Service children and young people
If your parent(s) or carer(s) is serving as a Regular or Reservist in the UK Armed Forces or has done so in the past, your experience of applying to higher education may be different to students from a non-service background. For example, you may have moved schools more often than most students, or you may have felt unable to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Universities and colleges understand that service children may experience disruption to their education, or may have been restricted in their course choices. They’re also aware that young people can face additional challenges when a parent or carer is deployed. They are keen to know about your circumstances because it allows them to consider your academic achievements in context. If you feel you have missed any skills or knowledge, they may be able to help through workshops or summer schools. You could also investigate MOOCs to help you prepare for your course, such as the Preparing for University course.
But, universities and colleges aren’t only interested in your results. Service children often develop highly valued, unique skills and strengths as a result of their circumstances, such as being an independent learner or being able to adapt to different situations quickly. The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance has worked with UCAS to develop guidance for service children applying to university – including advice on how to complete your personal statement to showcase these strengths.
Once you’re at university, you may be able to access additional support. This can include financial help, mentoring, and study support to help you fill any gaps in your learning. Before you apply, it’s a good idea to contact student support services at the university or college to check what help is available and to discuss your needs.
Read more about the support available for children from Armed Forces families on the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance) website.
Do you have any care responsibilities?
If you care for a family member, whether this is consistently or periodically (e.g. when a parent is deployed), many universities and colleges can offer additional support to help you succeed in your studies, and manage your care responsibilities.
Where can I get more information?
The Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance) website has information and advice for students from Armed Forces families. Their ‘making the most of my assets’ worksheet and personal statement guide both have great tips for writing your personal statement.
If your parent or carer is in the Army, more information is available from the Army Families Federation (AFF) website.
For students with a parent or carer in the Navy, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) website provides information and advice.
If your parent or carer is in the Royal Air Force, the Royal Air Force Families Federation (RAF FF) website offers more information.
The Armed Forces Covenant also supports the families of UK Armed Forces personnel – find out more about how they do this on the Armed Forces Covenant website.
The Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme (AFBSS) provides higher and further education scholarships for service children who have been bereaved.
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