Brilliant mum and dad – and no degree

Does it really matter whether or not your parents have a degree? Or whether a young person has been in care?  These are the subject of two new questions added to the application entry for 2008.

The care question was approved in a format provided by the Frank Buttle Trust, a charity which is leading an initiative to support the progression of children in care to higher education.

Question format: Have you been in care? Yes or No response. (The question will be optional.)

UCAS has also been asked to add a question on whether the applicant’s parents have any experience of HE at the request of the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Question format: Do any of your parents have any higher education qualifications such as a degree, diploma or certificate of higher education?  Yes, No, Don’t know response. (The question will be optional.)

[BTW: I expect it took a committee of University educated folk several meetings to agree that wording.]

My parents didn’t have University degrees – in fact, I don’t think any of my friends’ parents did.  Tony – my mum’s cousin – had been to University, and was considered a bit stuck up as a result (and he’d got a good job, married a posh girl and earned lots of money).

But everyone was keen for me to be educated – my mum taught me to read as a toddler and my dad helped with double A level maths homework – although I never have used a or  since. 

I don’t understand the value of knowing the educational achievements of our parents – to discriminate in favour of those whose parents don’t have degrees.  Of course, we should encourage a wide range of people to go to university, but does such information really indicate “who has the potential to succeed”.

For me going to University was a big deal – but I didn’t want any special favours in getting there.  And as I learned from playing cards and betting on horse-racing with my grandparents as a young child, I wouldn’t want to incur tens of thousands of pounds worth of debts either.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

One thought on “Brilliant mum and dad – and no degree”

  1. Maybe its a bit like those forms you send in with your application forms for jobs.( the name escapes me for some reason) They can monitor that certain groups of people are being offered places at university in a more structued way?

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