offer guidance, but allow them the chance to grow and learn from mistakes that will not cause any real harm.
The best thing you can do for your child is to let them know you care, and you will be there when you are needed. They will find comfort as you simultaneously acknowledge their new stage in life, and offer the stability and comfort provided the previous stage.
Worried about your Daughter going to college
College for anyone is an intimidating experience. For many young women, the idea of going off to school alone can be very invigorating but also terrifying. Parents of girls going to college will naturally be worried about their child’s health and safety while they are attending school. This is natural for parents of all children, but there are certain concerns that tend to placate the minds of young women and their parents. There are certain particulars that must be taken care of and discussed before attending college.
The primary concern of many parents is safety. It can be helpful to research the school’s safety measures. Many schools have police call boxes located throughout the campus where students can press a button and be immediately connected to an emergency dispatcher. This is especially helpful in high-crime areas where women are often targets of crimes.
Also an important consideration to make is the consideration of whether or not to buy pepper spray. Pepper spray, when properly used, can help deter a potential criminal. But it is something that has to be researched and considered carefully due to the fact that many states and cities have laws or ordinances that prohibit the possession of pepper spray, mace, or similar products.
Another thing that girls and their parents worry about is health. Women’s health in particular is a very complex and tricky topic. Women have significantly different health needs than men do. A brilliant suggestion would be to make sure that your daughter sees her physician before she goes to school. The physician can then check to see if any additional vaccines are needed, as well as fill out any forms that may be required by the school. Many schools may recommend certain vaccines before entering school.
A commonly recommended vaccine for girls is the vaccine for Human Papilloma Virus, commonly referred to as HPV. The HPV vaccine works to prevent certain types of cervical cancer, oral cancer, and genital warts. While talking to your doctor about the HPV vaccine it is also important to talk to your doctor about your daughter’s other health issues.
Schedule a visit to an OBGYN if your daughter has not already started having yearly exams. Even if your first visit is does not even include a full exam it is important to see the OBGYN so that you and your daughter can be completely informed about reproductive health issues and birth control measures prior to going to college. These are important issues that must be discussed.
Most parents want to make sure that there child is comfortable and having fun. College can be full of homesickness. To ease your daughter’s transition to college you can send care packages. Fun care packages might include a girl’s favorite foods, books, or movies. They also may be more humorous. Feel free to get creative and leave lots of fun notes and cards. Make sure to pack more than one of everything in the care package since your daughter’s friends and roommates may want to partake in the fun as well. Most parents typically send care packages right around birthdays. But sending them around final exam week may help your student reduce stress and feel less homesick.
Lastly, have fun and do not be afraid. This marks a huge change in your daughter’s life and you should be proud of her for making it this far. College is no easy time. It is a time where many girls can get lost while they are figuring out who they are. Just remember that this is just as scary for her as it is for you!