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How many open days?
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Horsemad · 26/05/2014 09:07

DS1 has selected 11, ELEVEN! open days. How many did yours/are yours going to?

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eatyourveg · 26/05/2014 09:36

5 of which 2 got dismissed following visits. 11 seems excessive imo. I think if ds had come up with 11, I would have encouraged him to go back to his criteria regarding what he considered was important. eg

campus/city,
near home/away from home but within easy reach/as far away as possible/abroad, (Dublin has no fees and EU are often minimal)
overall reputation/reputation for chosen subject,
unistats for the particular course ie contact hours, coursework v exams, employment prospects
accommodation costs/availability of halls,
course content/year abroad/year in industry
etc etc

Weight each criteria and he should be able to whittle it down to something more manageable. I'd say 5 minimum and maybe 2 others but I think you'll find most only do the ones they are considering putting on the ucas form

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Horsemad · 26/05/2014 09:53

I suggested 7 and choose 5 from those. I don't think he has a criteria as such, from what I can see the course is the same at each uni, so it's just deciding which has the best 'feel'.

He's selected St Andrews because he 'likes their website best' Shock

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Petrasmumma · 26/05/2014 10:19

Eleven? Gosh, it's going to cost you rather a lot unless they are nearby. Surely he could narrow his initial list a little by comparing ranking, entry reqs and course content?

They change so fast at that age, a little experience can be useful to help them refocus more tightly. Perhaps take him to an open day and let it all sink in before asking him to revisit his list?

DD slashed her initial list of ten quite easily after open day number 1. I think it's easy to get sucked into the fantasy created by beautiful photography in the prospectuses before you start really looking at the practicalities and feel of a city in person.

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creamteas · 26/05/2014 11:00

I wouldn't really worry about the number, but the practicalities of visiting

Many universities have self-guided tour options, and whilst you don't get the full marketing pitch, you can still get a feel for the campus. You can use these to do more than one visit in a day.

Obviously it depends of what you are studying and predicted grades, but in the Midlands it would be perfectly feasible to visit 2 (or even maybe 3!) of the areas universities (eg Aston, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwick are within 25 miles radius, and Leicester and Nottingham are not that much further out).

Do you have a local university? If so and they have a early date, it is sometimes useful to visit and get a feel for what open days are like, even if you are not going to apply there. It can help rule otehr places in or out.

I would also strongly suggest attending a regional UCAS fair. Most universities attend these and you can get lots of good infomation in one go.

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snoofle · 26/05/2014 11:10

One of mine selected 5, and that was enough as we were not local to any of them.

Surprisingly, when we went to visit, even though it was a sort of course held in all sorts of places, the subject content in each was a bit biased towards individual lecturers prefences.

It can be tricky.

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boys3 · 26/05/2014 15:02

DS1 went to only 4 - although two of these (now firmed and insured) he visited more than once.

Interestingly he really took against campus universities (far too many trees apparently??????).

11 does seem an awful lot to be considering. DS found it useful to get into the really detailed module descriptions and options from the main course links on each Uni websites which soon showed that courses that superficially seemed very similar, if not identical, really did have some very significant differences in terms of options and what he could, or could not, potentially mix and match. That helped him rule out a number straight off.

Open Days could be viewed cyncially as little more than sale's pitches, and with their timing usually being such that most of the actual students are not there can give a very artifical feel. One of the most useful parts though DS found was admission tutors detailing what they really valued, and equally what would lead straight to the reject pile, in personal statements. More so as what they said often completely contradicted was not wholly aligned with the standard spiel on the uni website.

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Horsemad · 26/05/2014 15:23

Yes, I'm sure we'll be exhausted after just a couple! Unfortunately, DH is all for going to them all - I'll leave them to it!

I think DS thinks it's a bit of a jolly with a stopover in some instances.

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yourlittlesecret · 26/05/2014 16:42

DS went to 5 and had visited 3 others before on trips. I wish he had done more because he ended up making 3 of his five choices just because he'd been on open days and not because he loved them.

Don't forget though, that there is a second chance to visit in the spring once you have offers to choose from.

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BlackandGold · 27/05/2014 09:30

DS went to 2 with us, 1 with school and 2 with a friend.

He put 3 of the above on his UCAS form, visited a fourth one post offer but decided to go to the one that he'd wandered round with a friend and is thoroughly enjoying it.

He also decided against a Campus university after visiting L'boro!

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Horsemad · 27/05/2014 11:44

Thanks all.

He's hoping to attend Liverpool & Manchester open days, they're the same weekend so will stopover and do them both.

Most others will be day trips I hope.

Did you as parents find it a useful experience?

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Petrasmumma · 27/05/2014 11:52

Do you mean useful for accompanying parents or useful to visit before application full stop?

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Horsemad · 27/05/2014 12:03

Useful for accompanying parents.

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BackforGood · 27/05/2014 12:16

ds went to 4 (well, plus the 2 local ones invited them to things, via school).
11 seems really excessive (plus time consuming and expensive).
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the couple I took ds to (dh did the other 2 with him) but we do have the rest of our lives going on as well.

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Horsemad · 27/05/2014 12:31

I know what you mean Back! Unfortunately, DH is one of those parents who is totally immersed in the whole uni culture Hmm

I won't be doing 11, that's for sure!!

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Petrasmumma · 27/05/2014 13:11

Sure, for my peace of mind. I wanted to see if anything had changed for a start and be satisfied that DD had a full grasp of the things she needed to consider on the ground, before stepping off for future open days.

I think the univs are aware that many parents are unable to accompany their children: this year, Edinburgh Univ gave a series of parent information presentations around the country for those who'd been made offers. As DH had been unable to get away from work when we went for a visit, he was delighted they essentially came to us instead.

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HercShipwright · 28/05/2014 06:59

DD will be applying through both CUKAS and UCAS. So I suspect she will go to A LOT. :( Which will be well expensive given that we live in the arse end of nowhere.

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BeckAndCall · 28/05/2014 07:12

We've done way more than 11 , but that's across three DC! For DC2 and 3 there was at least some memory of those we saw the first time around.

If you've got enough time, OP, you'll find you can fit in quite a few in 'drive bys' for first impressions. For instance, Nottingham is just off the M1 on the way to anywhere; go to York on the way to Durham; see Warwick on the way to Birmingham. You can do Cardiff and Bristol in one day. That kind of thing.

And if London is involved, you can fit in two proper open days at once ( if they're scheduled at the same time) - or one open day and one drop in.

In answer to the question, are they useful for parents? For me, yes, always. It depends how involved you are or want to be in his decisions and about half of people on here will say "it's all up to him' and the other half will say ' I've helped him make every big life decision so far, so of course I'll be involved in this one'.

For us, once you've got passed the course content and the entry requirements and is that the right 'fit' for you, much of the rest of it is on 'feel' so actually going with him is very helpful.

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hellsbells99 · 29/05/2014 14:14

I think DD1 has 8 booked. Most I will go to with her (as her taxi!) and a couple she is going on the train to with friends. I am also taking DD2 to a couple of others (year 11 - different courses) so she can get a feel to see what she wants to do. I did this with DD1 last year and it helped her choose what she wanted to do and motivated her for 6th form.

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Horsemad · 29/05/2014 16:16

He's added another 2 to the list now!! Grin

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MrsBartlet · 29/05/2014 19:54

Will you be able to do all of the visits at weekends? Dd's school have set a limit of how much time they can take out of school. We are allowed 2 visits this term an 2 in the autumn term, so that it doesn't interfere too much with the start of A2s.

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Horsemad · 29/05/2014 20:29

I haven't seen anything in school notes about how many they can have time off for. Will check that.

Luckily the majority are Saturdays and are do-able in a day.

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snoofle · 30/05/2014 07:38

I found them useful as I was a newbie to all of it and so was he.

After we had been to a few, we realised that the course content was the most important thing for us, and whether then we thought that he would gel with the specific lecturers Blush

All worked brilliantly though. He ended up doing a Masters there too. [now doing a PhD elsewhere [different country]

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Delphiniumsblue · 30/05/2014 19:21

I would get him to do a bit more homework on them now and narrow it down a bit.

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MillyMollyMama · 30/05/2014 21:58

We never met any lecturers who taught my DD. This is a bonus if it actually happens. I don't think driving by is worth anything because you cannot get much of a feel for the city, the campus, it's students or its facilities or housing. We went to 5 for DD1 but only 3 were open days, the others were private visits. Her school only allowed 3 weekday visits. We did the private visits in the holidays. Other DD visited 3 and they were weekend ones. I would add that you need to know what sort of university will suit and what type of experience you want from a university. Most people know if they have a campus or city preference for example. Just aim for the best for the subject that he can realistically get into in a place he wants to live in and that caters for people with his interests. St Andrews is difficult for English students to get into and is very much dinner party oriented as it is not clubbing Central! Would this suit? This is the sort of discussion you need to have, not looking at pictures on a web site.

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Horsemad · 30/05/2014 23:02

Thanks Milly, I'm trying to get him to think about these things but he's very hard to pin down. I'm not sure if it's laziness (quite likely) or if he doesn't realise that there are timescales and the earlier the research is done the better.

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