Parents; it’s time to let your children take the dial

Phoning universitis for Clearing

By Pamela Head,

It’s finally that time of the month. A-Level results day is looming and you’ll all no doubt be feeling the pressure. Whether you’re calling your university to confirm your place on the day or entering Clearing and starting the rounds of admission calls, there is one vital thing you should do to ensure you get the result you want though: Call them yourself.

This may seem like an obvious piece of advice but splashed all over the media this week is the news that many parents are ‘helping out’ their kids by doing this for them.

With Russell Group universities like Sheffield and Birmingham making the unprecedented decision to enter Clearing this year, it can seem tempting to let an adult take care of it for you, but this will do you more damage than good.

The Girls’ School Association president Hilary French said: “It is better to have an over-interested parent than uninterested parent and you can understand why they want to be involved because their children are making a huge investment now in their university education. But there must be boundaries to this.

“Now is not the time to be nervous on the telephone and it’s certainly not the day for letting your parents fight your battles for you. By all means discuss your options with them but if you have to talk to universities you’re on your own.”

The term ‘helicopter parenting’ is often used to describe your parents taking an active part in your university journey. Some parents even rent accommodation on campuses and the surrounding area to make sure they can be around for their child throughout their first week away from home.

While some teenagers find this a comfort and this is a decision you’ll need to make later on once you’ve got a place at university, you’ll need to secure that place first.

There’s a simple question to ask yourself: If you worked in an Admissions office and dealt with thousands of students a day all competing for one place on a course and a student got their parent to call, would you admit them?

The message it sends is that you aren’t mature, responsible or dedicated enough to your studies to make a simple phone call. Ultimately, it is YOUR place at university that is at stake and while your parents may be investing in your education and helping you out with loans, the university is interested in you and no one else.

I know it’s scary because I’ve done it myself. I know that it can be tempting to ask mum to do it for you but resist. It’s your education; your future and your first step on the path to independence so take a deep breath and dial. If your parents are insistent upon helping you in some way, get out the suitcases and tell them to start packing instead.