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Anyone else starting to plan the great Open Day trek?

(66 Posts)
GnomeDePlume Sun 22-Jan-17 18:01:09

DD (year 12) has started to look at uni courses. Currently she is planning to go to Bristol, Sheffield, UEA, Edinburgh, Glasgow. So fairly scattered about.

Anyone else starting to look at similar?

RedHelenB Sun 22-Jan-17 19:25:29

Had all that last year but it is an enjoyable experience! Can also be surprising as that you think about a uni on paper can change once you visit!

Itsthiwooluff Sun 22-Jan-17 19:39:46

Yes, DD2 and I were sitting together this afternoon working out dates and locations. Her choices include Exeter and St. Andrews so we had a bit of an impromptu cities of Britain and their location lesson.wink

GnomeDePlume Sun 22-Jan-17 22:05:58

That made me smile Itsthiwooluff!

Yes, this is second time around for us. Went through it a few years ago with DD1. I agree that seeing the place and listening to the talks was an important part of DD1's decision making.

It was fun going with DD1. On the way up we talked about all sorts. On the way back we would talk about the course, accommodation, impressions, the future, could she imagine being there.

I know DD2 could go on her own but I think going with someone does add to the experience. It doesnt need to be me.

Itsthiwooluff Sun 22-Jan-17 22:19:01

Second time here as well. Wholly agree about the great 'almost' adult conversations we had. I'm looking forward to the process, and hopefully seeing DD2 getting more and more enthusiastic as DD1 did.

forgottenusername Sun 22-Jan-17 22:27:57

I've not started for dd2 (yr12) but been through it with dd1. I found it was essential to compare catering outlets at each place we visited, so coffee and muffin and every uni is compulsory I'm afraid ;)

I found it quite interesting, none of the unis we visited were ones I visited when I was looking and I think dd2 will be different again.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 22-Jan-17 22:41:29

I think dds first ones are in April. Nothing planned yet, but she may be going with friends to some of them. I don't know if we are going to any with her or not.

Blogwoman Mon 23-Jan-17 22:31:51

Hello, I agree it's so worth doing if you can. I went to 6 with DD1 last year and will be doing it all again with DD2 this year. We enjoyed our visits, including a couple with overnight stays, and certainly got information from visiting that we couldn't have got online. Expensive business getting to them all though! We do it all by train but did get a couple of bargain fares using Tickety Split.

HesMyLobster Mon 23-Jan-17 23:11:49

Hi, first timer here so all feeling a bit daunting.
Dd1 and I started making plans at the weekend.

I'm a teacher, so unless there's a weekend option or one that happens to fall out of term time, I won't be able to go with her.
Most of her choices don't seem to have open days until June.

Except her favourite choice (Oxford) which has invited her to a "subject open day" for the course she is interested in, in March.
I definitely can't go with her and dh will be working abroad so no chance of him going either.

She insists she'll be absolutely fine on the train by herself (and I'm sure she will be)

however, she has never been on a train by herself confusedand has also never been to Oxford before.

So the 2 of us are going to do a trial run together during half term - the train journey, explore the city a bit and stay for a couple of days.
It's for my peace of mind more than hers!
And will hopefully make up for me not going to the open day a little bit.

I won't be able to do this for all of them though. I'm hoping she will have friends applying to some of the same places so she can go with them rather than alone. Especially as she has St Andrews and Durham on her list! shock So far away!
The others she'd like to see are Exeter, Warwick, Bristol and Nottingham (which is the one I'm secretly rooting for as we're in the midlands! wink)

GnomeDePlume Tue 24-Jan-17 00:04:13

HesMyLobster quite a few seem to have Saturday options which I am glad about otherwise all my annual leave would disappear in trekking around Britain.

I didnt go to all of DD1's. After the first couple of visits for parents they are all very similar. We did start to get quite efficient. DD1 was most interested in seeing the labs (biochemistry) so once we had done a couple of full tours we did tend to get in and out pretty quickly.

The subject talks were useful for DD1 as they highlighted the differences between courses which on paper were near identical.

RedHelenB Tue 24-Jan-17 09:38:01

Hesmylobster - she will be fine by herself! Though It will be a good thing for her to catch a train by herself.

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 24-Jan-17 10:24:21

Lobster, she will be absolutely fine smile Oxford is a lovely compact place, easy to get around and with google maps on her phone she won't get too lost.

I remember my uni trips a billion years ago. I hadn't travelled by myself, had hardly ever been on the the train. Very shy quiet person. Had to plan the rail journey using the timetable book in the school library and then use the map in the university prospectus to find my way from the train station to the uni.

It is so much easier now with the advent of phones. How many kids do go by themselves though?

Blogwoman Tue 24-Jan-17 10:37:38

Hesmylobster yes Oxford is an easy city to navigate on foot (nightmare in the car!) and the station is an easy walk from the city centre.
Gnome we also found the subject talks really useful to distinguish between apparently similar unis - and things like poor presentations were off-putting. A remark by one tutor along the lines of "we cover mental health [in the course] though we don't really want to" was incredibly revealing and instantly decided my DD against going there. Subject talks also helped her decide between two similar courses, and it was a real shame that at one uni they put the talks for both on at the same time.

GnomeDePlume Tue 24-Jan-17 12:49:17

Blogwoman - similar experience here. It was also good for DD to see the different generations of labs in use.

I would second that Oxford is easy to navigate and also a lovely city to look at.

I too did my uni visits on my own. Was definitely the quiet, shy student. In the end didnt actually go to any of the unis I visited (crap A levels) and ended up in a city I would have struggled to place on a map. No regrets and I met DH!

Open days arent compulsory at all but I think are an important part of the visualisation process. It is nice if parents can go to one or two as it is also part of their visualisation process.

Many unis offer more specific open days for offer holders which I think are important to attend if at all possible. Obviously not the end of the world if not possible.

In a way I felt the uni open days were,for me, my final 'big' parental job.

Blogwoman Wed 25-Jan-17 06:59:59

Returning this Saturday to a uni we visited in the autumn for an open day; now it's the applicant day as DD has an offer & wants to find out more. Returning to one other for its applicant day too. We have different things we need to do but it will be interesting to see how it differs (if at all) from the open day.

SluttyButty Wed 25-Jan-17 13:52:21

Yes we started to look at open days last week. She's only got three on her list so far, Oxford, Bristol and Manchester.
She's already doing the pathways to law programme at Oxford anyway and will be doing a residential at Cambridge this year (she's year 12).

Timetogetup0630 Wed 25-Jan-17 20:17:50

Joining in. I have a very quiet, clever and hard working son who rarely leaves the house. He wants to study Maths but he doesn't want to go to University in a city ! He wants to try for Cambridge but also look at York, Edinburgh and Lancaster.
We live in the SW so all these are a long drive/flight and open days will require a whole weekend.
Scratching my head to think of other Campus based universities where he might feel happy......
He really doesn't know what is out there.....

Blogwoman Wed 25-Jan-17 20:30:06

Timetogetup No idea where's good for maths but if you're looking for a campus uni you might want to look at Sussex. Smaller than many but big enough to have loads of societies etc; it's a bit quirky, lovely location on the South Downs and on the edge of Brighton. It's also a top 20 uni. I've heard good things about UEA and Loughborough but they're not ones we visited.

MiddlingMum Wed 25-Jan-17 20:36:05

Timetogetup I don't know what the course is like, but I know one young man who did Maths at Aberystwyth and had a fantastic time. A very small city, very small university, but it suited him well.

Lobster you'd have to be trying very hard to get lost in Oxford, it really is compact and easy to walk round.

DD1 only applied to one place - the only place that did the specialism she wanted, and DD2 decided she could do all visits on her own by train. So I never got to see all the universities.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 25-Jan-17 20:42:03

How do you even start this? DD interested in History so choice is pretty wide. Do you just trapse all over the country on a kind of whim? So many are on school days and I work in a school so won't be able to do loads. I don't even know where to start.

Leeds2 Wed 25-Jan-17 20:42:11

Time, Warwick has a fabulous reputation for maths.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 25-Jan-17 20:44:11

Time, he could look at Durham too.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 25-Jan-17 20:46:12

Not sure Natural, I guess the first thing is to look at her likely grades, because that will cut out a reasonable swathe. Then think about what era she likes most and start looking at websites and prospectuses. Does she fancy a city or a smaller place? Try one or two open days and that might clarify things, she doesn't need to plan it all at once.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 25-Jan-17 20:49:00

She's (hopefully) an A/B type- wants to be in a city. It's hard as doesn't know really what she wants to be after. Wish their school were more helpful.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 25-Jan-17 21:27:29

that narrows things down quite a lot smile she could try a couple of subject open days to see if she likes the idea of history.

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