Uni entry 2021 - are you visiting and are we late?!

(24 Posts)
OuiOuiMonAmi Wed 07-Oct-20 08:10:16

DD wants to go to uni next year - she knows what she wants to do (roughly, may need a few tweaks) but she doesn't know where yet. She's working on her personal statement but hasn't done much research and we haven't visited anywhere. She assures me that she's on course to apply in time but I'm not convinced. Has everyone else got further than this yet? I know the application deadline is a way off yet but I'm concerned that she should know more about where she wants to go by this stage?

Also, what are you doing about visiting unis? With many of them being online open days, are you visiting the towns and/or campuses anyway?

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Revengeofthepangolins Wed 07-Oct-20 11:09:47

We have totally given up on visiting (I say we because I know that even in normal times there would have been a bit of hauling DS off into the car to do it).
Just brochures and online open days.
Back to the old days - when I was applying visiting really wasn't a thing.

Hopefully there will opportunities/time to do offer holders' days to check that child in question does actually want to spend three years in Scotland/the frozen north/a big city etc

Baaaahhhhh Wed 07-Oct-20 13:45:52

We have only done on-line, and not all of those either! DD focused more on the detail of the courses offered at each uni. She cut out a lot from a long list, just by looking at what they focused on, and what she was particularly interested in. She also focussed on Southern Uni's, but not Londond, just a personal choice, so that limited it too. In the end she got a good range, with a couple of favourites.

As Revenge says, we are hoping for offer holder days early next year, and then can make a final decision.

Pythonesque Wed 07-Oct-20 14:02:54

My daughter went to a couple of open days the summer after GCSEs, which was a useful start that helped her understand why we all assumed she would want to go to university... This year it's been all about virtual info and researching online. She's settled on whicih universities to put on her form and I've promised her we will do whatever it takes to get to offer holder days so she can actually see the places to make a final choice, assuming she has one at that point! Fingers crossed those should be able to run ...

MarchingFrogs Wed 07-Oct-20 17:10:22

Hopefully there will opportunities/time to do offer holders' days to check that child in question does actually want to spend three years in Scotland/the frozen north/a big city etc

A bit of an issue if they find that they don't fancy any of those in the flesh, so to speak, and three of their five slots were occupied by St Andrews, Durham and UCL... DD had already visited LSE and KCL before a Bristol open day brought it home to her that she wanted a proper campus, just not Reading, which we went to on the way to Bristol. On paper, either or both of them might have gone on her UCAS form.

DS2 has done real two open days of his own (Leeds and UEA), but has also benefited (not necessarily how he saw it when we set off for the station) from being dragged along to a few places with DD (KCL, Exeter, Sussex and UEA: a No, Definitely not, Yes and Straight to top of list, respectively) and a well, we might as well pop in while we're here with me (a visit to the House of Illustration skilfully combined with Central St Martins, back when he was intending to do Architecture, but at least he knows vaguely where the Courtauld is hanging out for a couple of years; a No in .both cases). He has also visited Birmingham informally; DS1 graduated in 2018 and DD is currently in her second year there (Yes).

Leicester course = no
York: course and campus = yes
Bristol: no
Kent: course and campus = yes, in-person campus tour booked for half term
Warwick - open day and engagement with online History of Art sessions over the past few months: yes, but currently in sixth position.

BackforGood Wed 07-Oct-20 23:29:56

It is quite late, yes.
The application doesn't have to be in, until January, but, once the pupil finishes their part, the school still have their part to do. lot of schools like them all complete by this half term if possible.

I agree with Marching Frogs - It is important that the student likes the place, as well as liking the course. I totally sympathise that current applicants can't do 'normal' open days, but there is something to be said for physically going to a university if it is a reasonable option for you. Sometimes they need to physically be there to know if a campus outside a town is right or totally wrong for them. If a big City is a must or if it is really off putting, etc etc.
Without knowing your circumstances in terms of if you drive / can afford travel / have some time off / are close enough to realistically visit places, it is difficult to say, but it is is a real possibility, then I would definitely go and see some in person if you can.

I ad a look at a 'virtual tour' of a University I know quite wel, and it was very strange and I don't think gave me the impression of the university I know. I mean, they are doing what they can, but If I am going to move somewhere for 3 years of more, I'd like to know I've got a good vibe about it.

All that said, students go through clearing every year and end up loving their Universities so, what do I know ?

MarchingFrogs Thu 08-Oct-20 00:28:30

DS1 has gone off to do a taught masters at a university in a city he had never been to (Bristol), but to be fair, the course is only offered in a couple of places, so it was a bit 'like it or lump it's. Fortunately, so far he likes it (I reckoned it was a good bet for him), but he is good at getting out and exploring and the part he is living on is well provided with places to get out into for a good walk.


clary Thu 08-Oct-20 00:39:49

ds2 is in yr 13 and he did his own research to pick out five key places, he then did online open days.

We then went to have a look round three of them (spent to city, looked at campus - obv no talk or tours). We were also lucky to hear by chance of a very small low key talk and tour at one of his choices (you had to book, it was not advertised very much!) which was really good.

Originally we had actual open days for all these places on the calendar planned in - I think open day dates for summer/ September were announced in Feb or so. So Altho these were cancelled, it was on my radar, hence virtual days and visits.

Application deadline is Jan but DS's school ask them to do it by end out. Dd did that two years ago and had all her offers well before Christmas.

She need to get a move on basically. One way is to look at how far away (so dd wanted to be within an easyish two hour train ride which got rid of Scotland, West Country, south east and north east) and also wanted a campus. Ds not so bothered about distance but wants good sporting offer. Can she look at it in that way if there is not much to choose between courses (there often isnt)?

ComplexNeeds Thu 08-Oct-20 10:53:21

Has she got her predicted grades in? There’s no point traipsing around Durham and the likes unless she’s got the right grades.

IKEA888 Thu 08-Oct-20 11:03:07

we did some open days last year but this year we've done some weekend looking ourselves at places to get a feel.and doing online open days.

cologne4711 Thu 08-Oct-20 11:58:23

DS is applying to places he's been to, and in the case of Glasgow, just fancies the sound of (we've been there, but he was tiny at the time, however I think it would be a great place to live but it's a long way from us). He's currently also considering Exeter, Southampton, Warwick and York which are campus unis but in the case of Exeter and York very close to the centre.

OuiOuiMonAmi Thu 08-Oct-20 20:45:25

Thanks everyone. As I suspected then sad Yes, she has predicted grades, btw. I'll have to get her to crack on then.

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NotDonna Thu 08-Oct-20 20:57:31

Yes get her to crack on but also not to rush as there’s lots of decisions to be made. My DD has changed her mind a few times as more investigation is done. Make sure she looks at the actual modules and doesn’t assume that a subject code (eg L100) at one university means it’s the same course at another university. It’s often a bit different. A recent mistake my DD (and I) made. Happy hunting!

123456abcd Thu 08-Oct-20 21:03:01

Visiting the city/town is (in my opinion) far more important than Open Days. If you're going to live somewhere for 3-4 years it's essential that you actually like place! Can you manage a trip to a couple of places at Half Term (Covid allowing)?

MarchingFrogs Thu 08-Oct-20 22:06:54

If you're going to live somewhere for 3-4 years it's essential that you actually like place!

@123456abcd, that may seem blindingly obvious to you (and mesmile), but seriously, I do wonder whether it is actually a matter of general consideration. Fair enough, if University X on the outskirts of the most boring and inhospitable place on the planet is the only institution offering the course of one's dreams, but spurning University Y in or near somewhere full of places to while away one's spare time happily for University X for an identical course in a subject offered at every university from Exeter to Aberdeen, just because University X came two places higher in last year's Sagger Makers and Bottom Knockers HE Bible or whatever smacks of masochism...

whiteroseredrose Thu 08-Oct-20 22:21:45

I'm not sure that liking the town or city is as important as the feel of the University itself.

Students often stick together and go to places on student nights.

Maybe attend online open days then have a look around the studenty bits?

OuiOuiMonAmi Thu 08-Oct-20 22:54:28

Yes, we had planned o have a bit of a jaunt at half term. why does she want to go so bloody far away though! I don't want to spend half term traipsing the length and breadth of the country!!

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Johnathonripples Thu 08-Oct-20 23:43:56

We went to a few uni open days in the summer after gcses. This summer we visited a few cities and (closed )uni campuses. The rest has been all virtual. Dc says everyone is at different stages of application at school but will all get there in time. School seem to have a clear idea of where everyone is at

OuiOuiMonAmi Fri 09-Oct-20 12:00:02

JonathonRipples, ace username grin Love that book!

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paprikasausage Fri 09-Oct-20 12:15:34

DD went to a few. Dismissed one based on town size, one based on hills, one based on academic reputation, and one based on social reputation.

Ended up at the one she dismissed on town size after realising it has a more flexible course, a better academic reputation and that she wasn't exactly 'moving to a town' but 'moving to be a student doing studenty things with studenty people'. So far so good

MarchingFrogs Fri 09-Oct-20 13:29:53

I encourage our DC not to see themselves as other, except in the sense that they have academic work to do which is specifically linked to the university they attend. But especially now that a) she is living with friends on a normal house on a normal street and b) that there really isn't a huge amount to do in the way of on-campus 'studenty' extracurricular activities, I am jolly glad that DD is both somewhere with as much as anywhere available for any of its residents, even students to do and that she has the gumption to go and look for it. Rather than sit at home, moaning how boring life is, because there is no on-campus swimming / SU disco / Romanian Drinking Club (yes, there was such a thing last year. At least, I think it was Romanian. Not that it mattered, as it was a very inclusive activity, by all accounts) on due to Covid 19.

CamillasHardHat Fri 09-Oct-20 13:52:09

Ds managed to get to 2 uni open days before March. The others he has just watched a lot of student videos on them, tours of campus, looked at maps, read student guides to them.

I know you keep saying that she has plenty of time and it will vary by college, Ds is early entry so he had to be completely finished by 1st October.

The 15th January deadline UCAS is actually 31st October for college though. They are doing all their personal statements now to get them done and out the way.

The next open day for Durham, I believe, is in June so completely too late for 2021 as they will have decided by the end of May. So frustrating. We were planning to look round towns in Easter then Covid happened. sad

NotDonna Fri 09-Oct-20 14:48:17


DD went to a few. Dismissed one based on town size, one based on hills, one based on academic reputation, and one based on social reputation.

Ended up at the one she dismissed on town size after realising it has a more flexible course, a better academic reputation and that she wasn't exactly 'moving to a town' but 'moving to be a student doing studenty things with studenty people'. So far so good

This has made me giggle!! It’s like going around all the shops but in the end buying the first dress. It’s good to analyse all the choices!

BackforGood Fri 09-Oct-20 15:33:08

I actually think it is a bit like that @NotDonna
I took each of my 3 to the first university each of them looked at - without having done it before, it is a bit difficult for them to know what they are looking for, or looking to avoid. I found the second one for each of them felt like a much more productive visit, in that they then ad two to compare against each other. To that end, I wonder if it might even be worth looking at your most local one to begin with, and it gives 'something' to compare with when you see one you potentially do want to go to.
It is like doing anything for the first time - if it is all completely new to you, you don't know what it is you are supposed to be looking for.

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