Guidance for students under 18

Information for prospective, new and current students who are under the age of 18.


Parental consent 

Although there is no minimum age for admission to University, students under the age of 18 are classed as children or 'minors' under UK law.

If you're going to be under the age of 18 when you start your studies, and on a full-time course, you'll need to provide parental consent and prove that you have guardianship in the UK.

Once you have confirmed that you will be studying at the University of Sheffield, your parent(s) must complete this consent form and confirm that you have the required level of maturity to study in an adult environment.

UK guardianship

To demonstrate guardianship in the UK, you must have a parent in the UK. If your parent doesn't live in the UK, they need to appoint a UK guardian who

  • lives in the UK
  • is over the age of 18
  • is able to speak English
  • is easy to contact in case there's an emergency
  • has a UK address and phone number
  • is not a registered student or member of staff at the University of Sheffield (unless they're a sibling or a parent)

If you do not know anybody who can act as a UK guardian, you can hire someone through a guardianship agency to fulfil the role until your 18th birthday.

The Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students (AEGIS) has a list of approved guardianship organisations to choose from.

When you choose a guardian through an agency, you must provide proof of your contract by emailing a copy to

Remember that your parent, not your UK guardian, will remain as your legal guardian until you are 18.

International students

If you’re under the age of 18 at the time when you apply for your visa, you must submit a letter of consent from your parent in support of your application.

This can be either an original or a copy of the original document. Documents must either be provided in English, or include a certified English translation.

Before arriving in Sheffield, ensure that you have planned your entire journey to your new place of residence. This includes pre-arranging transport from the airport to your accommodation, and ensuring that you have access to money once you arrive in the UK - either cash sterling or use of a credit/debit card. It would also be useful to have details of your UK Guardian or Guardianship Agency easily to hand as you travel, in case you are questioned at UK Border Control.

Student expectations

As a student at the University of Sheffield who is under the age of 18, you will be expected to

  • communicate with staff if you have any problems
  • attend an introductory meeting at the start of the academic year (see below)
  • contact your parent/guardian if you have missed lectures or tutorials for more than half a day due to illness
  • be able to live independently in an adult environment (eg manage your own finances, domestic arrangements, physical and emotional wellbeing)

Intro meeting

Due to COVID-19, meetings in previous years have taken place online.

We will decide whether the meeting will remain online closer to September 2023. Information will be sent directly to students at that time.

Parent/guardian expectations

As a UK-based parent or guardian, you will be expected to

  • provide ongoing support to the student
  • contact the student at least once a week
  • be the named contact in case of a medical emergency
  • contact the University with any other concerns about the student
  • contact the University if you have concerns following the student being ill and missing lectures/tutorials

UK guardians will also need to complete a short consent form to confirm that they are happy to be in this role.

Students' Union

Sheffield Students' Union (student login required) represents and provides for all students at the University of Sheffield.

However, please be aware that some of the events and activities are age-restricted, and students need to prove that they are 18 or older to attend. This particularly relates to club nights and events such as 18+ films.

The Union website contains advice on restrictions for students under the age of 18.

Your rights and responsibilities under UK law

The following information outlines your responsibilities and legal rights as a minor under UK law.

Applying for an accommodation contract

Generally, you are not permitted to enter into a legal contract as a minor. However, you are able to register personally with the University of Sheffield and enter into a legal contract for accommodation in the same way as an adult student.

Your parent may be required to act as a guarantor for other contracts with the University.

University residential accommodation

You will be guaranteed a place in University accommodation, providing you meet the requirements of the Accommodation Guarantee. If you don't qualify, the University will still prioritise you for vacancies in University accommodation.

For further information, read our Under 18s Policy.

Disclosure of information

The University is prohibited, under the 1998 Data Protection Act, from disclosing information about your academic or personal progress to your parents/guardians or other third parties without your consent.

Medical emergencies

When you turn 16 you are able to give consent for most medical or dental treatment without a parent’s knowledge. Treatment will remain confidential. 

Where you are unable to consent in the event of a medical emergency and it is not possible to contact your parent or UK guardian, the University can authorise emergency medical treatment.

If you have any further questions, email us at

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