4 Tips for Parents of Penultimate Year Students


If you are a parent or guardian of a student in their penultimate year at a BridgeU school, you may be wondering how recent Covid-19 events could impact your child. We’ve put together a few quick tips to support your child in navigating this challenging time:


1. Help your child maintain perspective


The Covid-19 pandemic has led to school closures and various states of lockdown across the world. Your child may be inundated with updates from news sources and social media as the global situation continues to evolve. 


It’s normal for students to feel overwhelmed and anxious during this time, not just about Covid-19 but also its downstream effects on healthcare systems, the economy, and society as a whole. Try to take the time to acknowledge your child’s questions and concerns. It always helps to base your discussions in facts rather than speculation. You can also check out this article from the New York Times on helping teenagers manage Covid-19 related anxiety.


Remember: You might feel overwhelmed and anxious, too! Take care of yourself so you can better support your child.


2. Discuss changes in university expectations and preferences


As a family, you may find yourself re-evaluating priorities as a result of the global Covid-19 situation. Have a conversation with your child to discuss how expectations about university may have changed over the last few weeks or months. 


Log in to BridgeU together and go through the Profile Builder. Have any of their responses to the questions changed or evolved? In the ‘Basic Information’ section, are the study destinations selected still the same ones they wish to keep researching? For some students and families the answer may be yes. Others may feel it’s important to now consider how universities in these countries have supported international students with housing, health care, and coursework accommodations during this time. Similarly, in the ‘Personal Preferences’ section of the BridgeU Profile Builder, talk about any potential changes to your child’s preferences about campus environment, tuition range, employability, and selectivity.


Remember: Keep the conversation open and ongoing to stay aligned with your child throughout this process. As circumstances evolve, expectations and preferences may continue to change too.


3. Keep your child focused on what they can accomplish right now 


With many exams canceled, postponed, or scaled down, universities are evaluating potential accommodations and changes for future admissions cycles. Counselors, students, and families may not yet know how current cancelations will impact future university admissions policies and requirements. 


This uncertainty can be confusing and demotivating. Any plans or timelines you had established may now have to be adapted. It’s easy for your child to feel a loss of control and agency while preparing for university applications.


Try to help your child remain focused on university research and preparation that they do have control over at this time! A great place to start is their BridgeU University Shortlist where they can begin researching universities of interest. Parents and students can also tune in to BridgeU’s Virtual University Showcases designed for prospective students to keep learning about university options in an interactive format.


Remember: Many universities are making information for prospective students more accessible online. BridgeU’s Covid-19 Resource Page has more information on virtual campus tours and open days.


4. Support your child’s personal growth and self-exploration


Your son/daughter may not have experienced anything quite like this before. School closures due to Covid-19 have introduced new challenges that he/she is likely learning to deal with. They may have had to transition very suddenly from in-person to online schooling, adapt to new learning routines, and change ways in which they interact with their peers and community.


With challenge comes opportunity! Students may be stretching themselves in new ways and building their skills in resilience, adaptability, and resourcefulness. Encourage your child to keep track of their personal experiences and growth. An easy way to do this is by logging and updating experiences in their BridgeU Strategy Advisor.


Remember: If your child is ready to start translating their experiences into application essays or personal statements, check out these writing guides with brainstorming activities to get started.

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