Uni Open Days

(72 Posts)
Horsemad Fri 23-Aug-13 11:40:21

DS1 will go into the 6th form in Sept; when do they start to go to uni open days? I know a lot of unis have their open days in Sept/ Oct. Would it be better to go this year or next?

BackforGood Fri 23-Aug-13 12:04:31

In Summer Term of L6th, and/or Autumn Term of U6th. Most 6th forms will have talks and meetings to tell you all about it once they've started.

Horsemad Fri 23-Aug-13 13:54:06

Thanks BackforGood smile

SlowlorisIncognito Fri 23-Aug-13 14:23:12

He will have to start thinking about UCAS September next year, so ideally the majority of open day visits should be before then. The summer term of y12 will be best, as having done a year of A levels, he will hopefully have a firmer idea of what to apply for. However, there is nothing stopping him going to a few visits this year if he wants to.

Horsemad Fri 23-Aug-13 16:22:53

Thanks Slowlor. I bet it will come round really quickly.

ISingSoprano Fri 23-Aug-13 17:46:21

Definitely plan to go to some next summer at the end of L6 and maybe some more in the autumn. Ds was invited to post-offer open days too which actually were much more helpful as he got a much closer insight into the departments and had much more opportunity to talk to staff and students already on the course.

creamteas Fri 23-Aug-13 18:48:05

If your DS has an idea about what he wants to do, there is not harm in going to one or two this autumn, especially if you are near to some universities (even if these are not ones he will be applying to). This will give him a chance to think through what he is looking for before the main round starts!

exgov Fri 23-Aug-13 19:03:56

Beware that sometimes the open days clash - so it's worth going to the y12 summer ones. Also, some get booked up early, so find out when the dates are available (usually about Feb-March) and book early!

Horsemad Fri 23-Aug-13 22:13:58

That's a good idea creamtea, I'll suggest it to him.
exgov I didn't realise you had to book! Thought you just turned up!!! Glad I asked this question now. grin

creamteas Fri 23-Aug-13 23:48:47

The main reason that universities asked you to book is for marketing afterwards grin.

The general open days are far too busy to check people in and out in my experience so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

MissMarplesBloomers Sat 24-Aug-13 08:30:20

We waitied till the summer term of Y12 then found a lot of open days were on the autumn!

If you are trying to whittle down the list of choices then it might be helpful to go and see some this autumn to spread the load, you can always go back again if you need to.

Also Oxbridge applicants have to get their forms in so much earlier that if that's an option earlier the better for visits.

I found giving DD the responsibility of coming up with a shortlist the best way. she did the research i was the taxi!

Also going to the open days (at her request) was useful for me, as they usually have a parent'family info session that helped me get my head round the fees/grants malarkey.

Good luck!

Horsemad Sat 24-Aug-13 08:36:01

AIBU to be excited about this?!!

Fairdene Sat 24-Aug-13 10:06:25

Two of my DC went to an Open Day yesterday for which they had to book and which they said they had to queue for a long while to sign in for and which was full, so no room for late comers at all.

Horsemad Sat 24-Aug-13 10:31:57

Thanks Fairdene we're in the sticks so probably sensible to book and then not a wasted journey.

Fairdene Sat 24-Aug-13 11:36:11

Which universities and subjects is he interested in OP? My DCs' school only allows two days off for uni visits so they've tended to visit places in the holidays on the whole. Post offer days are all very well, but don't help much with decisions on the initial four to five choices.

Horsemad Sat 24-Aug-13 14:55:30

Fairdene He's going to be doing Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry and is keen to do a Computer Science degree.

He hasn't really mentioned university choices, although he did mention Oxbridge but I don't know how serious he is.

alreadytaken Sat 24-Aug-13 15:43:00

definitely go to ones close at hand, others if you can afford it. You are normally asked to book subject talks and they do sometimes check for those as they can be over-subscribed. Medical schools always check and I have a suspicion that at interview they slightly favour those who visited. When they have an idea of where they want to go you may learn a lot from the admission tutors about what they really look for, it's not always what they say on their websites.

mumeeee Sat 24-Aug-13 15:59:10

DD3 is off to Bolton in September to do a computer degree. She did have to book for the open day and they did check when she got there this was the same for other open days, I thunk it helps the university give you the right information.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 16:01:28

Go to both.
We had a look around several unis, and took younger teenage children too.

Fairdene Sat 24-Aug-13 17:19:53

I personally don't see much point wasting time going to any open days at all which your DS isn't seriously contemplating, even if a uni is nearby. My DC reject out of hand the good RG uni which is close by, on precisely the grounds that it is close by!

Fairdene Sat 24-Aug-13 17:30:51

Computer Science isn't my thing but I do know that while Oxford is ranked top in the UK, by no means all the colleges offer it as an undergraduate degree and of those colleges who do offer it, some only take one student a year - just a handful of colleges have a tolerable number. Anyhow, your DS should certainly visit if he's reasonably keen.

Horsemad Sat 24-Aug-13 18:06:41

I've just checked the top 10 UK universities for Comp Sci & there isn't one within 100 miles of us!!

We do live in the back of beyond, mind!

Horsemad Sat 24-Aug-13 18:27:53

I've just checked the top 10 UK universities for Comp Sci & there isn't one within 100 miles of us!!

We do live in the back of beyond, mind!

Horsemad Sat 24-Aug-13 18:29:30

Sorry for double post!

Fairdene Sat 24-Aug-13 22:33:37

In that case Oxford will offer free overnight accommodation for the Open day next June smile

Horsemad Sat 24-Aug-13 22:44:39

Really? Wow!

alreadytaken Sat 24-Aug-13 23:01:46

free accommodation for the applicant - if parent(s) want to go they pay. Some Cambridge colleges can offer accommodation for the applicant but charge. More colleges provide it than you would think from their websites hmm. Both Oxford and Cambridge provide free accommodation for interviewees, Cambridge for less time than Oxford.

Fairdene Sat 24-Aug-13 23:14:28

I should hope they do provide free accommodation for interviewees! I can't think why parents would need to go to the June open days either - it's for the kids, parents are superfluous on the whole. All I meant was that OP's DS will get overnight accommodation in June if he's still interested enough to go. My own view is that it's much more valuable for DC to go alone, or with friends. It's the kids that the tutors are interested in, not the parents. I've seen some memorable parental displays at open days in my time, including the wife of a 'very important HT of a very well known public school' ..... smile

alreadytaken Sat 24-Aug-13 23:28:40

Oxbridge also provide free lunches on open days, Horsemad with breakfast and sometimes dinner if you stay overnight. All meals are provided for interviewees.

IME other universities dont provide free accommodation for interviews, medical schools even have an unhelpful approach to timing (not enough notice to book cheap fares).

Fairdene tutors may be interested only in the young people, parents sometimes have to go as it's the only way to get there and back quickly. Parents also have a role to play in picking up information.

Fairdene Sat 24-Aug-13 23:34:22

alreadytaken apologies if this sounds rude but you do sound a little preoccupied with free meals etc!

My position has been that it's the young people who need to go first and foremost and that this is the time to begin to let go.

Horsemad Sat 24-Aug-13 23:36:34

I guess that as parents are doing a lot of funding, they may want to attend also.
I know for a fact that my DH would definately want to go!

Fairdene Sat 24-Aug-13 23:45:29

Horsemad I know that unis can sideline the parents and give them an hour or so then send them on their way. The main focus is really, truly on the students. The fact is that the more the parents are required to fund, the wealthier they are, but that that shouldn't entitle them to more advice than less well off parents get. So the funding side is irrelevant. Some parents seem to think that because the pay, they can intrude on their DC progress and exam results. But they can't.

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 00:14:47

Oh I agree Fairdene - my DH didn't go to uni even though encouraged to by his parents; he did his degree with the OU and I do think he is living the uni application process vicariously through DS, although he'd refute that. smile
I just like visiting places, so am looking forward to some trips away!

MissMarplesBloomers Sun 25-Aug-13 06:27:56

Of course the visits are all about the students but it can be fun sharing the experience!

I gave DD the choice of wether or not I was just taxi or supporter.

Far from being sidelined I found all the Unis we visited very pro parental involvement. Dd went off to several subject specific talks while I did the funding/ this is what happens ones. I sat in the cafe & we met up at several points toj

MissMarplesBloomers Sun 25-Aug-13 06:30:43

Of course the visits are all about the students but it can be fun sharing the experience!

I gave DD the choice of wether or not I was just taxi or supporter.

Far from being sidelined I found all the Unis we visited very pro parental involvement. Dd went off to several subject specific talks while I did the funding/ this is
what happens ones. I sat in the cafe & we met up at several points to compare notes.

She felt another view point was useful to help sift through the pros & cons of each but ultimately it was her choice as she's the one going there!

MissMarplesBloomers Sun 25-Aug-13 06:31:22

Oops sorry double post!

yellowballoons Sun 25-Aug-13 08:59:39

I dont agree with Fairdene. As a parent, or even just as a second pair of eyes and ears, you can pick up things that they miss.
They tend to skim read at best, some of the literature they are given, even if they have bothered to pick it all up in the first place.
And parents should be able to somewhat read between the lines of some of the things they hear too.

yellowballoons Sun 25-Aug-13 09:03:53

Absolutely agree with MissMarple's post.
I often see parents saying they are not going, and I shudder. It may work out all right, and perhaps some journies are unnecessary. But better safe than sorry.
The kids are ultimately going out and spending £40,000 of their money.
I know several cases where the young person has made the wrong choice.
Up to a couple of years ago, dropping the course and starting a new one was quite usual. Cant see it happening much any more. So it is very important to help them get the next vital stage of their education and life correct as much as you can.

Fairdene Sun 25-Aug-13 10:07:00

I agree with almost all of your points yellow; my comments related to the Oxford open days in June which are very much student focussed and where a parent attending (unless the student is allowed to free range)might well get in the way.

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 10:09:08

I agree with Fairdene's comment that wealthier parents shouldn't be entitled to better advice.

If parents wish to accompany their children to open days, then that's fine imo.

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 10:13:05

My mother has already decided DS has got to go to Oxbridge hmm

Luckily, she doesn't have a huge amount of influence, so hopefully DS will be able to make his own choice without too much familial pressure.

Fairdene Sun 25-Aug-13 10:15:29

I've done it a different way myself: for those universities that my DC have been interested in, I've driven them there outside of open days and we've had a good look around, together, but they've attended the formal open days themselves - either with each other or friends.

BeaconTent Sun 25-Aug-13 10:54:20

DD 2 is just about to start a levels and we are taking her to 6 open days in Sept/Oct. Having learned from DD 1 it's as worthwhile getting a feel for the unis and locations that she doesn't like as the ones she does. Doing it now will also give chance to be sure her a level choices are definitely the right ones.

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 11:33:10

Yep, we'll go to a few I think, just to get a feel for them and see what DS thinks.

creamteas Sun 25-Aug-13 12:13:30

If I has in charge, I would ban parents from Open Days grin. The more parents there are the less the applicants bother to engage with the process.

We even have parents coming without the applicants on some occasions.... Whilst parents can be a good sounding board, this is not their decision.

Plus parents attending create a lot of extra work. We have to run twice as many Open Days as we used to in order to accommodate the extra bodies.

DalmationDots Sun 25-Aug-13 17:43:14

As others have said, next summer after AS exams. My DD went to one or two in the easter because it was a uni and course she (thought) she'd love and would be her top choice and they had a specific department open day. (Turned out she hated it but was worth it just in case!)

You will find school are flexible and expecting students to be off after the summer AS exams for open days, best not to go in September or they will miss vital lessons.

Good luck, DC did all the research and we drew up shortlist after shortlist, it was a very exciting process. We did some open days together and others DC had to go alone but I loved looking around and helping DC choose. It was a great time!

ISingSoprano Sun 25-Aug-13 17:46:54

I quite understand creamteas why parents can be a bit of a pain at open days. However, sixth forms are rightly reluctant to allow more time off than is really necessary. The only way ds could get there and back from some of his open days in one day (thus keeping time off to a minimum) was for dh or me to take him. It's just a juggling act really to do enough research to make the right decision while not missing too much class time.

DalmationDots Sun 25-Aug-13 17:47:22

creamteas I can see this from your point of view and my DC did go to some alone, especially post-offer open days when I wanted them to make their own decisions. However, DC found it very useful to have another set of eyes and someone to chat through things with when we were in the narrowing down stage. DC found I pointed things out they hadn't noticed.
Their choices were very much their own, but they wanted me to be a supporter for what is a very big decision.
I know some parents go and look around in a way you would look around a private school, seeing if it is good enough for their DC and speaking to tutors to get advise for their DC.. And I agree that is too much!!

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 22:30:08

The fact is that parents go these days- it is the norm. It is so established that many universities run tours and talks for the parents while the students have different ones. They even send you vouchers for a hot drink!

BlackMogul Mon 26-Aug-13 22:59:08

Why go to a Uni close at hand if you are Oxbridge material? My DDs wanted specific universities and wanted a city life. They did not want to be stuck on a campus miles from civilisation. This was probably just as important as the highest ranking course. You do choose 5 Unis so getting a flavour of what they offer in terms of course, employment prospects, living experience and general ambience is important. Where does he think he will fit in? You need to visit to check this out. Oxbridge do subject days too so this is an extra visit but worth it.

Horsemad Mon 26-Aug-13 23:55:40

Doesn't matter if you're Oxbridge material or not, I guess you have to go where you'll be happiest.

I know a couple of students who've turned down Oxbridge offers!

As I mentioned earlier, the top 10 UK unis for Computer Science degree courses are all at least 100 miles from us, so it's unlikely he'll be that close anyway. In fact, today he mentioned MIT!
Now that would be a bit of a trip to visit! smile

BlackMogul Tue 27-Aug-13 00:08:50

My DD2got a place at Parsons New York. We didn't visit but she was keen to apply. Before you get too excited , Parsons fees were $20,000 a semester and it was an 8 semester course.(4 years). Living expenses and flights added another $40,000 a year. Ie $80,000 a year. They awarded her a scholarship of $7,000 a year. You either have to be genius (full scholarship) or very rich to afford a USA undergraduate course and MIT will not be cheap. Tried all avenues to apply for help but as we are British we did not qualify for anything. Went to Fulbright Commission funding seminar where most parents left depressed at huge amount of money required and lack of funding available. Go abroad to do Masters. Undergrad funding is minimal. Hope you are rich!!!

Horsemad Tue 27-Aug-13 00:18:47

I guess we'd manage BlackMogul smile

There's lots to get through before he ends up at uni, so we'll have to see how he gets on.

Numberlock Tue 27-Aug-13 00:24:08

Bath has a good reputation for Computer Science.

Any idea what grades he's likely to get?

Horsemad Tue 27-Aug-13 00:27:29

No idea. I don't think he's chosen the right A level subjects for him but he needs Maths for computer science apparently, so Maths he's doing.

mumeeee Tue 27-Aug-13 00:38:37

You don't need Maths for computer science at all umiversities, DD3 looked into this.

2rebecca Tue 27-Aug-13 08:33:47

My son's going on his own. We both work and they tend to be during the week. It's doing him good having him sort out his travel arrangements and plan his timetable for the day. I'll be picking him up from one today but can't get the day off work. He's going to uni next year. If he'd gone to open days last year he'd have been looking at different subjects. He went to one with the school before they broke up for summer.
He's only going to unis he's considering applying for and only those close at hand.
I only went to one open day as a student and didn't apply to go there so don't think they're essential. They're mainly to allow you to finalise choices between unis and courses.

2rebecca Wed 28-Aug-13 08:48:58

Picked him up yesterday and he'd enjoyed himself. He said it was 50 50 with and without parents but they were excluding parents from some of the talks to allow enough places for children. He also said alot of mums were moaning there was nowhere to have coffee and he wondered why they didn't just leave their teenager and go into town for a bit.
He was trying to sort out UCAS choices last night and thinks open days make it harder to decide as he wants to go to every uni he visits as they sell them so well. He did spend a bit of time just wandering round the town and college buildings and thinks the wandering aimlessly and getting the atmosphere of the place is useful and something you might not do if part of an entourage.
He's now planning to go to a few more open days as he doesn't trust the league tables/ unistats especially as they put you higher up the table for requiring high grades, which he thinks is the wrong way round. If somewhere has high student satisfaction, good graduate employment and starting salaries after grad and only wants AABB at higher why would you want to go to the place that wants 3As at advanced higher instead if the other stats are no better?

summerswims Sun 08-Sep-13 09:01:55

Just went to an open day with my DC - I saw 98% of students with their parents. That being said we will send ours along with friends now once we have established what the degree courses are roughly about. Have been told offer days are the best to sum up a place.

Must say - unis are slick now - presentation is strong.

UptheChimney Sun 08-Sep-13 13:35:04

Did an Open Day last week, and most of the parents were sensible -- standing back and letting me talk to the actual applicants.

What I hate (and I think many of my colleagues feel the same) is that we end up doing a very uncomfortable sort of translation: speaking to the actual applicant, in answer to questions put to us by their parents. I feel as if I'm being rude by not speaking to the parent, but it's NOT the parent going to university!

exoticfruits Sun 08-Sep-13 14:39:51

I think that when you go to an Open Day you have to realise that you are just there as a sounding board and extra pair of eyes- you are not there to ask the questions and take over.

Kez100 Mon 09-Sep-13 04:45:09

I also think Universities have to realise the dynamics have changed. Parents understand the practical effect of buying yourself into an, effectively, 9% extra tax rate can mean. Most students - understandably - do not.

University is definitely still about the right course in the right place for the student but interested parents will still be relied on by the student to give true advice (not open day hard sell) and to do that, parents will need to ask questions.

exoticfruits Mon 09-Sep-13 06:47:22

The useful thing is now that they expect parents they often split them into 2 groups and the parents get a different tour and talk from the students . That is a good time to ask questions and I found out a lot about finance at those sessions.

Kez100 Mon 09-Sep-13 13:07:53

I think that's a good idea. The dynamics of funding have changed, so change the organisation of the Open Days to suit the new regime.

This is so new, I suppose it will take time to alter Open Days to take this into consideration. In the meantime, though, when there are not split sessions (as there haven't been on the Open Days we have been to) I do hope Universities understand a bit more and do not slate parents for involvement.

Two of the course talks that we have been on have been taken by course leaders who, coincidentally, have their own children going to University this year and applying under the new 9k per annum system. Both actually started the talks saying they appreciated parents would have a lot of questions to ask.

summerswims Mon 09-Sep-13 20:14:46

The tutor on ours gave an impressive academic talk and then referred to the fee implications of £3000 Whoops! Have unis really caught up with the real expectations of parents/students who have to fork out such huge sums - life altering sums.

MissMarplesBloomers Mon 09-Sep-13 22:07:16

We found the Open Days were very useful for both sides DD to get a taste of what the faculty & staff are like in the subject specific workshops/talks & me for getting my head around the funding, burseries and loans etc. as I am a LP & have no extra for supplementing costs.

2rebecca Fri 13-Sep-13 07:52:26

I hope parents going aren't taking up places on the tours and lectures. The engineering ones for Heriot Watt are full and it will be sad if that's because half the places are taken by parents. My son went to another with a friend and said 50:50 parents again so maybe fewer parents in Scotland just like we drop and leave at kids parties.

BeenFluffy Fri 13-Sep-13 10:26:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Fri 13-Sep-13 13:14:06

English ones expect the parents- they are not taking student places. Scotland will be different- it is nothing to do with independence, and all to do with tuition fees.

chemenger Fri 13-Sep-13 17:03:16

I am in Scotland. I would say at least 75% of young people coming to our last open day had one or more parents with them. We ask parents to leave subject lectures to make space for potential applicants. Lots of talks about finance etc, I'm not sure who has priority at those. I do remember a time when virtually no parents attended open days and none at all at post-offer days, but those are long gone and we do cater for parents at all our events. This has made these events very much more expensive of course.
I do think that bringing your whole family for a day out (I have seen two parents, two grandparents and a younger sibling before) is not a good idea.

BeenFluffy Fri 13-Sep-13 17:57:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

curlew Fri 13-Sep-13 18:10:18

My dd''s in year 13 and doing open days now. I've been to 1 and company and chauffeur- and will go with her to Edinburgh and St Andrews but only because I fancy a trip to Scotland

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