Whether you have some or no experience with universities, the following advice will help you through the very first steps of the application process until the moment your son or daughter starts at the university in September.
Helping your son or daugher to apply
Research ahead of time
With more than 50,000 degree courses available in the UK, choosing the best university might take some time. That's why it's important to start researching universities and courses early on and giving yourself time to compare the programmes that stand out the most.
The UCAS website might be a good place to get an overall idea of all the undergraduate courses available in the UK.
Attend an open day together
When you've narrowed down your choices, remind your son or daughter to book their place at an open day: they’ll be able to find out more about the campus life, talk to a programme’s director, visit teaching facilities and find out whether that university is the best fit for them.
Our blog on Six Secrets to a Successful and Fun Open Day has some useful tips on how to make the most of an open day.
It is definitely worth spending time wondering around the university campus with your son or daughter and the local town/ city centre where they might be living. Whether they will be commuting from home or living on campus, location is extremely important. Do they see themselves living there for three years?
Here is a list of websites that will help your son or daughter compare universities and guide them through the entire process.
Preparing to leave home
Helping your son or daughter settle in
We understand sending your son or daughter to university is a big milestone and you want to do your best to support them before they take their big step away from their family.
As they prepare to start their new chapter in September, help them keep track of key university deadlines that may slip their minds, do some research together on the best student bank accounts, teach them a few easy and cheap recipes and run through the basics of budgeting to help them take control of their finances.
Helping them pack
While your son or daughter might be tempted to pack everything they have in their rooms, remind them they won’t have too much space in their new accommodation and they can use their student discount to buy new clothes, accessories or study items.
First off, gather all the most important documents your son or daughter needs to bring with, from passport to insurance documents and university acceptance letter, and then make a list of all the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, electronics, stationery essentials they might need.
Please note that St Mary’s provides essential furniture (a wardrobe drawers, desk and chair), as well as fire retardant duvets and pillows. However, students must bring their own bed linen, duvet cover, pillowcases, sheets and towels. If you’re looking for a detailed list of what each accommodation offers, please visit our Accommodation webpages.
Life at St Mary's
St Mary’s is a welcoming and friendly community where academic success and social development are the core aspects of the higher education career of all our students.
When our students arrive at the university for their first semester of study, they are treated as young independent adult learners with a responsibility for their own choices. Please visit our Student Life section for more information about facilities and support at St Mary’s.
What is the Students' Union?
St Mary’s Student Union (SMSU) is the main representative body of all students and it coordinates all clubs and societies on campus, as well as events and activities. There are more than thirty clubs and societies to join, from football to cheerleading and badminton.
Welcome Fortnight and Summer Ball are some of the events that the Student Union coordinates. Please visit our Clubs and Societies and Events and Activities webpages for more information.
How do you join or create a club or society?
Joining a club or society is quite easy. Please visit our SMSU official website for a step-to-step guide.
If you have any issues or enquiries, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8240 2377 for assistance.
What sport facilities does the uni offer?
St Mary’s offers a wide range of sport facilities, including a Fitness and Conditioning Suite, a Performance Education Centre, a Floodlit all-weather pitch, a Rugby pitch and training pitches, a Performance Hall, Sir Mo Farah Athletics Track and more.
Please visit our Sport facilities webpage for more information.
What about life at home?
We understand that when your son or daughter starts at St Mary's, it can be a shock to your system. Try to prepare yourself for when your child leaves home by thinking about what you can fill the extra time with.
Often parents find themselves taking up a new hobby or attending a course they've been interested in, although many also opt to spend the spare time with friends!