There are many ways you can help your child settle in to university life.
See our guide for parents and carers below for ways to prepare your son or daughter for life at Goldsmiths.
Choosing a course
Students are increasingly considering careers and employment when they make a decision about what to study and where. As a result, universities have been asked to provide applicants with more and more information about careers and graduate earning power.
There are many cases in which a career path is reserved for those with a specific degree subject, but the good news is that the majority of graduate trainee positions are still non-degree-specific. So encourage them to think about what they enjoy and are passionate about, rather getting bogged down in careers at this stage. Remind them that a conversion course or Masters degree can often provide a route into a specific career if they have not studied that subject at undergraduate level.
Employers are interested in the transferable skills each graduate presents, so try to get your son or daughter to focus on course content in detail. Choosing your degree on the basis that you enjoyed the A-level or BTEC course is one strategy, but it doesn’t always follow that the degree programme will be the same.
Looking at each programme’s ‘key information set’ (available on each programme page) can help, but also get your son or daughter to consider the elements of the university that can’t be translated into data and stats.
Making the most of university
Encourage your child to to:
Employers aren’t just interested in academic qualifications: they want to employ people with other interests and skills. It’s great for your son or daughter to get involved in clubs, societies, volunteering and other extra-curricular activities. Not only will it boost their CV, it will be fun too, and a great way to meet new people.
Students need to research career opportunities early on in their university career. For many jobs and sectors, if they wait until their final year they will miss out on important experience. At Goldsmiths, the Careers Service is there to help from the moment students enrol on their course.
Any type of high quality work experience or internships will help students decide what type of work they would like to do. It also demonstrates their commitment to a chosen area.
Students develop excellent reflection and critical analysis skills related to their degree. Encourage them to use the same skills to reflect on and analyse their experiences. What are their skills and values and how are these developing? How might these relate to their future career?
Some of the best career information and opportunities can emerge from informal chats. Students should talk to as many people as possible about the work they do, what it involves and how they got into it. Think about your own networks and if there is anyone you can put your own or daughter in touch with.
Get to the Careers Service
Encourage your son or daughter to go to the Careers Service as early as they can to find out how they can be supported in their career goals.
Internships and placements
Many organisations offer unpaid internships to undergraduate students. Whilst these opportunities can be valuable, we recognise that not all students will be in a position to undertake such opportunities, and we therefore promote high quality paid world experience or internships wherever possible. Goldsmiths support students in finding work placements in a number of areas. Find out more about placements at Goldsmiths.
Transferable skills are those that can be applied to a number of different jobs or roles. When employing recent graduates, employers often make their decisions based on people’s ability to demonstrate these skills, rather than on any specific experience or qualifications.
How you can help
Encourage your son or daughter to reflect on their studies, extracurricular activities, employment of volunteering. They should be able to identify instances where they are using the following skills.
Good communication is about conveying thoughts and ideas effectively, as well as listening to others and understanding what they are attempting to communicate. This includes building rapport with others, and being able to negotiate with and persuade them when necessary.
Leadership and management skills
Effective leadership and management is about directing and motivating other to achieve individual, team and organisational goals. This can include delegating, planning and co-ordinating. Good leaders also motivate others, as well as solving problems and conflicts when they arise.
Planning and research skills
Planning and research skills enable you to formulate a strategy to accomplish specific objectives. This also encompasses gathering relevant information and then analysing, interpreting and disseminating it as appropriate.
Teamwork and interpersonal skills
These skills are about the contribution you make to groups and the way you relate to and interact with other to achieve a common goal. This includes contributing to the team and encouraging the ideas of others.
Self-management is about how you direct your own activities toward the achievement of objectives. This includes being able to manage your time and organise priorities, including setting goals and meeting deadlines. It is also about being able to work well under pressure. It is important to be able to demonstrate flexibility and resilience.They may also identify areas that they feel they could develop further. Talk to them about this and encourage them to access further support.
How Goldsmiths can help
Students on many courses have the opportunity to complete an accredited work placement as part of their course. This gives the student an opportunity to undertake a structured work experience that is related to their course.
Frequently asked questions
What are the benefits of going to university?
A university education can open doors. Many careers now require a degree, but apart from that it is an opportunity to enrich yourself academically, socially and culturally.
What job will my son/daughter get?
This will depend in part on what they study, but also largely on their interests, values and skills. Encourage your son or daughter to being to explore their options as soon as possible. University graduates have a multitude of career options, and careful reflection is needed to find the right part for each individual.
Does the university have links to employers? Do they set students up with placements?
Goldsmiths has strong links to employers, both within academic departments, and through the dedicated employer engagement staff within the Careers Service. Employers are involved in the Careers Service programme and students have many opportunities to meet with them. In addition, many courses at Goldsmiths offer an accredited placement as part of the course.
How much time should my son/daughter devote to work experience during their studies?
We would not wish to be prescriptive about the number of hours of experience that students should undertake. This will be an individual decision based on the student’s career goals and other commitments. The Careers Service can advise students on this.
What further study is there?
There are a huge range of postgraduate study opportunities. For example, Goldsmiths along offers hundreds of postgraduate courses. The main purposes of further study are to depend an academic interest in a particular field of study or to gain qualifications for a future career.
What can graduates do with a degree in a particular subject?
Most degree subjects offer a huge range of graduate employment opportunities. You can get some idea of the range for specific subjects by visiting ‘Options with my subject’ at Prospects.
How can I find out employment statistics for different degrees?
At Goldsmiths we have created a range of information sheets to provide this data. Please contact us to request the one appropriate to your son or daughter’s interests. The Key Information Set (KIS) displayed on each programme page also provides this information.
Will my son/daughter be able to find a job on campus?
There are a number of opportunities to work on campus. Your son or daughter can work as a student ambassador, or find employment in the bars, shops and cafes. There are also many opportunities to find part-time work in the local area. The Careers Service holds an annual Part-Time Work fair to assist students in their search.