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Visiting Cambridge

(17 Posts)
HappyAxolotyl Sat 13-May-17 08:28:03

We are unable to visit Cambridge on their summer open days, so which alternative would be best? (From Scotland.)
Go down in the summer holidays and wander around the outside of the college buildings, and get a feel for the town itself?
Or, visit on a (random) college's open day for ds's subject?

Hollybollybingbong Sat 13-May-17 10:02:49

They are holding subject Masterclasses that you can book onto on various dates. You could also apply to either Selwyn college or Homerton college for their summer schools although the closing date for these is Monday.
During the summer holidays you may only get to see the grounds which wouldn't give you much idea of the teaching, course detail or 'feel' of the place.
They have a great website, you could contract the course department directly and explain your circumstances, my overall impression is that they welcome contract.
If all else fails, during the summer holidays they do rent out rooms at various colleges on a bed and breakfast basis, this would give you an idea of the area. We stayed at Durham castle in the summer holiday as a first experience of Durham going on to visit open days later in the year, it gave DS at least some idea when choosing universities for his UCAS form (even though he did turn them down after 2 more visits!)
Good luck!

goodbyestranger Sat 13-May-17 10:05:30

Always best to visit a uni during uni term time if possible. Even the Scottish school holidays with their earlier start fall within the two terms at Cambridge. How about a long weekend in October? Some universities have a spectacularly different feel outside term; Cambridge is one of them.

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 13-May-17 10:05:33

Most of the subject-specific college days have passed I think - the autumn ones don't seem to have subjects attached. Tbh I think I'd go in the summer for a couple of days and read everything in the prospectus and the alternative prospectus.

On another thread a while ago I wrote a list of things that could help start to get you thinking about how to narrow down college choice, I'll try to find it. However, most people end up loving their college no matter where they go, and getting too fixated on one college could lead to disappointment if you get pooled to somewhere else, so staying open minded is good.

Hollybollybingbong Sat 13-May-17 10:07:58

Sorry meant contact not contract!

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 13-May-17 10:10:13

October might be pushing it depending on school deadlines. The subject masterclasses have also passed I think, assuming OP's dc is in y12. And you can find out all the course detail on the website (as you can for all universities).

WorkingItOutAsIGo Sat 13-May-17 10:12:20

The other hint I have is that often colleges may be closed to visitors or make a charge but I found if you go into the porter's lodge and say you are considering applying they usually bend over backwards to give you leaflets and brochures and often let you go in to have a look as well.

goodbyestranger Sat 13-May-17 10:25:19

Yes the October suggestion was based on the premise that DC is lower down than Y12.

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 13-May-17 10:44:35

I thought that if they were in y11 they could plan ahead for next year's summer open days! (Good logic, or just over thinking? grin )

Anyway, found my list of considerations, although it's not exhaustive -

Central or happy to be further out?
Old/newer?
Very traditional/more forward thinking? (Doesn't necessarily match up with old or new!)
Do you want a college that offers accommodation for all three/four years, or do you fancy the freedom of a house (and not having to empty your room each term!) for a year or two?
If you live out, how far from college might you be/want to be?
Cost of accommodation, cost of food.
Distance from the faculty - does it matter to you?
Are you bothered about the Norrington table? [Oh, this is an Oxford one - is there a Cambridge equivalent? I don't know]
Sporting prowess, or lack of!
General facilities.
Most courses are done at all colleges, but not all - check.
Do you like the sound of your subject tutors? (You might/will probably get sent to other colleges for tutorials anyway.)

That might give a jumping off point, and I expect others will have more to add. There are detailed stats about offer rates, etc, but these do change from year to year, so don't get too caught up in them.

goodbyestranger Sat 13-May-17 11:08:42

Good logic! I also thought most of the subject Open Days were over for this academic year, hence DC wouldn't have the option until the next academic year, after the deadline, so there's some very vague logic floating about there smile

Go on OP, I bet DC is in Y12?

HappyAxolotyl Sat 13-May-17 11:42:45

October is leaving it too late, I think. Ucas form has to be in during October if Cambridge is a choice?
Ds is in S5, about to start S6, and has a place at a Scottish University Summer School.
I posted a wee while ago about choosing a College, and got lots of useful advice. Ds plans to apply for the one he likes the look of best, and not get too caught up in a statistical approach.
Christ's have a science open day in September. It's on a Saturday, so no need to miss any school.
The Homerton one would be doable too, but doubt he would get a place when he is already got a place for one at a different university?
Plus, not sure if he would want to rush off an application when he is in the middle of exams.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 13-May-17 13:37:39

Visiting in term time would be best, but most colleges will be shut during exam term (ie., now). So I'd go for a college open day.

Have I missed it - but which subject is it?

HappyAxolotyl Sat 13-May-17 14:12:27

Ds is still undecided between Natural Science and Chemical Engineering. Materials Chemistry is his particular interest.
Would it be ok to attend the Christ's open day even if he decides to put a different college on his application? Or would that be bad form?

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 13-May-17 14:48:10

I'm sure that's absolutely fine!

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 13-May-17 15:04:58

They won't even know, most likely. You'd only know if you happened to work the open day and happened to remember that particular student, and happened to be interviewing for the other college - it'd be very unlikely. And in any case no one would mind. Some students attend several college open days. The whole point is that you decide what you like!

sendsummer Sat 13-May-17 23:24:28

OP your DS probably already knows this but entry for Chemical engineering can be either through Natural Sciences or Engineering with specialisation in chemical engineering after the first year. If your DS likes the idea of Materials he can do that as an option in the Natural Sciences courses.

jeffy29 Thu 18-May-17 22:53:52

He could still attend any open day in theory and apply for any college, but do consider the fact that the colleges are not all together, some a more modern (Homerton in particular, which is actually not in the city centre), as well as Churchills being on the outskirts. Cambridge in summer is carnage, as it is also on a standard saturday. During exam time, as the uni has such a monopoly on property and therefore a large portion of spending power by it's students, things tend to get quite quiet, revision is definitely the order of the season. To get a feel for the city is so dependant upon the time of year/day of week that it will only ever give you a snapshot no matter when you come, unless you make multiple visits. Well done to your boy for obviously working very hard so that Cambridge is an option, one you can't really go wrong with even if you don't attend an open day (aslong as it isn't a condition of entry though!); it is Cambridge after all!

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