Moving away from home and starting university without being in contact with my parents was a strange experience. I am the first in my family to go to university, so it was not just a new experience for me but for everyone else in my immediate social network. My grandparents, who have been my carers, were excited for me and supportive but were also quite removed from university life.
Bath stood out
I felt out of my depth and apprehensive when applying for places. However, after researching options, Bath University stood out from the rest for me. It was down to the support available for students who were in my position, estranged from their parents. Prior to this, I hadn't even heard of the term ‘estranged student’. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was not alone, there were others in similar situations at university and they were surviving!
Support and Opportunities
Since being at university, I have received tons of support. In terms of wellbeing, I was assigned to a Student Advisor who I will have throughout my degree. Financial and exam support is also available. The university checks in with estranged students through email or one-to-one meetings, if preferred.
I have received numerous opportunities put forward by Student Services that I am eligible to take part in. For example, recently there has been a ‘Life after university for care-experienced and estranged students’ event. There are also extra drop-ins and events around times which can be quite isolating for estranged students, such as Christmas break.
My advice to you...
I would advise you to look into what support is available. Just speaking to someone from the University can put your potential worries at ease, even if you're not sure about your eligibility. You can find more information around disclosing your circumstances here under ‘Applying to Bath’.
I would urge you to disclose your status to the Admission Progression team as you can then find out about other bursaries and scholarships available to you! For example, I am a Gold Scholar, which means I am on a scholarship that provides me with additional support, training and financial help. Being an estranged student is a factor that is considered when allocating this type of scholarship!
I appreciate that talking to someone about your personal experiences can be really difficult. However, I am so relieved that I did because of all the extra support I have gained.
Honestly, life as an estranged student can be difficult at times, but the help I have received from the University has made my life substantially easier. I feel truly valued by the University in such a way that whatever obstacles cross my path, I am assured that I can access the necessary support.