Parents’ advice on applications still key, say students

University applicants still rely heavily on parental advice when picking their course, a new survey says.

October 18, 2014

Almost a quarter of sixth-form students (22 per cent) say their parents’ opinions are an important factor in picking a university, while one in seven (14 per cent) go as far to say this advice is more important than their own views, according to a OnePoll survey of 500 students aged 16 to 18.

Students often turn to parents because they do not receive the advice they need from their schools, the survey suggests.

Three-quarters of students (74 per cent) felt schools and colleges didn’t give them enough information on which to base their university decisions, while 34 per cent said they had not spoken to anyone in industry about their higher education choices.

The poll was commissioned by Coventry University ahead of the first Ucas deadline of 15 October when applications for medicine, dentistry and Oxbridge colleges had to be submitted. The final deadline for other courses is 15 January.

Ian Marshall, deputy vice-chancellor at Coventry, said parents might not be well-placed to advise their children.

“The university landscape has changed dramatically in the last 20 to 30 years and therefore parental advice, which many parents admit is heavily influenced by their own higher education path, may be ill-informed,” said Professor Marshall.

“The most effective advice parents could offer would be to encourage their children to research potential future careers – including talking to people in those fields of work.”

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