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 Post subject: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:58 am
Posts: 132
My eldest DC is starting to receive guidance at school about applying for University and is starting to think about open days. The school organises visits to some open days and events, but for others DC would need to arrange them and is likely to be the only student going from school.

What is the accepted level of parental involvement? Do I just provide the train fare, or is it usual to drive them, or even look at the university (a) with them or (b) separately, pretending we don't know each other?!


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 3758
Location: Berkshire
I or my husband have always gone on visits. When you go you will see that in the main, the students are accompanied by their parents.
Mine have been happy for them to accompany them, also we do have a kind of vested interest, one way or another we have been/are and will be supporting them through the process, so it makes sense to have an idea of the set up.
It's quite interesting and reassuring for parents, especially when it is your first child. There are talks about finances, tours of accommodation, practical things that it is important for them to see which they might not get around to (I know mine may not have if they were there on their own). When it comes to the decision making process about which universities to apply to, it's helpful if the parent has been too and can offer a view.

I guess it is different if there were a few from your child's school or college going to visit the same university, but that was not the case for mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:46 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
Posts: 875
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
In my experience universities expect a high proportion to be accompanied by parents, and usually arrange separate tours for students and parents throughout the day, and talks to reassure the parents that they won't end up bankrupt... It does I think help for them to have someone else to bounce impressions off, as it can be very daunting being bombarded by all the hard-sell (versions of "all our students are wonderfully happy, working hard (and having lots of fun, but not too much fun, parents), all emerge and have wonderful fulfilling careers, we have the best facilities, the best student support, the best accommodation, the best night-life, don't worry about that tincy-wincy little debt...) and focussing on the most important factors - which may be different for every potential student.

But also encourage the independent trips with a couple of friends if appropriate - it's not the end of the world if you can't go to them all and ultimately they are the ones who have to live there!

Beware, schools often have strict limits on the number of term days off they'll allow for open day visits, suspecting that some may just be an excuse for a "jolly". There are only a limited number of Saturdays and there are likely to be clashes. Start now to plan (and book), juggling the dates between you - set up a spreadsheet of say 12-20 "possibles" and find out when their dates are. It's a good idea to do a few visits in the summer term (post AS) to spread the load and start thinking ahead for Ucas statements etc (obviously oxbridge/medic applicants will be earlier anyway and those universities hoping to attract applicants of a similar calibre also start early)


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:25 pm
Posts: 463
I've worked at university open days before where we've had around 2000 people walk through the doors. A large number of kids do bring their parents but I've also seen smaller siblings come to, so there's no harm in coming if you want to.


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:06 pm
Posts: 137
Some of mine wanted me to go, some arranged to go with friends.

One thing I would recommend is checking the sign in date for open day bookings of universities you are interested in - places fill up quickly, especially at popular ones or on poular courses.

If you miss an open day, do not be afraid to go and look round by yourself - often more enjoyable as you are not herded around spending time being 'sold' to when you just want to get to know the university. Surprising how quickly they can decide if a place 'feels' right. Most prospectuses or websites have plenty of coursework info and you can email specific queries to admissions tutors.

Also, most universities now run post applicant visit days or interviews when you can see everything. You can end up going to same uni 3x!


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:23 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Warwickshire
You can find out a fair bit about Uni's without going to an Open Day - campus/not, size of town, transport home and of a lot about the course structure and ranking (including employability, student satisfaction etc).
So although attending open days is good i don't think it is essential ... the post-offer open days are really good though ... somehow when it becomes a reality things come into focus and meeting other potential course-mates is very good.
DC is/has attended 3 post offer open days in the last few weeks ... each time with one or other or both DP's.


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:57 pm
Posts: 1167
Mine went to most with a sibling for company but I did go to a few. Nearly drowned DD in the lake at one university! :evil:

Do a fair bit of research before you / DC go.
It's easy to get caught up in the atmosphere of the occasion and forget about the 'small print'. Look at the details of the course very carefully and, as 'daughter' says, you can do a lot of this online. Research how the course is structured ask about exams, coursework, modules. One DD was shocked to discover (at exam time) her course had 'negative marking' in multiple choice exams. :shock: The other DD didn't have MC at all. These things matter very much and can impact on exam results / grades - and are often overlooked at open days.

Do book up early which talks / events / tours you would like to attend and prioritise things. Get the important stuff done first before hunger, tiredness, and grumpiness kicks in!

Don't see 4 different types of accomodation; only see the type of accommodation you'd probably go for (e.g. shared / en-suite / catered or not). They are all much the same. Your DC is unlikely to end up in the one you look at anyway and all will look like a hovel within weeks of being inhabited by students. Also consider the occupancy per year as some are term time only and students may have to empty rooms at Christmas and Easter. All this can be done online (but beware, the pictures accompanying descriptions are all the same. :lol: )

Many universities offer independent tours during the week. You can always try phoning the department, explain you can't make an open day and could you visit another time. We did this twice and a student on the course takes you around. It was much easier to get clear and concise information on the nitty gritty of the course, exams and department - but less of an impression of the university facilities as a whole. You can always take yourself off to look at 'sport's parks' etc on your own anyway.
Have fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11938
http://www.opendays.com/calendar/

Go to any this summer if you can whilst in Year 12; don't wait to post offer as it is too late to change the choice.

I know I changed my mind after visiting and my DC also found it easier to choose after 'seeing' facilities and talking to university staff.


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5922
I'm a little bit ashamed to say that I chose having fallen in love with the city (Newcastle), hit it off famously with the chap who interviewed me and then gave me a daft, low offer (as they did in those days) and enjoyed the really long train journey (alone - no-one offered to come with me, they just didn't in those days) to get there. I hardly looked at the course. Best thing I ever did though - no regrets and truly hope that at least one of my children will choose to study 'up north' too.

I know it's all different now; and I suppose I will have to get into the 'concerned and interested parent' role to traipse round them behind my embarrassed offspring.


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 Post subject: Re: Open days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11938
I also went to all my University interviews on my own and had to stay overnight for two of them; no 'open days' as such back then.

Amber, don't worry, all the ones we went to had separate tours for parents! I think this is good and enabled some questions to be asked without embarrasing DCs ... things like which AS to drop and how flexible offers were. .

Since most of us have to help financially, getting parents on board is important. However, remember they are aimed to 'sell' and you need to probe just as when choosing a school


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