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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:20 pm 
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When I was applying to university, I went to open days on my own, when I was in the lower sixth.

Nowadays, I gather it's not unusual for parents to go to open days, but is it the norm? Whilst I want to maintain discussion with DC, ultimately it will be their decision and independence is a major part of uni, so I'm not sure if it's good to tag along to open days (though I guess they might be grateful for a lift).

Also, has anyone had DC who've gone younger than L6, just to get a feel for what uni is like etc?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:25 pm 
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Location: East Kent
I went to 2 open days with my daughter, mainly as a taxi.

She went to those she could get to by train with her boyfriend.

there were definitely lots of parents there and at Warwick they had a seminar for the parents (presumably to keep us out of the children;s hair!)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:35 pm 
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Although it was (ahem) a couple of years ago now ( :oops: ) I took my son to his prospective universities and left him to his own devices, then picked him up when the day was over.

I suppose it depends how independent they are and whether or not they want you there really.

Have you tried asking? :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:23 am 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
I have had two sons go through the university open day stage - I have offered lifts/ shared train journeys and both have been happy to have either myself or OH accompany them for several trips, though both also made other visits with friends. Universities expect this and will often put on a programme of separate talks/ tours for parents, which can be interesting and informative, especially for "first-time" parents as there are a lot of aspects of university life, finance, accommodation, UCAS etc which have changed radically in the last 20+ years. I felt my role (as well as chauffeur!) was to help them get the most out of the day, starting the "what did you think about...?" discussions on the way home, being an additional "memory" for aspects of the course that might differ between insititutions, collecting the various handouts, trying to enable them to articulate any instinctive reactions to a place, possibly into a current "order of favourites" etc etc. I hope they found our input helpful rather than oppressive (both seem very happy in their respective first choice universities) but the selection of universities to apply to and the final choice of which offers to accept was down to them.

I also think that being prepared to take time off work (I know that's not easy for everyone) to spend a day with them showed that we felt it was an important decision, worth taking seriously (without I hope getting too pompous about it!) and was also a great opportunity to talk about their hopes/fears/ plans etc etc as sixth form hurtles past at breakneck speed....

As to "how early..." - some popular universities will often be very busy and ask for advance bookings for some of their "official" open days and probably wouldn't appreciate an influx of over-keen parents of 13 year olds! However many run outreach events for secondary aged pupils and it might be worth looking out for those to build familiarity. Others tend to run regular more informal open days thoughout the year when anyone in the wider community is invited in so that would be a good start. Certainly make use of any informal contacts with older siblings of friends who might be happy to host younger teenagers for a short visit. And there's nothing to stop the family summer holiday journey home taking a short detour via a likely campus. It is certainly a good idea to go to the open day of a local university even if it wouldn't be on the UCAS form - often schools themselves will organise this anyway in year 12 - as it can start the process of thinking about the kinds of questions that you want to ask, or even bring to light a degree subject that you/your DC hadn't even heard of or considered before.

Definitely try and do some open days in the summer of year 12 as the timetable can get very congested in Sept/Oct of Yr 13 and you may find the favoured open day is already booked up or clashes with another event - schools also have differing "rules" about how many mid-week days off they want pupils to take. However once a UCAS form has gone in the selected universities (even if not formally interviewing) who are keen to offer a place will invite candidates for another visit to try and encourage a firm choice!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:44 am 
Well I thought going with DC to a uni open day was OTT until I read Solimum's post! As long as they want you there then there is no harm but I'm not selfless enough to take time off work to take them there!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:18 am 
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Location: Herts
We did the open day circuit with our DC last summer, and attended all of them with our daughter. It would seem that this was generally the norm too, though there were some groups of friends together.

Most of the uni's provided separate talks for mum and dad, and refreshments and I must say, those visits were informative and great fun for all of the family, and, if like us, you are not familiar with the uni set up, would recommend that you go. My DC certainly asked for our opinion and reminders about certain aspects of the uni that she forgot about!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
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Location: Berkshire
I have to say we thought it was the done thing for parents to accompany children on visits to universities, and when we went with our son, we saw so many parents we didn't think it was out of the ordinary.
I am also looking now with my daughter, more because of the logistics of getting to them in the first place than because I will comment too much on whether one university is better than another, at the end of the day, it is their decision.

Also as other posters have said, the children have asked our opinion, and I think it is a very worthwhile and informative day out.

LFH


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:55 am 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Interesting Guardian article on this topic today....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/200 ... -open-days

- Bristol is not one of the ones I've been to!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Thanks for the replies. Obviously it's very common nowadays for parents to attend, and potentially beneficial too.

DC1 is coming to the end of year 10, but is beginning to investigate universities and courses quite seriously, so it sounds as if it wouldn't be out of the question to attend one or two open days in year 11, just to get a feel for things. (Advice from parents is considered too long ago to be for anything more than amusement!)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:16 pm
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I find this an interesting thread. I went to look at Unis by myself but that was 20 years ago. ( Am getting old :cry: ) My parents would never have thought of accompanying me and left the decision entirely to me.

I quite enjoyed the adventure and the inter city trains.

Clearly now it is the norm to accompany your children.
Why has this changed? Are today's sixthformers less able to "go it alone"?


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