This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Uni open days question please!(101 Posts)
How much do parents get involved?
Obviously DS is deciding which unis he wants to see, course etc.
We are going to an open day at Newcastle on Friday. Do parents go along or do I just let him go himself? I’m flying up with him and obviously can go but don’t want him to look odd having his mum there. Or odd not having anyone with him!
This is all new for me!
Many take parents. There are often sessions specifically aimed at parents and separate ones for the students. An extra pair of eyes can be useful too even though it is their decision in the end.
Would say nowadays more parents go than not. We went with dc.
They then attended interviews or offers day by themselves.
I went to lots of open days with my DDs. They wanted me to be there and valued my opinion.
It’s a huge and expensive decision for them to make. It’s really useful for them to have someone who cares to talk to about it.
Most potential students were accompanied by a parent. Just don’t be the parent who monopolises the Q and A session after the talk.
I’ve been to 4 Open Days so far (!). There seem to be a lot of parents attending but at each we have seen students on their own. I went round with my daughter as she asked me to. She isn’t interested in doing the same subjects as any of her friends so I think she likes having someone to discuss the subject talks with.
Oh goodness yes, the parent asking questions at the Performance Sports q&a who clearly wasn’t listening during the talk....
Great. Thanks everyone. I’ll go with him.
Definitely won’t be the parent monopolising the Q&A - he would disown me for sure! I will probably be expected to be seen and not heard!
So looks like I have trips to Newcastle, Glasgow and Belfast to look forward to.
Extremely common for parents to go along and all universities will expect and cater for accompanying parents. Separate talks and so forth. Just don't do what happened on all the open days I went to with my children and dominate the Q & A sessions! (Of course you wouldn't - but it did happen, always men, oddly ).
This thread will soon attract people outraged at the idea of a 16/17yo involving their parents in an important life decision, which will affect their own finances and their parents' for years to come. Ignore them.
I went to Open Days and interviews on my own in the late 70s but in those days we had maintenance grants and no tuition fees to pay. Given that only a small minority went to university, it was going to be a huge advantage to get a degree, full stop, so it didn't matter nearly as much to make the right decision over course and university.
Well said Gasp0de. DD has social anxiety, and if I hadn't gone with her to open days she simply wouldn't have gone to any. Plus, getting to most of them without a car would have been extremely difficult.
Something we’ve discovered is that the introduction to wherever talks tend to stop, I recommend getting there for the start & leaving at lunchtime rather than arriving at 11 (travel permitting). We’ve also found that accommodation doesn’t vary that much, no need to go on every accommodation tour (v time consuming if it is off campus).
Agree accommodation tours are a bit unnecessary. They are pretty similar and something to look at on online tours or at applicant/offer holder days.
I went but DH only did two universities - one for each DC. I mostly left it to DD to see what she wanted to and touch base when she needed to. If it was a student only talk, she went, not me.
There is a huge variety of parent behaviour on view. Mr and Mrs Desperate do not just monopolise Q and A, they also barge to the front of information desks, monopolise academic staff and are a pain in the butt. Happily, most parents are another pair of eyes and ears and go to the parents talks. However when you keep hearing about student finance you might as well go and have a coffee and a look round!
I agree about not looking at the accommodation, although we stayed in it at one university! There’s generally enough to see and do without that. However I would plan your day. Does anything need to be booked? Subject talks for example. Plan what you want to do, when it’s available, and where/when you’ll get lunch. I too recommend getting there for an early start if you can.
Have a great day.
Thanks everyone. Yes I was slightly worried about asking in case I got the don’t do anything with your 16/17 year old child brigade! I never went to university and DH went back in late 70s so similar to you Gasp.
He has booked in to two talks. Wants a good look around Newcastle itself so we are going up tomorrow evening and exploring city on Thursday and then university on Friday. We will get there early. One of the talks he is booked into is at 1 I think so lunch will be planned around that.
Most seem to take parents, but there are always some on their own or with friends. I don't think with or without parents would seem odd. I've seen some talks where they only allow student +1 guest. There are also parents-only sessions, often with talks from parents of current students. Newcastle university is close to the city centre, so you could always wander around the city while he does the open day and then meet for lunch, or go along to the start of the open day and see if he wants you to stay?
I agree about arriving early if possible as some talks and tours get very busy. I think it's also helpful if he looks at the open day programme and makes a rough timetable for what he needs to see, otherwise it's easy to miss something he really wanted to look at. And bear in mind that there might be queues for some things. One of the open days we've been to had a sign up warning that there was a 1 hour queue to see accommodation!
I was sent off to all my uni open days on the train by myself (albeit 26 years ago ). Really wish my parents had come, to give me a bit of back up and to be able to discuss pros and cons afterwards. I was quite a "young" 17 year old and really had no idea what I should be looking for/questions I should be asking. I glad it's more of the done thing for parents to attend these days and really look forward to helping my DC with their own decisions when the time comes (assuming they want me to!).
I went to lots with my DC and they did some on their own on school trips.
Worth remembering that once they apply and get offers there is a second chance to visit called an offer day.
These are actually much better because they are focussed on students who are genuinely likely to go there for three years, often subject specific as well. That's the time to look at accommodation if you want to and to as more detailed questions.
kinsey I agree. I had no idea what I was looking for in a university and just chose one that was in quite a cool city rather than for the course or anything else. I had a great 3 years but I think I would have got more out of it and maybe had a more satisfying career if I'd looked at the course info and given some though to what would really suit me.
I think it's useful to have a parent at the open day for a second opinion and a gentle reminder of what things might be important to consider - as long as it's not the parent who makes the decision in the end.
I took a back seat with DD. I didn't attend all the subject talks or tours. I was mainly there as the driver.
On a practical note don't leaving getting lunch too late. If there is a 1pm talk have lunch first. We have had more than one experience of there being little food left.
Will bear that in mind NoHaudin!
lots of parents go.
Dh went along to one of dd's but she's done/doing the rest on her own or with a couple of friends.
Wants a good look around Newcastle itself so we are going up tomorrow evening and exploring city on Thursday and then university on Friday.
Have a great time! I love Newcastle and there are so many good places to eat I have to recommend Quay Ingredient for breakfast 😋
I went along as much as anything as a sounding board. As this is second time around the technique has been honed. We would do (in whichever order):
- accommodation tour
- course talk
DD recommends spending a bit of time to take a look at the town/city. DD recommends also going via public transport if that is how the student will be doing a lot of the travel independently. Spend some time using the public transport around the town/city.
If there are only 5 institutions in the frame then the offer holder day may be better.
DD found it useful to do a practice run at an open day. DD went to the open day at her DSister's university and found having an 'expert witness' really helpful to interpret some of the platitudes:
- Accommodation good for veterinary students means isolated
- Good access to open countryside means near a field
- Vibrant city means you'll get mugged
- Exciting city means you'll get mugged at knifepoint
- If anything is a 20 minute walk away then it means 20 minutes walking up a dual carriageway isnt there a bus?
- Dont trust what PhD students say, of course they love the place, they have been there for 6 years. Their memories of first year are hazy.
- Dont discount places which look like a building site (many do in summer)
- Dont panic during course talks if topics get mentioned which you have never heard of. Some of this comes down to different A level specs, some down to mis-remembering what was covered in A level.
- Free food on offer implies good funding
- Wear comfortable clothes there's always more walking than you expect.
Second time round for us too. We are aiming to get there early & be heading home early afternoon in most cases. Focussing on the subject talk, a quick look around the department then a stroll around the campus/area. Only going to see accommodation if we are passing by anyway. Ds is planning to study the same subject as me so hopefully my input is useful!