Parents are From Venus, Teenagers are From Mars – Unite Students Report Reveals Mismatch in Expectations Ahead of University

Parents and teenagers are on different wavelengths about how ready they are for university life, a report from Unite Students reveals today.

While 16-19 year olds are giving themselves A* grades for their life skills, sceptical parents are giving their children a C.

The new research of 1,000 parents[i] and 1,000 teenagers[ii] found:

  • Only 55% of parents of 16-19 year olds polled think their child is able to cook a meal from scratch, but over three-quarters (78%) of teenagers are confident they can.
  • 39% of parents think their children won”t wash bedsheets more than once a month, but 84% of teenagers say they will.
  • 72% of parents polled expect to lend money to their children before the end of the first term, but only 33% of teenagers expect to borrow from their parents.

Parents and teenagers also disagree about discussions they”ve had ahead of going to university. Many parents polled claim to have offered advice about sensitive issues: 45% say they”ve spoken to their children about sex, 35% mental health, 54% drugs and 58% alcohol. Yet far fewer teenagers polled say their parents have offered this advice. Just 23% have been given advice on sex or mental health, 34% drugs and 42% alcohol.

In the month in which most students have received conditional offers, Unite Students is urging parents and teenagers to start having frank conversations now about getting ready to make ”the leap” to university.

Jenny Shaw, from Unite Students, said: ‘A lot of parents worry their children will flunk the life skills test when they make the leap to university. Every year we help 50,000 students make this big move. It”s true many get a bit of a shock to the system, but with a little planning, most quickly adapt and do well.’

Notes to editors 

Unite Students is the UK”s largest provider of purpose-built student accommodation. We provide homes for 50,000 students in 140 properties across England and Scotland. Visit or for more information.

i. OnePoll surveyed 1,000 parents of 16-19 year olds planning to go to university and live away from home (9-11 April 2018)

ii. YouthSight surveyed 1,000 16-19 year-olds planning to go to university and live away from home (9-13 April 2018)

LONDON, May 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

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