Parents and Carers

advice for parents

Information, advice and guidance for parents and carers to those currently studying at College or Sixth Form 

We've pulled together information to help you understand the process of supporting your young person as they research, plan and apply to universities and degree providers like us.

On this page you'll find:

  • How to help your young person choose a degree
  • Dealing with university worries
  • What your young person should be doing throughout the year to prepare for uni

How to help your young person choose a degree 

Helping your young person choose the right degree and find the right provider might feel daunting especially if it’s not something you’ve done in a while or ever before.  

When choosing a degree there are a lot of things to consider. We recommend working through this process with your young person. 

Identify a career or field of interest 

From here you can work backwards, looking at what degree or qualification they need to achieve this goal. Looking at this might start raising important questions like how long it’d take to get into this career, what steps they need to take, and what subject or  grades they'll need to get onto this pathway.

Shortlist qualifications 

Before you look things like location or student experience, start with a list of who teaches this qualification, keeping in mind important things like the modules that are taught as part of it and the entry requirements  as these may differ. 

Look at Location and Experience 

Once your young person has a plan on the degree that they want to study, start looking at Location and Student Experience. You might want to ask them questions like: do you want to live at uni or at home? How often do you think you’ll visit home and are there affordable ways to do this as often as you think you’d like to? Do you want a teaching approach more like school with smaller classes or are you self-directed enough to benefit from lecture style teaching? What does the student support package look like? 

Visit open days and get in touch 

The best way to take your shortlist from a list to a plan is to get in touch. Whether it’s encouraging your young person to attend an open day with you, or reaching out yourself to help them gather important information, speaking to the uni or degree provider will give you a much better impression of what things will be like for your young person, as well as what support is in place.

Dealing with university worries

Starting something new can be exciting and worrying in equal measure, especially when everything feels new.

The academic step-up can demand a lot more independence that not everyone is prepared for. In this video our team share some useful tips to help you deal with these challenging situations.

Explore our support offer

What your child should be doing throughout the year to prepare for uni

A guide for parents and carers of young people with disabilities on progressing to university

Congratulations! Your young person is preparing to take the exciting step of progressing to higher education. As a parent, you play a crucial role in supporting them on this journey. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this transition and ensure a smooth and successful experience for your young person.

1. Understanding Support Services:

Familiarise yourself with the support services available at the chosen higher education institution. Most universities and colleges offer disability support teams that provide tailored assistance, accommodation, and resources for students with disabilities. Reach out to these teams early on to discuss your child's specific needs and explore the available support options.  At UCEN Manchester, the Future U Student Support Team are a one stop shop for all aspects of student support: Student Support For Your Whole Learning Experience | UCEN Manchester

2. Researching Universities and Courses:

Help your young person research different universities and courses that align with their interests and career aspirations. Take into account factors such as campus accessibility, support provisions, and available accommodations. Attend university open days or virtual events to get a feel for the campus environment and meet disability support staff.  At UCEN Manchester, our Disability Team can offer campus visits on request. Disability Support | UCEN Manchester

3. Disclosing Disabilities:

Discuss the importance of disclosing disabilities during the application process or upon acceptance. While disclosure is optional, it enables the institution to make reasonable adjustments and ensure support arrangements are in place before the course starts.

4. Applying for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA):

As your child’s Education Health and Care Plan will cease when they progress into higher education, additional support and funding is provided through the Disabled Students’ Allowance. Encourage your child to apply for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) through Student Finance England. DSA provides financial support for additional study-related costs due to learning difficulty, long-term illnesses, or disability, such as assistive technology, note-taking services, and specialist tuition. As part of our Confident Futures series, you can find out more about DSA by attending our dedicated workshops:  Find out more about the Disabled Students’ Allowance. | UCEN Manchester

5. Accommodation Arrangements:

Ensure early accommodation arrangements are made, especially if your child requires accessible living spaces. UCEN Manchester does not have its own dedicated halls of residence but we do partner with Manchester Student Homes who can help suitable student accommodation:  Student accommodation in Manchester - houses homes flats housing (

6. Preparing for Transition:

Assist your child in preparing for the transition to higher education. This may involve visiting the campus, arranging orientation sessions, and discussing their concerns and expectations about university life. Encourage them to connect with current students or disability or neurodiversity support groups for peer advice and support. At UCEN Manchester, we organise a number of events across the year:  Latest Events | UCEN Manchester

7. Developing Self-Advocacy Skills:

Encourage your young person to develop self-advocacy skills and communicate their needs confidently. Being proactive and assertive with their lecturers, disability support teams, and classmates will help ensure their requirements are met effectively.  

8. Building a Support Network:

Help your child establish a support network at university. This can include friends, mentors, disability advisors, and tutors who can provide guidance and encouragement throughout their academic journey. Encourage them to join the many clubs and societies offered by the Student Union.  You can find out about UCEN Manchester’s Student Union here:  Students' Union | UCEN Manchester

9. Balancing Academic and Wellbeing Needs:

Remind your child to balance their academic commitments with self-care and well-being. Encourage them to seek support when needed and be mindful of stress levels during exams and assignment periods. We have a dedicated Wellbeing Officer and Counselling Team at UCEN Manchester.  Please note that in line with other universities, UCEN Manchester would not be able to provide specific information regarding academic progress or well-being of your young person unless we considered them to be at significant risk of harm to themselves or others. #InThisTogether - Support Resources | UCEN Manchester

10. Encouraging Independence:

Support your young person in gaining independence throughout their university experience. Encourage them to take charge of their studies, access support services on their own, and explore extracurricular activities that interest them.

Remember, every individual's experience is unique. As a parent, we understand you play a pivotal role by offering a source of support, understanding, and encouragement as your young person embarks on this exciting chapter of their life. By working together and utilising available resources, you can help ensure a positive and enriching higher education experience.

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