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5 types of parents all sixth form students will recognise

Are your parents disinterested or too enthusiastic for their own good?

Eleanor Foulds
by Eleanor Foulds
Last Updated:
06 Sep 2023

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When it comes to applying to university, your family can be a complete nightmare. Some will leave all the work to you, whilst others won’t let you do a thing. Which of the following five categories do your parents belong in?

1. The over-enthusiastic parents

Your parents just can’t wait to tell everyone you know how amazing you are for having sent off your application. They’re the kind who would be throwing parties every time you got an offer if you didn’t stop them, and they’re constantly emailing updates to Auntie Sue and Uncle Bob. “I’m so proud of [INSERT NAME HERE], I just can’t believe they got into [INSERT UNIVERSITY HERE]” – and cue tears.

2. The pressure parents

You have possibly the hardest job when it comes to picking out universities because your parents are convinced you’re Oxbridge bound. For some this is perfectly fine, and they’re happy to waltz onto the set of Lewis with their three A*’s and get down to work. For others this just isn’t realistic, and this can cause pressure and tension. Don’t worry though – your parents will settle down, and as long as you’re happy they should be too.

3. The disinterested parents

These parents will drive you to open days... then go to Maccy-D’s whilst you brave the campus tours alone. They’re not really bothered where you choose or what course you pick. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; at least it stops them meddling in your life decisions. But it can sometimes feel like they don’t care about you at all, which is never true. These kinds of parents usually either want to encourage you to make your own decisions and forge your own way in the world or have very little experience with universities and aren’t really sure what to do (maybe take them along to a talk on applying for university to help them out).

4. The teacher parents

If one or both of your parents are teachers then watch out (especially if they teach in a secondary school, sixth form, college, or even at a university). These parents know the tricks of the trade and will no doubt watch your every move. You’ll leave a draft personal statement on the coffee table and overnight it will get magically annotated with criticisms and changes. You’ll also get constant reminders from them to book open days early and revise for hours every night. Whilst this can be a nightmare, you’ll probably thank them for it come results day.

5. The ‘ideal’ parents

Whilst I’m pretty sure these don’t exist, if they did I expect ‘ideal’ parents would check in on you without meddling, drive you to open days and go round without asking all the questions for you; they’d give their opinions on a course, support your choices and be proud no matter what (without feeling the need to broadcast it to the entire known universe). I think we all wish we had parents like this, but the truth is no parents are ever going to be perfect, and at the end of the day, all your parents are really trying to do is help. Cut ‘em some slack for once.

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