Starting in the sixth form or a sixth form college is an exciting time for your teen. On the one hand they will be treated like young adults and will be expected to organise their time and subject work while on the other hand they really do need a guiding hand. Some students find independent study difficult to organise and others need help with developing their time management skills.
Even for older teenagers the use of smartphones, tablets and computers should be monitored as late night use of these can seriously affect the quality of sleep, their ability to wake up on time in the morning and to function well academically. Sometimes “tough love” is called for and they’ll thank you for it when they get the grades they need or want.
Year 12 is the perfect time to plan ahead especially if your son or daughter is thinking about applying for university as the application process starts at the beginning of Year 13 by which time they really do need to have made some important decisions.
Before applying for university or an apprenticeship scheme, teens have to consider the subjects which really interest them and the careers they might like to eventually enter. Year 12 is a great time to visit UCAS conventions and exhibitions and find out more about individual institutions and courses.
The more early research they do the less likely they will be disappointed and they will be able to make informed decisions. Some courses require quite specific qualifications or attributes. Teens also need to think about work experience, voluntary work and explore the talents they already have but which may need developing.
For some parents it can be difficult to loosen the reins while others actually advocate far too much freedom and then wonder why their teen is having problems coping.
Parents need to keep the lines of communication open and need to maintain an active interest in your teen’s life and education. To ensure you are not missing out on important dates and information, regularly check their school or college website for updates and look at the parents’ section of the UCAS website.
Even if you went to university, the application system has changed. I explain all the processes in Applying to University The Essential Guide which is available from Amazon and bookshops.