Parent interviews

Pam, Andrew and David

Meet Pam and Andrew and their son David. David is currently studying at Wimslow College and plans to apply for the BA (Hons) Computer Character Animation degree with Art Foundation Year at Teesside.

Pam, Andrew and David Clements

My advice is to encourage your child but also take a step back – it’s your child’s decision. It’s very hard to do that – to let go, to let them make the decisions, but you have to – and give them the support needed to help them.

Pam and Andrew, how have you helped David choose a course and university?

Andrew: We've tried to encourage a degree of independence and decision making in David, to get him to make his own decisions. But it's really good for him to hear from other people to help him accept the advice, hence going to an open day - it doesn't always hit home until someone independent says it.

We got a lot of information from his school - what should happen and when, what we should be helping with.

David: It's been good having mum and dad supporting me - stressful at times - but it's definitely more likely to help me get where I want to be. They have taught me cooking, the importance of keeping things tidy and organisational skills.

Location is important for me when choosing a course - Teesside is good as it's far from home. But it's the course that drove me to come here and the open day, particularly the accommodation and campus, has drawn me in. The campus is really well equipped.

What are your thoughts on university open days?

Pam: Teesside University's open day was good. It's been well planned and we've enjoyed it.

David: The animation talk was useful - we found out what the course entails and the equipment that's used.

Andrew: We got a lot of information about what to put on the application form, and what not to. It was really useful and relevant.

Pam: We were also given good advice on writing a personal statement.

Open days are so important - they're really useful. Encourage your child to go, and go as a family as you all get to see. And ask questions your child may be afraid to ask - lots of parents asked questions in the subject presentation we went to. It's really important to get as much information as possible.

Pam/Andrew what other advice would you give to parents?

Pam: My advice is to encourage your child but also take a step back - it's your child's decision. It's very hard to do that - to let go, to let them make the decisions, but you have to - and give them the support needed to help them.

Andrew: They have to make the decisions themselves and understand it's their choice.

Pam: That's partly why David took a gap year - to take time out to think.

What has the application process been like for you all?

David: The application process takes a while but it's just a matter of getting on with it. The personal statement is the hardest thing to do; I'm working on it now and will share it with my mum and dad.

Pam: The UCAS website is clear and there's a lot of information on it. I have made myself familiar with the process - we have other children at university so know quite a bit about it already. We have helped David choose a course - has hasn't got the arts background to do what he's interested in so we had to trawl through to see what's out there. We spotted the art foundation course at Teesside - it's unique. We have helped give him the confidence that he can do it.

Alex/David, what is your advice to anyone starting the process?

Alex: My advice is to get as much information as you can - do your research so you don't regret your decision. Be confident in your decision.

David: My advice is not to rush into anything. It's important to prepare for what you want to do - it can be stressful trying to do your A levels and think about uni, so consider taking time out and don't rush your decision. If you're not sure, take a gap year.