Netanya, a young adult carer at Bath explains how she finally felt understood and the help which she receives from the University.
When I went through the application process for university over the last year and a bit, I had no idea that my status as a Young Adult Carer was even something that could be considered relevant. Unfortunately, teachers at my school in charge of the UCAS process were more focused on pushing students to well-known universities without considering our personal life circumstances which do play a role in grades, ability to take part in extra-curricular activities and overall wellbeing outside of the academic world.
Looking back, I regret not being able to access the help I needed while at school. I only had a few sessions with the school counsellor towards the end of Year 13 and did not let Bath know about my mitigating circumstances after I had already applied. I felt that I might not be the only student out there who maybe didn’t feel comfortable telling senior teachers about my personal life or was not offered real guidance about applying to university as a person with caring responsibilities.
With that, I would want other students in a similar position to know just how important and relevant these circumstances can be in terms of school and accessing higher education. It is invaluable to take up any help you feel that you need and if you feel comfortable, let universities know via UCAS about your situation so they have a more well-rounded picture of you as a student. At the same time, while your circumstances and experiences are important in this process, they do not have to define you as a person.
Bath is the first point in my education where I have felt entirely supported and seen for the issues I face outside of academia. It was very new to me to have members of staff from Student Services contact me just to check-in, even before joining the University in September. It is comforting to know that there are many people here on campus whose jobs are devoted to ensuring my student wellbeing and who are there to offer me help when I need it.
For me, this came in the form of a few meetings with Joanna, a member of the Student Services team, in the first semester and discovering I was eligible for the £500 Young Adult Carer bursary. I also was given the choice to inform unit coordinators on my course of my status, which makes gaining extensions for coursework when I need it a much simpler process. I receive regular emails inviting me to socials where you can mix with students who come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. This is an easy and enjoyable way of meeting different people. The University’s full recognition and acceptance of how caring responsibilities influence academic life was a breath of fresh air and made me feel understood in an educational institution for the first time.
Aside from the wealth of support which I was largely unaware of when applying, I chose Bath for many reasons. Right from the start, I had my heart absolutely set on coming to this university – it is highly ranked for my course (Psychology), the campus has everything I need and it is only an hour train away from where I live in London. Having been here for a semester now, I can also say how friendly the student population here is and how many activities there are to get involved in if you choose to. Bath is everything I had hoped it would be!
My final tips and advice would be to seek out the help you need and make sure universities you are looking to apply for will be able to offer you that help. I know that I was worried before joining about making friends, settling in and everything else but I definitely feel at home here now – there is more to look forward to in your first semester than there is to be afraid of.
Some resources I would find helpful when applying would be the University of Bath web page below and UCAS webpages for students with caring responsibilities. These will give you even more detailed information than I can provide and will hopefully put any worries to rest about attending university as a Young Adult Carer.