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Tell me about open days(23 Posts)
When do “we” I.e dd need to start worrying about these? She’s wanting to apply to Cambridge to read law but will need to carefully consider her back up plan. She’s about to sit GCSEs but Dh needs to book time off 6 months in advance minimum for one of us to be able to run her up and down the country.
Open days are generally summer term of year 12. However dates won't be published till Easter year 12 so you won't be able to book six months ahead. They are at weekends though. And mostly served by pubic transport. Parental accompaniment not compulsory!
That’s reassuring. I thought parents were generally all over them these days.
Most applicants do have parents with them tbh - but only parent. Can you not go?
One of us would need to be looking after younger dcs. Dh often works weekends.
I went with DD because some of them weren't easy to do or were to expensive to do on public transport. There were very few potential students there without parents.
Experience here similar to that of Lonicera. We managed to combine Durham, Edinburgh and St Andrews with a family holiday in Easter of Y12. Once DS had decided on short long list or long shortlist he went on his own or with us depending on what we could make and what the journey was like. He ended up being interviewed at 3 unis because of his subject so that needs to be factored in to time and cost. Interviews are obviously post UCAS application so in Autumn/Spring term of Y13.
If it comes to it, and you did need to send her off on her own, you'd be able to tell the people doing the open day. I know in my subject and at my college, they'd organise for someone to meet her at the college gates/faculty doors, and they might well try to have someone meet her at the train or bus station. There will always be undergraduate volunteers whose job it is to help the prospective students, and if you or she is particularly worried, you could ask if someone could possibly meet her?
If you think your dd might like to look at quite a few universes it might be a good idea to visit some next Sept/Oct as well. I find that there are usually a couple of weekends in June where there are lots on & it's virtually impossible to see them all. Or postpone a few till the following Sept/Oct.
Opendays.com is a good way to find out when they are all on.
Whilst visiting alternate universes might be more appealing I obviously meant universities!
DD (in her first year at Cambridge) started with the Oxbridge open days/information days earlier than other universities. She went to an event in our nearest big city quite early in Y12, and by the end of Y12 had done a subject open day, a 2 day residential and visited several colleges. She then went back for the main university open day and chose 'her' college for application.
The early events were due to her attending a comp which is targeted as low income/low entry to HE.
I work in HE and our first Open Day for 2019 entry is in June this year.
DD went to an Oxbridge convention in Liverpool in year 12. It put her off even thinking of applying to either university. My friend's DD was also put off.
DD wouldn't have been a suitable Oxbridge applicant anyway, but the event just confirmed that it really wasn't for her.
We went early to an open day at Cambridge. We live nearer to Oxford so DD was familiar with Oxford. We then booked her into a subject day at Oxford and you need to familiarise yourself with the timings of subject days now. They can be earlier in the year. There is nothing to stop you seeing if other universities also do subject days. Then book in for an open day again for looking at colleges and familiarisation with the city.
DD didn’t attend anything else and no talks available as outreach from Oxbridge but I would check these out too. There might be one near you. You also need to get familiar with the process of applying for Law. There are probably other tests she will need to do.
Does her school have a track record of sending law students to the top universities? Where else do they go? Ideally you do need to choose 4 others, so choose wisely and try and visit at least a couple of the others.
Look at the current diary dates to see when events take place at Cambridge. Can you not get childminding for a day when you need it? DD could go on her own, and I suggest parents don’t go into every session anyway at an open day, but parental presence in the early stages is worthwhile to sift through the info you are receiving and forming opinions. It can be quite difficult for a 16 year old to do this.
Also, typically, Oxbridge attracts over involved parents who tend to be a bit too dominating at open days. A student on their own can feel a bit pushed out.
DD is in Y12 and is currently booking up university open days - she wants to do 6. I will go to one or 2, her dad will go to 1 or 2. She will go with a friend to the others.
They are all at weekends or on Friday, and she has split hers between June and September.
I'd suggest your dd looks at UCAS, Unistats, etc and starts making a shortlist. Most RG open days are in June, July, September and October, with a few a bit earlier and later e.g. Bristol has one on 3 Nov this year. Once your dd has a shortlist, keep an eye on the university websites for dates. Some publish dates in the autumn term, so easily 6+ months notice, others wait until nearer the time.
My dd and dn found it really useful to go to a couple of open days at the end of Y11 (in the very long break after GCSEs). It helped them plan for this summer (Y12) and know what kind of questions to ask, what kind of things to look at on the day, etc. Your dd might also feel happy to go to some alone next year if she knows what to expect from doing one or two this year.
Thanks everyone, this is really useful!
My DD (will be 17 in the Summer) has just been to an Oxbridge college open day and when I asked her whether she chatted to any other Yr12s she said that they were virtually all with their parents so she couldn't!
I have to say I'm feeling a bit neglectful now as DD went on the train by herself- nearly a 5hr trip changing in London- and stayed by herself in the college the night before. She said the porters were lovely though she did say she found it all a bit scary!
I went by myself to uni interviews 30 odd years ago but times have obviously changed. I think she will have found out more and not obviously been tempted to rely on me to ask questions.
Does your DD have any friends/relatives at uni now? My younger DD's first open day was with her big sister at her big sister's uni. It wasnt where DD wanted to go but gave her a flavour of what to expect without the pressure of it being a 'possible'.
Her youngest cousin graduates this year and is up to her eyeballs in dissertation just now. She has friends with older siblings who start in September so she could always visit them. Again, thanks for the food for thought.
I did open days and interviews on my own back in the day, too. I feel a bit sad they’ve become so infantilised to be honest, but want dd to feel supported.
I think Yootha has hit the nail on the head. Your DD might find it difficult to find someone to chat to. You can still let her ask questions and you can listen to the answers given to other potential students. The value in a parent attending (particularly Oxbridge) is so you can evaluate the answers and your feelings together. Mull things over a coffee! If your DD is alone and just reports back to you, then the moment is lost if there needs to be a follow up question you could have asked at the time.
For what it’s worth, I was too intimidated to ask questions in any open forum! DD asked what she needed to at appropriate times but you can get a lot of info by letting others ask! They will probably ask the question you were thinking of anyway! Plus a few you would never have thought of!
You do have to consider subject days at Oxbridge. Having said that, DD attended one at Cambridge and it put her off. A lecturer tried to enthuse her about an aspect of the course and DD felt it wasn’t for her. (Medieval French) Roll on a few years, and it was the aspect she was best at on the course she did do! What they think at 16 isn’t always how things pan out at 21 when maturity sets in!
There are plenty of potential students who go to open days who go with friends. I just wouldn’t recommend it for Oxbridge because there’s a lot to take in and consider. It’s not infantilising your child, it’s guiding them and supporting. She can no doubt go on her own everywhere else.
My daughter's secondary school and new Sixth Form have what they call Oxbridge programmes. I think they've had talks and are being taken up regularly to Oxford (as that's were the majority from both schools want to go), so it might be worth asking about this.