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Uni Open Days - DD being complacent and I think she's missed the boat.

(49 Posts)
TightWadBastard Thu 09-Jul-15 12:31:09

DD has just finished Year 12. I told her in May to organise her Open Day visits as she has no idea where she wants to study nor what she wants to do, just "something to do with History." She's a bright girl and can get AAAs if she puts her mind to it (worse case scenario for AS results is AABB) but she is so vague about her future plans.

She went to Durham with a friend (but only because her friend organised it) and now I'm trying to book her train tickets for September when she said she wanted to go to the Open Days. She's at boarding school so unless I text her (and she replies, but therewith hangs another story) then there's not much I can do about it. And, TBH, I've told her that if she really wants to go to Uni then she should organise her Open Day visits herself as other people who want that place more will have already booked themselves onto it.

Anyway, she came out with a ridiculous "I can't find the UCL Open Day page" who I logged on, found it instantly and September is fully booked, same as July when I told her (in MAY) to book it.

So hopefully this will be a good lesson to her to get her act together - but if not... how important is it to attend an Open Day? Here's a link from The Guardian which basically says that Admissions Tutors are looking for suitable candidates at the Open Days themselves.

www.theguardian.com/education/2012/jan/23/university-open-days

Am I right in thinking that if she doesn't attend an Open Day then it's giving out the wrong message and she will be in a very weak position come her admissions interview?

And no, I don't think it's helpful for me to book them for her. She's 17. It's her future and she needs to plan for it without Mummy holding her hand and baling her out when things get tricky. Sorry. Hardline. But life isn't fair, is it, and she needs to learn that opportunities rarely come round a second time and she shouldn't have a life of missed opportunities and wasted chances.

GeorgeYeatsAutomaticWriter Thu 09-Jul-15 12:36:13

History Admissions Tutor here.

Not all places hold interviews, so she hasn't shot herself in the foot there.

Open Days are important to get a feel for the university/city and especially the course (although in some cases a lot of information can be available online).

There will also be post-offer visit days, so if she chooses her 5 for the UCAS form, there will still be an opportunity to visit the universities after Christmas.

Most importantly - with the cap on student numbers removed, it's very much a buyers' market. Especially for high attaining students (which your DD appears to be).

JontyDoggle37 Thu 09-Jul-15 12:37:52

Leave her to it. BUT make it clear that if she doesn't get on and organise herself a place, she won't be spending a year lolling around at home at your expense, she'll be expected to get a job straight after finishing school. That might make her get her skates on!

GinUpGirl Thu 09-Jul-15 12:38:16

You don't need to go until offers have been given. If you've got spare time, fine. But they are not the be all and end all.

You can go to the ones you get offers from on their post-offer open days and make your decisions then.

chandelierswinger Thu 09-Jul-15 12:41:17

There's bags of time still. And we don't make decisions on Open Days alone, so don't worry about that. Also, this isn't her only chance; it's better for her to be decided about her choices and motivated to apply, even if it's not right away. We do look for that.

TightWadBastard Thu 09-Jul-15 12:55:18

Oh bless, thank you for responding so quickly. Your responses are a great relief so I'll reign in the nagging (for now).

Youth is still wasted on the young, isn't it?

TightWadBastard Thu 09-Jul-15 12:56:30

Jonty - I've told her that if she doesn't get herself organised, she'll be doing a Gap Year in a supermarket and living with her Grandmother. In the grand scheme of things, that's probably not a bad idea.

basildonbond Thu 09-Jul-15 14:41:08

There's plenty of time yet - ds was adamant he wasn't going to university so didn't need to go on any open days ... It was only when we gave him a deadline to come up with a concrete plan for the year after school that he thought that maybe university wasn't such a bad idea after all. He dashed off his UCAS form and personal statement and got them in just before the deadline and still got 5 offers. He went on a couple of offer holder days which were useful but not essential and he's done most of his research via the internet

bittapitta Thu 09-Jul-15 14:52:15

Open Days are not the be all and end all. how would people on low incomes afford 5-6 visits? She should visit anywhere she is seriously considering living/studying in order to get a feel for it. Places like UCL are fairly open to the public, she could have a visit any time really.

GinUpGirl Thu 09-Jul-15 14:58:50

I've never really seen much point in falling in love with a uni before you've got the offer. Its that extra bit upsetting if you don't get one.

Only visiting the ones you do get offers for makes the choice a lot more pragmatic. I only went to post-offer open days for all of my degrees. It is a nice situation to be in, visiting to go and choose which one you like the best knowing you can actually go there, not worrying about getting in.

PUGaLUGS Thu 09-Jul-15 15:03:39

DS didn't decide till last Sept he wanted to go to Uni. We managed the open days in quick succession of the ones he wanted to do. So not all lost for your DD.

Decorhate Thu 09-Jul-15 15:11:54

I agree that online research is equally important but ime for some courses, Open Days are where they often reveal their selection criteria (over and above A Levels) so can be useful if you don't want to waste one of your choices.

YeOldTrout Thu 09-Jul-15 15:42:59

spending 3 yrs somewhere is a long time, it's easier to make a good decision if you've visited the place a few times.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 09-Jul-15 15:53:45

Ours is just finished yr 12 and isn't going on all the open days til sept - dec

They're booked for the first term of yr 13

circular Thu 09-Jul-15 18:36:31

DD1 just finished yr13. Started open days first term of yr13, had no choice as she is so busy. But if she had the time, would have waited till start of yr13 when she had AS results and an idea of grade predictions.
She fell in love with the first Uni she visited, then found out nearly a year later that she was unlikely to make the grade. It did end up as one of her 5, and she had an offer that was too aspirational, so dropped it then.

Out of all the visits (8 different Unis if you count taster days) there were a couple of surprises, One had the perfect course on paper, but she hated the campus so would have been a wasted choice. Another she would never have applied for without seeing as the furtherest away, became her insurance choice.

She got in early for an offer holders day to where she thought would be her firm choice, still loved it, so picked late dates for all the others. Her insurance choice had interviewed, so that was a combined pre-offer applicant day. Once she had the offer from them, cancelled all the other offer holders days. So managed to minimise trips a bit that way.

Good luck!

circular Thu 09-Jul-15 18:37:50

Sorry, should have read Started open days first term of yr12

MissDemelzaCarne Thu 09-Jul-15 18:42:53

DS didn't go to any Open Days in Yr 12, he has ASD and couldn't have gone on his own and I was hospitalised for a month.
He went on the Applicant visit days for all 5 choices though.

twentyten Thu 09-Jul-15 18:46:18

It is also possible to arrange private visits to a department- many do self- guided tours for their campuses at any time. She has got to want it- but going for a mooch around will tell her if she wants to be there for 3 years

TightWadBastard Thu 09-Jul-15 19:03:45

Wow, thank you all for your help - the general consensus seems to be that it's OK to wait.

Open Days didn't exist when I went to uni. We sent off for prospectuses (or raided the school careers library) and hoped for the best. My criteria was a) how far away from home is it? b) how much will the train fare home be?

A friend is a law lecturer and says that her students all demand 2:1s because they're paying for the course. Oh, how times have changed....

bikeandrun Thu 09-Jul-15 19:09:48

A lot of students are waiting for the second lot of open days ( generally September to October) as they are waiting for A/S grades to give a more realistic picture of the type of universities they could go for

GinUpGirl Thu 09-Jul-15 19:12:25

Its a wise move bikeandrun. I'm currently watching my cousin take her DD to Cambridge and Bristol, when the poor girl will get Bs at best. Sad really.

TightWadBastard Thu 09-Jul-15 20:33:58

GinUpGirl My DD's previous school did a "gifted & talented" trip to Cambridge full of kids who will never get the grades to go there, bar one. Bar two, if you include my own girl who wasn't "invited" on the trip and ended up with (as I predicted) a string of A*/As.

The school claimed it was creating aspiration, but in actual fact it was just promoting disappointment. DD is no longer in that school, I should hasten to add.

BrendaBlackhead Fri 10-Jul-15 14:31:00

Quite, bikeandrun. I wouldn't think it a good idea to go roaming round the country with ds and he chooses Durham, Exeter and maybe Cambridge for good measure and then he opens his AS results...

Mind you, I know someone who has chosen her ds's university (aspirational choice) and - she really wasn't joking - said she had nearly finished his Extended Project shock . She said he'd never do it by himself and he needed it to be good...

bikeandrun Fri 10-Jul-15 15:19:02

The whole ucas system is barmy and I think it is ucas self interest that keeps it going in its present form. It would be so much easier for students just to apply with their results rather than with predicted. Bring the exams back by maybe one month or maybe start the first year of uni courses a month later, I am sure it would be possible!

2rebecca Fri 10-Jul-15 16:21:04

My son did his open days in the September/October of his last year at school. he went to 1 open day with the school and the others himself. I did put myself in charge of sorting out when the open days were nagged him about which ones he wanted to go to and put his name down though as he's a forgetful/lazy toad. He wanted to do engineering so visiting the departments was important although many do applicants days for successful applicants so there is a second chance if you choose places and don't visit. The main point of going is to choose somewhere you'd be happy. When everywhere interviewed open days weren't as important as you'd see the place at interview (I went to no open days in the 80s). Miserable first years at uni often haven't considered their course and the city enough before hand.

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