How to talk to your parents about your uni choices

Need to talk to your parents about your university choices but don’t know where to start? We’ve put together a step-by-step plan for you.

Choosing to move away to university and picking a subject to study is an exciting and scary time. And with the UCAS deadline coming up, it’s time to have the crucial conversation with your parents, family or guardians about what you’ve decided to do. 

This isn’t always the easiest conversation to navigate, and your parents or guardians may express concerns or negative opinions about your choices. Parents and guardians will always have high hopes for you, which is a good thing, but sometimes, it can create a conflict between what they want and what you want.

That’s why being prepared with the right information and reasoning behind your decisions is so important. And to help you, here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing to tell your parents or guardians about your university and course choices.

Step 1: Pick the right time

The last thing you want is to try and discuss something important when you’re short on time, or there are distractions nearby. Instead, pick a time when you and your parents or guardians are relaxed and can dedicate the proper time to talking about your choices. That probably means being at home with no television, visitors or young relatives to disrupt the conversation. 

Step 2: Express your confidence and enthusiasm

Start your conversation by clearly stating which university and course you’ve chosen. Make sure you’ve done your research about the location of the university, the university itself and what opportunities you’re excited about. 

Share your enthusiasm for your chosen field of study, what you’re most looking forward to and why, and how this university and course is right for your academic and career goals. Speaking confidently about your choices will help your parents or guardians understand that you’ve taken the proper time to consider your options.

Step 3: Talk about academic benefits

Talk about the benefits that helped make your decision and why this course is better than another. What is it about this university that stands out from the others? 

This could be, for example, the university’s ranking or reputation when it comes to certain subjects. Or particular facilities or resources that the university offers. This shows that you’ve thoroughly researched the institution and that you’re thinking about not just your time at university but how it’s going to impact your future life and career. 

Step 4: Talk about your personal growth

As well as academic goals, you should also use this opportunity to talk about how going to university will benefit your personal growth. For example, how it will help you become more independent or mature. You can also mention how this university will help you achieve this, for example, through their student support or services. 

Step 5: Discuss your financial options

In the current cost-of-living crisis, finance is understandably a huge consideration and can be a concern for your parents or guardians if you’re planning on moving away. If you can, discuss any scholarships, student finance, financial aid or part-time jobs that will help you afford to live away while you study. 

Step 6: Show your working out

In other words, be open and honest about why you’ve made this choice for your university and course. Allow your parents or guardians to understand the reasoning behind your decision and all the things you’ve considered along the way. It may help alleviate any worries or concerns they have. 

Step 7: Be open to input 

After explaining your choices, encourage your parents or guardians to share their thoughts, questions, and concerns. Let them know that hearing their opinion means a lot to you. Try to listen to them without judgement and understand that if they do have concerns, they’re coming from a place of love for you. 

It’s best to go into this conversation knowing you may have to be a little bit flexible or find a compromise.

Step 8: Proactively address any concerns

Before you begin the conversation, it’s also worth taking some time to proactively note what concerns your family or guardians may have. For instance, it could be about the university’s location, available transport or accommodation, or its reputation. Then, think about how you can respond to them in a measured and thoughtful way. Then, if it does come up during your conversation, you’ll already know what to say.

A good example of this could be what you plan to do about accommodation, which has become an increasing concern for students across the UK – both in terms of cost and shortages in many cities.

There’s a good chance this will come up at some point, and you may even want to back up your plans with specific rankings or research that shows you’ve properly considered your options. For instance, one recent study shows that student lets in Leeds came out on top in terms of the number of properties available. 

Step 9: Provide a backup plan 

So far, you’ve probably spent most of your focus on a single university and course, but it’s important to remember that putting your eggs in one basket doesn’t always work out. 

It’s always a good idea to have backup options in place in case your parents or guardians express big concerns about your choices, and you’re unable to calm their worries. This might include considering alternative universities or courses or taking onboard feedback and going back to reassess your decision.

Show your parents you have carefully considered your uni choices

These conversations about your choices can be difficult and sometimes awkward. However, doing your research and being prepared and open to listening will help you show confidence in your university and course choices. Once everyone’s on the same page, you’ll be about to get the outcome you want that your parents and guardians are happy with.