We understand that as a parent or guardian of someone considering university you may have many questions. From researching universities, through to enrolment it’s a busy and exciting time. We hope this site will give you more confidence in supporting, advising and preparing your child as they start their university journey.
There are a number of things that might influence your child's choice of course and university. It might seem difficult to know where to start. Here are a few key things to consider:
What subjects are they interested in? Are they interested in a single honours degree studying one subject area, or do they want to study two subjects together in a joint honours degree? Check if they meet the entry requirements, as these can vary from course to course.
Does the course contain units that your child finds motivating? How will the course be assessed? Think about your child's strengths – are they suited to coursework or exam based assessments? Would they like the option of studying aboard or doing a placement year?
Is there a specific profession that they want to enter that requires a degree with a professional accreditation? For example, our psychology degrees are accredited by the British Psychological Society, which allows graduates to take the first step to becoming a Chartered Psychologist.
Where do they want to study? Do they want to stay at home or move away? If they are looking to move away, what accommodation options are available?
Familiarise yourself with their choice of course, university location and accommodation. This way you can chat to them about the options.
Navigating the process of applying for university can be can be challenging, so we have created a handy jargon buster to help you recognise certain terms you may hear.
Adviser – this is someone who provides your child with advice and supports their application. This could be a teacher, tutor, or agent.
Application Centre – a school, college, or organisation that can help students apply to higher education. For undergraduate students this will usually be their sixth form college.
Clearing – is a service your child can use to look for alternative courses. Whether they didn’t receive offers, declined their offers, or didn’t get the compulsory grades. Clearing runs from early July – mid September and allows the learner to apply for courses that still have vacancies.
Conditional offer – your child may receive an offer of a place on a course subject to conditions. To be accepted on the course, they’ll need to meet the conditions – usually related to their exam results.
Confirmation – On results day the outcome of a conditional offer your student has accepted will be given. If they meet the conditions, their place will be made unconditional - meaning they have achieved a place on the course.
Entry requirements – this is what a university expects the student to achieve to secure a place on the course.
UCAS Extra – is a service they can use to apply for alternative places if they do not hold an offer from their first five choices.
Firm choice – an offer they accept as their first choice.
Further education (FE) – the level of education completed at school or college before university.
Higher education – education at universities or similar educational institutions.
Insurance choice – an offer they accept as their second choice – just in case the learner doesn’t meet the conditions of their firm offer. Ideally, this should have lower entry requirements.
Visit Day – once your young person has received an offer to study at university they might be invited to attend a Visit Day. At a Visit Day they will find out about their chosen course, meet tutors and have the chance to look at the department where they will be studying.
Open Day – when your child is considering university they can attend Open Days to get a first-hand experience of what different universities have to offer.
UCAS application – undergraduate students apply to university through UCAS, which drives the application process for British Universities.
Placement year – a course with an additional year where the student works in the profession they’re studying for.
A-level – The General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-level or A-level), is an academic qualification taken in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland by students completing further education.
AS level – the common term for the Advanced Subsidiary or first part of a full A-level qualification.
BTEC – stands for Business and Technology Education Council qualifications which can be taken to gain entry into higher education.
Honours – for example an ‘honours degree’. Most undergraduate degrees in higher education can come with ‘honours.’ This means it’s possible to get a degree ‘with honours’, which would be an extra indication of quality.
UCAS Tariff – this system allocates points to the different qualifications the learner can use to get into undergraduate higher education.
We passionately believe that going to university is a worthwhile investment in your child's future. All students have different reasons for going to university. Some of the most common reasons are:
Manchester is a vibrant and exciting city, with something for everyone, from history and culture to social events and shopping.
It’s easy to get around Manchester with its extensive public transport system. Best of all, our campus is a 10 minute walk from the city centre. There are many bus stops close to campus and Manchester railway stations are within walking distance. We are one of the greenest university’s* and our environment team has recently invested in providing more secure cycling shelters on campus for students.
*Ranked 2nd in the People and Planet university league 2019
Whether your child is commuting from home or moving to Manchester, there are social activities on offer to suit everyone. They will also have the opportunity to meet friends on their course and during other activities. The Students’ Union is a good place to start for a range of clubs, societies and events theunionmmu.org
“What do you know about the university and, indeed the city they are moving to? Acquaint yourself with these, as it is unlikely your son and daughter has done much background research. Maybe there are some societies available that you know would be of interest to them. Casually drop it into conversation. Both campus-based work and societies present a wonderful opportunity for fresher’s to make new friends and to integrate into university life. A gentle suggestion at the appropriate time can work wonders.”
If your child is moving away from home, you will need to look at the different accommodation available and the costs.
Manchester Met offer a wide choice of rooms, with everything from the latest environmentally sustainable eco-townhouses, to en-suite flat shares and more budget-friendly rooms. The majority of our student accommodation is located on or near campus.
We understand that as a parent or guardian you may worry, so for extra peace of mind, all halls have 24-hour security and a residential life team to provide support. We have 11 University student residences. Full details can be found at mmu.ac.uk/accommodation
There is lots of private student accommodation in Manchester. These can be explored through Manchester Student Homes
“If their cooking ability is almost non-existent, maybe suggest they lend a hand in the kitchen before departure. It won’t take long before they have a signature dish they can knock up, and a little bit of pasta goes an awful long way! Can they wash their clothes and wield an iron? A few simple lessons at home can stand them in good stead for the future. If they are going to be living at home, there will be a change in their routine as they engage in student life. It’s hard for parents to accept, but they may begin to stay out late.”
We provide a whole host of wellbeing support services here at Manchester Met, and work hard to make sure students can access the services they need. Whether they want to meet new people, try something different by getting more active, or need some advice and a friendly chat, we’ve got it covered.
Find out more about our wellbeing offer to students.
Information for family and friends of current students
We understand there may be times when you want to contact your student and are unable to do so. You may also be concerned about them and want to speak to someone at the University about their wellbeing. If this is the case, then this advice explains how we will engage with you and with your student.
Our Academic and Study Skills team are here to provide advice and support to help students achieve their full academic potential. Whether it’s help planning an assignment, support to improve numeracy skills or feedback on written work, there’s lots of ways to access support. This includes one-to-one appointments with tutors, group workshops and online resources.
Find out more about Study Skills.
Your child is ready to take the next step and apply to university? That’s great! Their school or college will be able to offer advice on the application process and support them as they begin their journey to university. In addition, they might benefit from the following resources:
UCAS initial deadline. We do consider courses later, but some fill up so the sooner we receive applications the better.
Student finance applications open. Apply through student finance gov.uk/student-finance
Applicant Visit Days. For most courses we make offers on, we also invite the student along to visit the campus and see the department they could be studying in.
Application responses. As long as the student applied by the January deadline, we’ll be in touch with our decision by now.
If the student has made Manchester Met their firm choice, it's time to register their interest and apply for student accommodation.
Decision time. They have received all of their offers by March, they will have until early May to make their firm and insurance choices.
Student finance deadline, for specific dates check the relevant country's student finance website.
Results time. Do they have the grades for their conditional offer? Are they still looking for a place, if so visit mmu.ac.uk/clearing
The autumn term begins, giving your son or daughter the chance to meet new friends and focus on their studies.
Applying for University is a big step, and not just for your child. Parents who have recently been through the process share their advice for navigating it smoothly.
So, your child is off to university and, as a parent, you want to make sure that they have an easy transition into their new life.
This is their big adventure, and they won’t thank you for taking over and trying to run the show for them. Nevertheless, letting go is hard, and your natural instinct is to get things sorted for them. As parents, we need to step back and let them take control, and await their request for assistance.
That said, there are still things that parents can do in the background that can make this transition appear seamless. Firstly, there are some of the practical issues such as a student bank account; do they have one? Do some research in the background to find out what’s needed and then drop it into conversation. My son was more than happy for assistance with this. Avail yourself on matters related to student finance so you have an understanding of what monies they can expect to receive. Chances are you’ll be called on for assistance here.
What do you know about the university and, indeed the city they are moving to? Again, acquaint yourself with these. Maybe there are some societies available that you know would be of interest to them. Casually drop it into conversation. What about campus-based work opportunities? Remember all those enthusiastic students that showed you and the family around the university at the open day? Well, now it’s your child’s turn to don the ambassador hoodie and do their bit. Both campus-based work and societies present a wonderful opportunity for fresher's to make friends and to integrate into university life. Again, a gentle suggestion at the appropriate time can work wonders.
Other areas where useful assistance can be given without appearing to dominate, is domestic skills. If their cooking ability is almost non-existent, maybe suggest they lend a hand in the kitchen before departure. It won’t take long before they have a signature dish they can knock up, and a little bit of pasta goes an awful long way! Can they wash their clothes and wield an iron? A few simple lessons at home can stand them in good stead for the future. If they are going to be living at home, there will be a change in their routine as they engage in student life. It’s hard for parents to accept, but they will begin to stay out late. They might experience Manchester’s nightlife and, maybe crash on their mate's sofa. There is a temptation to bombard them with text messages, but try exercise restraint and limit yourself to maybe one brief message (or even an emoji), which will offer you piece of mind, without them feeling they're on the dancefloor with their mother!
You know your child, and you also know their strengths and weaknesses. Try to remain calm if they don’t take up your offer of assistance. All you can do is observe from a discrete distance and have an awareness of their new life. Simply, just be there when you are needed. What perhaps is often overlooked, is that going to university isn’t easy for parents either. However, if it’s any consolation, it does get easier as time passes. Dig in!
- Stewart Cowley
If they are living away, homesickness can be a real issue for some, but it can be difficult to plan for this, as the spectre doesn’t arise until they have left. A few strategies you can employ, certainly in the early days, to try and elevate the risk of homesickness, is to gently keep in touch; a newsy text message once a day is always nice, with plenty of upbeat and positive tales from the home front. What’s their young brother up to? How is their beloved cat fairing? These things represent normality and are constants in their lives. To be cut off completely can risk them being overwhelmed by homesickness. In the early weeks and months, maybe plan a family visit to their new town. Let them show you round, and take the lead for the day.
- Stewart Cowley
As a parent or guardian results day can be a stressful time for you too. Be encouraging, but practical. No matter their expectations, ahead of the results day, encourage your young person to have a backup plan in place. This will keep the surprises to a minimum and ensure you are prepared for any eventuality.
Familiarise yourself with the Clearing, Adjustment and Confirmation process. Understanding this will give you a head start for results day.
Clearing is open from early July – mid September and allows prospective students to apply directly to the university. There are many reasons why courses might still be available in Clearing. It’s an opportunity for those who have missed their conditions, or had a change of heart about the university or course they want to study.
Your child might be eligible for clearing if:
Link to Clearing student blog
Your child might exceed the grades required by their firm choice institution and so could be eligible for Adjustment. If so, they can use Adjustment to swap their existing place for one at another university.
During confirmation, universities make final decisions on the conditional offers made to applicants earlier in the year. On results day your child will be able to check UCAS Track to see whether their place has been confirmed.
If your child is thinking about applying to university, you might be wondering how they will afford it. Ensuring they are as prepared as possible should give you extra piece of mind.
Before they start university why not give them some budgeting tips and explain how their student loan will have to last them for a certain period of time. If possible, discuss their finances with them early, identifying how they can manage their money and any gaps in income early. This might help them long-term.
As a Manchester Met student your child could find casual, paid work on campus with our Jobs4Students scheme.
To ensure they remain focused on their studies, during term time Jobs4Students cap the amount of hours they can work to 16 hours per week. As research suggests that working more hours may affect their studies.
This is a big change for you as well. Your house might be quieter or if they are commuting, there will be a change in routine, which might take you a while to adapt. If you are worried, talk to fellow parents or guardians whose children have gone to university.
Think about what you’d like to do with your extra time – perhaps taking up a hobby or spending more time with friends and other family members.