It’s that time of year again when stress levels rise and heads are buried in books. With exams in full swing for many families, thoughts will be turning to what lies ahead. If your teens are preparing to leave school in the summer or in the next couple of years, it’s a good idea to start conversations about what happens next.
Many teenagers express an interest in further study and they dream of going to university from an early age. It’s brilliant to encourage aspirations but it’s also advantageous to ensure your child explores options and avenues that might not necessarily have been in their plans for years. Going to university is a popular route to take but it’s not for everyone. Undertaking further study requires a time commitment and it will also cost money. Some teens don’t want to take on debt and others may be more inclined to opt for courses they can take online or take a break after school. Be frank and open with your child when discussing their plans and try to encourage them to pursue their personal goals.
If your child does want to study and they are keen to apply for university, help them to gather information before they make a decision. Visit universities for open days and be open-minded if they want to study or work abroad.
Travelling may seem like a daunting option for parents but it can open doors and provide incredible opportunities for young people. If going overseas is an option, you’ll need to research entry requirements and visas just as you would if you were an international student coming to the UK. Seek advice from an immigration lawyer, check the latest information online and read about international students accessing courses at the university or college your child has chosen.
Getting a job
Many teens will approach the end of the school year not knowing what they want to do. Most of us have been in this situation. For those not going to university or starting an apprenticeship or a practical course straight away, it’s beneficial to think about getting a job to earn money. Support your child by helping them with tasks like creating a CV and writing cover letters, look for opportunities with them and build their confidence before they go to interviews. It can be scary to go from sitting in a classroom to applying for jobs so try to be patient and keep morale up if your child is finding it hard. The demand for jobs among young people is high at the moment, and dealing with rejection is tough.
Travel and volunteering
With the pandemic still dominating the headlines, many school leavers may be considering pushing back the start of their university courses. If your child has chosen to take a gap year, there are all kinds of things they can do to fill the time constructively. Travelling is always a popular choice. While it might not be possible to book a round-the-world flight at the moment, hopefully, it won’t be too long before travel resumes. Some people jet off to see the world and enjoy new experiences while others work or join volunteering programmes. Working for a charity is a brilliant idea. You can find details of opportunities online. From helping out in schools and teaching children English to working on conservation and wildlife projects, there are options to suit a wide range of interests.
Thousands of teenagers are sitting exams at the moment and the end of the year is looming. If you’re a parent of a school leaver, it’s a good idea to talk about what happens next. Hopefully, you’ll find these tips helpful.