Support for young carers applying to university

Published:

A resource offering advice to young adult carers on how to successfully apply to university has been launched.

It contains advice from UCAS, the National Union of Students, and Widening Participation, as well as guidance from other young adult carers.

It has been unveiled by the charity Carers Trust to coincide with UCAS’s Personal Statement Week, an online and social media campaign which ran last week.

Carers Trust says that many young adult carers do not feel confident talking about their caring role when they apply to university, despite the skills that they will have developed because of their responsibilities.

The charity also emphasises that it is important for universities to understand the responsibilities that young adult carers face, such as worrying about what will happen to the person they care for if they aren’t there to help, how quickly they can get home if needed urgently, the pressure placed on younger siblings by their absence, and if they will be able to blend in with their peers.

Sophie Parr, Carers Trust policy and campaigns officer, said: “It is really important that universities understand the responsibilities that these young people have, caring unpaid for someone who is physically or mentally ill or disabled, often a parent or a sibling.

“We hope the (resource) will help all young adult carers, faced with the sometimes daunting prospect of their personal statement, to have the confidence to explain what those responsibilities are and why a university would need to be aware of them.”

UCAS spokesperson James Durant said: “Your background as a carer will have given you skills and experiences that can set you apart from other candidates. Writing about your personal journey, and linking it to the subject you want to study will strengthen your application and make it stand out.”

The webpages have been added to the Young Carers Matter website, which was launched this year aimed at carers aged 16 to 25.

UCAS is now accepting applications for 2015 entry and this week the admissions body also issued its own advice, to all students, on the five essential points to consider when writing their personal statements. These are:

  • Use evidence – linking experience from studies and other activities to the course.

  • Be honest – don’t exaggerate as admissions tutors often refer to the statements during interview.

  • Start early – to allow sufficient time for redrafts.

  • Let friends and family read it – they will have useful suggestions.

  • Proof-read it – reading it out loud also helps to spot bad punctuation.

Visit Young Carers Matter at www.youngercarersmatter.org or you can also email matter@carers.org. For more on UCAS’s Personal Statement Week, visit www.ucas.com/personalstatementweek


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