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
How many university open days is your dc planning to go to?(59 Posts)
Dd2 is in year 12 and has given me a ‘short’ list of fifteen universities to visit, clearly that’s way too many but I wonder how many is normal. DD1 is at Uni but knew exactly what she wanted to do and where. DD2 is finding it harder to workout from online research which courses are good. She wants to do joint history and English, we’re looking at Oxford and Durham but need other options.
Long time ago now but I went to 2. I applied for 6, got interviews at 2 and conditional offers at the other 4.
My parents said I could pick 2 universities to visit so I picked the 2 that I had interviews for.
DS is now in third year.
He had already been to Oxford with school a couple of years prior to ucas application.
He visited three others out of the five on his application form.
DS1 only went to one open day: at the university where he is now studying.
DS2 (Y12) has been to four open days already and has another three planned for this summer.
For joint honours in English & History:
Oxford, Durham (you say these are already on her list) Leeds, Bristol, York, Birmingham, Southampton.
DS1 went to 7 pre-application and went back to 3 post offer days ( Not entirely true- we got to Leeds but it was so chaotic we didn't get out of the car!) . DS2 went to 8 ( including Leeds. We also went to a visit afternoon in Birmingham on the way somewhere else). He had also seen Keele and Sussex when we went with DS1. He applied to one Uni that he hadn't seen.
Most of these visits were in the summer holiday or at the weekends.
for History he was recommended Warwick, Durham, Leeds, Nottingham , Lancaster, Southampton and possibly Leicester. Don't know much about English
DS is dyslexic and Lancaster,Leeds, Nottingham and Leicester were really helpful.
DS1 attended 7 open days. DD visited more universities before deciding on which to apply to, but some of the visits were just for campus tours (and one taster day). Only one of the 'non open day only' universities made it as a serious contender in her short list - another two started as a campus tour, were revisited on an open day and are also having her back on an applicant day - but tbh we did mainly view them as 'days out with a couple of hours on a campus attached'.
My DS ended up applying to unis that he didn't go to Open Days for!! It felt very much like time wasted so now we are schlepping around offer holder days. Curse him.
In terms of Eng/History, I know Durham is very highly regarded but their English course is (has had the reputation of ) being quite dry and stuffy, which some may like, I guess!
Assuming your DD is very bright, have a look at York, Birmingham (most of my most able students recently for History and /or Eng have gone for these two, tending to plump for Birmingham in the end) and perhaps Warwick/Leeds/ St Andrews. She is lucky to get the best choices!
Fwiw, I went to York and nosed this year at courses, just for nostalgia. If I were to choose again, I'd apply for Cambridge and Birmingham , whereas all thsoe years ago , my choices were Oxford and York (along with Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow)
I'm not sure DS is planning on actually visiting too many - he's interested in Leeds but says we don't have to visit it! I think he will go and see Birmingham and Nottingham and probably a London one (as we live in London!)
It's a bit early for him to plan ahead as he's not entirely made his mind up about degree subject, let alone where to study!
DD is in yr12 & is refusing to make any plans until after her (1st A-level completes) exams in June. She's only interested in London for Uni.
Dd went to 2.
Then decided seeing as she had to interview for her course she'd wait to see if she got interviews and then would see the campus, etc on interview day. But wasn't a proper open day with talks/tours, etc.
She had 4 interviews and chose one of the ones she'd been to the open day for.
Joint Hons in History & English - I'd be looking at Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Birmingham, York, Exeter, Manchester (v good on political/social history), Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Lancaster.
A lot of choice.
But really, if your DD is looking at the top 10, anywhere she goes she'll get an excellent education - it's a matter of the kind of campus, the details of the course, the location.
Get her doing some research into the content of the English-History degree: look at Department websites beyond the UCAS guff. See what the core compulsory modules are (options may change); what sorts of assessments; do they allow another language than English to be studied. And so on.
Oh yes, I'd forgotten University of London colleges - Kings or UCL might be good ones to look at, if your DD wants London.
We looked at 5 in June/July time of Yr12 for a similar joint honours then Dd only put the 2 she wanted to go to on the UCAS form. They both offered in November and we will have gone to both their offer days by March. All 5 wanted similar grades but there were only 2 that she liked the course and surroundings enough for 3/4 years.
It’s come around again too fast for me. DS3 has quite a few on his list that DS1 had. We’ve got 10 on the list, but waiting to see how he does in his exams to see if we can rule any out as too aspiring or not aspiring enough. Hopefully will look at 5 or 6.
You can narrow down by course content, campus or city, top 10 for both subjects, RG or not, those requiring AAA (or above) and those who don’t for an insurance and best employment stats as it’s not a vocational degree. Do a spread sheet to see which 4 are best. Visit them. Open days might clash anyway and DCs don’t always get enough time off for weekday open days.
Exeter hasn’t been mentioned, or Edinburgh.
DD has been to about 7 or 8 I think. I'm not sure, we didn't go to the open days with her we just went to the applicant days for her two choices.
DS went to two, it he’d made his mind up at the first he attended and was going there whatever.
DD did an NHS degree so had to interview for all her choices, so we actually went to five.
DD had 4 Uni's on the list up until last week but looks like she would like to add Glasgow whose open day dates are not great- but September date probably the most favourable because we could probably go up on the sleeper train. She will also do a few taster days at the Uni's offering Biochemistry type courses during Easter hols.
DD did LSE on her own with a friend and that ruled out two as she didn't want to be based in London. We took her to three open days and did two talk and walks plus meeting lecturers at two Scottish uni's in hols.
When your DD has seen a couple, you might find that helps. Funnily enough DD ruled out the first two she looked at. The only one she didn't look at before applying was Durham.
Are open days worth the effort? All of the information is now readily available online.
Visiting two universities in order to make a final decision between the two is worthwhile. However, I'm not sure the same can be said for visiting seven or eight universities.
Also, it is noticeable that open days are not such a big thing with the independent schools. Maybe, these students are simply given the message to concentrate on a handful of universities in a particular order.
I didn’t go to any but my course involved an interview and audition so I had to go to them that way.
I applied for the six with the best courses (both content and reputation), got interviews / auditions at 3, offers from all 3. I would obviously have visited some if I hadn’t had to interview, but I chose where to apply based on the courses more than anything else so everything else didn’t matter much to me, and you can get a good idea of the environment, accommodation, campus type etc online.