How Parents can help their child during the transition to University | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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How Parents can help their child during the transition to University

The final years of high school are stressful! There is a lot of pressure to do well and make a decision regarding the right career path to take (one that won’t make you want to pull your hair out!).

You go into it expecting to only be focused on studying, but in fact it was much more. There were so many fights, fallouts and fantastical scenarios that made it even more stressful on top of final exams. The thing is, there’s going to be more than just exams to worry about and I was lucky enough to have a really good support system through it all. The transition from high school to uni isn’t just about going to a different building and paying more to attend specific classes that qualify you for a job; it’s a turning point in a person’s life.

Parents, don’t worry! There’s plenty you can do to help. Here’s a list of things that really helped me during this transition:

1. Checking in

Check-ins were really important for me. Just a ‘hey, how are you going? Is there anything I can do to help?” went a really long way. You may not be able to do anything to help but letting a high schooler know that you are willing to be there makes them feel a whole lot better!

2. Weighing the options

Now for the serious bit. Weighing your options are important. With the pressure of high school the last thing I wanted to do was figure out what to do after graduation. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in uni, I was asked three questions: “What are you good at?”, “What are you passionate about?”, and “Could you make a living out of this?”. These questions usually give you a range of career options, all you need to do is talk to your teenager about what they might consider wanting to do for a living. Researching is also really helpful here.

3. Creating multiple plans

The thing is nothing really ever goes according to plan. There could be issues with finance, location (possibility of moving), acceptance into a course (probably because of a prerequisite that you thought you didn’t need), or simply not getting a high enough ATAR. I created two plans when I was in high school, a “best-case” plan and a “worst-case” plan (this way I knew that if the apocalypse happened, I could still go to uni). This takes a world of pressure off!

4. Not being too hard on yourself! 

Don’t be too hard on yourself! If things don’t go according to plan, remind yourself that it’s okay. There are many pathways to get into university and into the course of your choice; it’s never going to be a dead end, just a longer journey. It’s like going on a holiday where anything and everything goes wrong but you come out of that holiday having a bit of a laugh at yourself.

Going through high school is tough. The biggest reminder I have for our amazing parents is that you don’t need to have all the answers, just be willing to listen and help out where you can.


Written by Hena Prince, currently studying a Bachelor of Social Work/Criminology and Justice in her first year.

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