UK parents ‘seen but not heard’ by children when choosing university accommodation

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As universities prepare for an influx of A-level students, a new report by leading student accommodation provider Campus Living Villages reveals that students in the UK consult their parents but don’t listen to their advice when it comes to choosing where to live while studying.

Campus Living Villages commissioned international education experts EduWorld to conduct research among more than 5000 university students in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The results show that two thirds (67%) of students in the UK consult their parents when deciding on accommodation, while less than a third (29%) consult friends and only 17% consult other students. This is a stark contrast with students in Australia, where friends are consulted more than parents (46% compared to 42%). In New Zealand, just over half (54%) of students consult their parents, while nearly half (46%) consult their friends.

However, although students in the UK are more likely to consult their parents they seem less inclined to pay attention to their opinions. Only just over a third (36%) say their parents are very influential to their decision, much lower than the 53% of students in Australia who say their parents are very influential. In New Zealand, parents came second to friends in terms of influence (37% compared to 40%).

John Georgakis, Interim UK CEO at Campus Living Villages comments: “It seems that the old adage has been turned on its head; it is now parents who are seen but not heard when it comes to students in the UK deciding where to live at university. This crucial decision can make or break a student’s university experience, and while students are happy to ask for opinions, they seem reluctant to let their parents sway their decision.

“It is interesting to see that this behaviour is not common to all students. Those in Australia seem to respect their parents’ advice more, although they are less likely to ask for it. Accommodation providers and universities should consider how they market to students in different regions given these findings.”

Campus Living Villages created a marketing campaign, “Approved By”, which demonstrated the importance of family and friends supporting students’ accommodation decisions. However, Campus Living Villages recognises that there is still more to be done to ensure students involve and trust the right people in the decision-making process.

John Georgakis adds: “We launched the Approved By campaign to remind students that, while it is ultimately only them that can make the decision, other people’s views are important when choosing somewhere to live.

“University open days can be heavily focussed on what the students want, without recognising the need for parents to also feel comfortable. Many students attend these events without family or friends, which means they’re missing out on a vital second opinion. Putting on tailored events and producing material aimed at those within the wider social network who can be advocates and help shape students’ decisions should be incorporated into the universities’ recruitment strategies.”

The full Campus Living Villages report can be downloaded here.

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