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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:29 am 
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Anyone have any anecdotes about how worthwhile/otherwise uni visiting was, especially for rather cheesed off teenagers who are worn out from GCSEs, and don't know what they want to do? Not even completely sure of A levels. I'm pretty sure a competitive uni is a good aim for dd2 in the long run, even if there is a gap year to get some headspace.

I'm wondering if it's worth taking some time to do a couple of open days/ visits to try to get the interest and spark back. You seem to have to book ages in advance and time and energy is a precious commodity for both dd and myself. If it IS worthwhile but I leave entirely it to her, on past experience it will be left undone, then we will have severe grumpy unhappiness when it is discovered that it's too late. I am advising, don't think I am dictating this to her.

dd1 who is regarded as the model by dd2, didn't bother with visits, but knew exactly what course she wanted, had a limited choice of uni's and just put her head down to focus on getting the grades needed in the dictated A levels. It was not the same situation.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:00 am 
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Personally I think open days are overrated. The ones I went to recently as a parent were a bun fight and, if anything, put me off!! There is a lot more information online than we were there and I think shortlisting from that and keeping open days to a minimum is advisable. Offer days are more specific and help narrow firm/insurance.

However for an undecided (of which I also have one) our plan is to take him to the uni his cousin is at - a lower tier but very friendly place - and the one his brother hopes to attend - a higher tier, larger place. By experiencing them from the student viewpoint, I hope he will be inspired to consider uni as an option.

I genuinely think he is likely to take a gap year or choose the apprenticeship route (if he can narrow down a vocation and then find one!)

But, we are doing nothing before Y12. He is exhausted and any thought of the future does not sit well - he is doubting A levels and not sure about staying on in school fully - so a break will pay dividends.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:10 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Last year we went to Reading Uni Open day after GCSEs. DD has no plans to apply there, but it’s 10 mins walk from our house. It gave her a bench mark of of what to expect at other Open days. Other than some of the London unis and Oxford, we are actually a fair distance from most unis.

We went to a couple last Autumn, one a couple of weeks ago and going to one next weekend. 4 in total. It might be worth having a look when they are as I think Open day season will be coming to a close until the Autumn term. DD found that two she wanted to look at were on the same day.

Hindsight I’m glad we’ve spread them out and I’m glad we’ve done them before this Autumn when she will be applying. She currently has no fifth choice but from what she has seen and heard at three of the four, I’m not sure she will need one. If she doesn’t get the grades needed to meet the lowest grade offer of the ones she has seen, then she will have seriously underperformed.

She is just waiting to see what her predicted grades are and whether one of her first choices is a goer or not.

If you have a local one coming up it would be worth a look even if your DC has no interest in applying.

You don’t have to book that far in advance, though if you are interested in Sussex, it is worth booking in advance to get on site parking, otherwise it’s a bit of a pain. We’ve left it to DD to decide where she wants to see and she has sorted the arrangements. However she is that sort of girl. I guess some DCs need more of a push, especially if they have no clue what they want to do.

Unlike KCG, we haven’t found them to be a bun fight, (maybe different subjects are better than others). The subject talks have been helpful. It was more for DD to get a feel for the place she is going to spend a few years at. You may not need an Open day to do that.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:23 am 
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We found visiting uni options to be really useful. DD did a lot of research, but there was no substitute for going and getting a feel for the place. One uni in particular was her absolute favourite based on research, but when we visited it failed to meet expectations and completely dropped off her list.

Plus is was a fun time, uni visiting took us to a few beautiful areas of the country and we arranged a weekend break around each visit.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:54 am 
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Location: Reading
We have done a few now with the last 2 this week and next week. DD is going for vet school so this is looking at the different setups (most are 2 site and not all have their own farms) rather than trying to find a course that excites. There aren't that many options so we have seen most of them over the last year or so - and some have required 3 way planning due to clashes.
I have enjoyed spending the one to one time with DD, apart from Edinburgh which we did as a family city break.
In the same way that visiting the school got some kids interested in sitting the 11+, I would say it is worth visiting a uni somewhere. The downside to spreading them out too much is that it makes it harder to remember what you liked or didn't unless good notes were made at the time (they weren't!).


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:23 pm 
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Location: S E London
My DS certainly found visits useful, as it gave him a feel for the places, and the one which he thought was his top choice didn't make the UCAS form at all.

DD is currently in the midst of visiting (year 12) She did visit one last October, but more to find out about subjects as she had changed an A level and that had made her question her original subject choice, so that was really helpful

She is Dyslexic and so there is more to take into account when choosing a place - not just the support from an academic point of view, but whether she can request a quiet room. Whilst she has emailed and received answers from all the learning support departments from unis she is interested in, it is useful to ask questions at the actual departments as this is giving her a 'feel' for their response to someone with additional support needs. The visit on Saturday was remarkably quiet - lots of students and staff hanging around with no-one to talk to. She is visiting 3 more this summer, and then two in the autumn as there were clashes (I'm sure they were more spread out 4 years ago, and there were more mid-week).


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:31 pm 
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Location: Essex
Muggle wrote:
We found visiting uni options to be really useful. DD did a lot of research, but there was no substitute for going and getting a feel for the place. One uni in particular was her absolute favourite based on research, but when we visited it failed to meet expectations and completely dropped off her list.

Plus is was a fun time, uni visiting took us to a few beautiful areas of the country and we arranged a weekend break around each visit.


Ditto :). It took a few trips for DD to decide good and proper that what she wanted was a campus university, for a start.

DS2 came along on 3 of the trips. He loved two of the universities, UEA and Sussex (applicant day and campus tour respectively, rather than open day) but probably didn't really have a chance to form an opinion re Exeter, other than on the quality of the breakfast at our B&B (excellent) and the hills (pretty relentless). The weather was hot and muggy and he and I spent most of our day sitting on a wall, while DD pottered from talk to talk.

Campus tours are a good way just to get a feel for the university and its surroundings, btw, but how much of the inside you get to see does vary.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:32 pm 
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I should probably have put the disclaimer in: as a Careers Advser I have been to more universities than I care to remember - at these, CAs are wooed in an attempt to get us to recommend them - they are days just for particular groups - so very small and on normal days. I am not good with crowds so open days are never going to be my favourite! With DS1 it was Medical Schools - and of course it is not as straightforward as “I like this place and my predicted grades match”, as an application through UCAS is just applying for an interview initially (ie falling in love with a place doesn’t mean you’ll get in).

But you should go to at least one - as Tinkers says, if there is one locally, maybe start there - it does help if a student can narrow down something like city vs campus for example as it helps cut down options, which is effectively what you have to do.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:37 pm 
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Location: Reading
The city vs campus one is very relevant and would be hard to get your head around from a prospectus or website. DD is very sure she doesn't want a campus one (it's why she didn't like Surrey) and wants to live in a city.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:55 pm 
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Location: Reading
Having walked through and around the Reading Uni campus for as long as she can remember, (we were part of a study on the emotional development of babies and young children so visited often, plus it’s very close by) DD knew that was what she wanted, just not at Reading.

A colleague of mine was thinking about Reading for his DD so she could live at home and drive in. Given the parking situation I’ve told him to rethink that one. I doubt other unis are any different.


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