Finishing school and embarking on the next study chapter can be an exciting but nerve-wracking time for teenagers and their parents as they get caught up in a whirlwind of choosing a university.

For some, there is also the possibility of leaving home and taking their first steps into a new world, which can be equally stressful for teens and their parents.

The auditorium at Griffith’s virtual Open House

Mirella and Michael Routledge know first-hand the struggles their 17-year-old son is experiencing as a school leaver preparing for his future.

Their oldest daughter travelled from Gladstone to Brisbane in 2017 to pursue her studies at Griffith. Now the family is preparing to do it all over again, this time during a global pandemic.

Mirella said 2020 had been an unexpected and unprecedented time for many families in the same situation.

“Grade 12 is difficult at the best of times and the current climate has added even more stress, especially when it comes to navigating higher education,” she said.

Living more than 500kms from Brisbane, Mirella and Michael were unable to attend Open Day when their daughter was preparing for university.

This year, as Griffith hosts a 12-week online Open Day, called Virtual Open House, the road to uni has been less stressful.

“Distance and lack of time has proven to be the biggest obstacle, for us and so many other families,” Mirella said

“Open Day going completely online will make it much more accessible.”

“As our second child is exploring his university options, we feel that we are much more prepared to assist and guide him.”

Mirella and Michael want to share some of their learnings to help parents who might be worried about the transition to university life.

Research scholarships and apply

“COVID-19 has caused economic strain but that shouldn’t discourage your child from pursuing their education or postponing it,” the couple said.

“We found that getting in early and making a calendar with all the scholarships to apply for alleviated a lot of stress and was a great way to get organised.”

Explore accommodation options

“Sit down and talk with your child about where they are going to live if they have to move, whether that be on campus, with family or other student accommodation,” Mirella suggested.

“We had peace of mind knowing that our daughter was going to be living on campus, she would be close to classes and it was an opportunity to make some great friends.”

Visit Virtual Open House

The online platform will give potential students fantastic insights into life as a student at Griffith, ensuring virtual access to every campus and everything on offer from the comfort of people’s homes and the ease of personal devices, on not just one day, but over 12 weeks.

The lobby in Griffith’s Virtual Open House

Virtual Open House is available on-demand, 24/7 from now until 1 October, providing the freedom to explore hundreds of degrees, student life and the support services offered at Griffith.

Mirella and Michael said they appreciate the opportunity that going online provides.

“The circumstances certainly aren’t the best but we think the digital format will be a great chance for our son to gain some insight into his future studies.”