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Unofficial Uni tours
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Darbs76 · 11/08/2021 21:21

Hi

Is anyone else planning on taking their DC to visit the cities the Universities are based in that they plan to list, unofficially? Obviously we still don’t know if any official open days will take place but it doesn’t look likely. Really upsetting as I’ve been looking forward to taking my DS to the open days for years now. But I still think it’s important for him to see the city and we might be able to see some of the Uni’s, at least from outside. We are going to see Oxford & Cambridge initially as he will need to make a decision between them earlier and then Warwick, Imperial (that’s commutable to us). He also is thinking of St Andrews but that’s an 8.5hr drive without even factoring in millions of toilet breaks etc. We might have to just research that one. Might suit him as he’s not really interested in the night life as he doesn’t drink, but that could change. He’s still the baby of the year so not even 17 until the weekend.

Any tips, eg any parts of any of those Universities the public can just access? I guess seeing any halls etc will be out of the question but I suppose we could have a look how far away they are etc.

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hellcatspangle · 11/08/2021 21:24

Lots of the Oxbridge colleges are open to tourists anyway (look online first as you might have to book tours)

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Malteser71 · 11/08/2021 21:27

Why can’t they operate open days? I think it’s absolutely disgraceful

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2gorgeousboys · 11/08/2021 21:27

Lots of universities seem to have in person open days scheduled. We've got four or five scheduled over the next couple of months so I wouldn't rule them out. Others that aren't having open days appear to be doing bookable campus tours.

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museumum · 11/08/2021 21:31

St. Andrews is a really unique place. I’d recommend visiting (via train, not driving!)

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Darbs76 · 11/08/2021 21:32

@2gorgeousboys - thanks, will take a look. The ones I looked at said it was online at the moment or will be updated, be great if we can go.

@hellcatspangle - yes just been googling Cambridge and saw that, so least we can see some of the Uni’s, even if from a tourist point of view.

@Malteser71 - hopefully they will, I don’t think they’ve made final decisions, I think it’s impossible to choose a uni without visiting the place. You need to get a feel for it before making choices

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Darbs76 · 11/08/2021 21:34

@museumum - I’m really tempted. It seems to be a late addition to DS’s list, and at the moment he’s saying it would be last, but I do think it might suit him as he’s not interested in a big city with night life etc, he’s either studying or doing sports. Might price up the train, be a nice day out (or even overnight visit) to get us away from these 4 walls

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Siepie · 11/08/2021 21:35

A lot of unis have been running campus tours the last couple of months. The uni where I work has a visit day today for clearing applicants. It's not a full open day, but there are tours by current students (including inside halls) and a chance to speak to staff.

We are working on preparations for open days this autumn, but haven't published dates yet. When open days were cancelled in March 2020 we got complaints from people who had already booked trains/hotels, so we're trying to avoid announcing open days that we may have to cancel.

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Malteser71 · 11/08/2021 21:36

I really feel for our young people. I hope yours all get to make informed choices.

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blindmansbluff · 11/08/2021 21:37

The uni where I work has been showing around people who've just turned up, including the accommodation

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Iknowtheanswer · 11/08/2021 21:41

We're doing the same - going to get a feel for the cities/campuses. Online open data haven't been inspiring and when I looked at the tours, they were all fully booked.

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Lotusmonster · 12/08/2021 06:41

Yep, just go! Nothing stopping you. We did. Was well worth it.

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lannistunut · 12/08/2021 06:55

@Malteser71

Why can’t they operate open days? I think it’s absolutely disgraceful

Have you not heard that covid is quite infectious Confused
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CherryMaple · 12/08/2021 07:00

Birmingham, Nottingham, Loughborough and other Universities have had in person campus tours.

The others, we have been to look ourselves - really useful to get the feel of the place, and has definitely helped DD rule out some places. The virtual open days don’t seem that useful beyond getting a limited impression of the department.

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beenrumbled · 12/08/2021 07:43

We have been doing this! It has given DD a better idea of the universities and cities that she is serious about. Helped her narrow down her choices really.

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Darbs76 · 12/08/2021 07:51

Thanks all. I think we will just turn up and ask about accommodation, never know they might be able to show us a room. Be good just to get a feel for the places though, as it’s too difficult to make a choice through online tours. I’m really looking forward to it and now considering a trip to Scotland as it will be a nice little trip anyway and we will go via train I think!

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Charley50 · 12/08/2021 07:57

Thanks for this thread; I've been wondering this.
Is your DC applying for maths?

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macshoto · 12/08/2021 08:39

Not that I'm recommending this approach, but I had St Andrews as my second choice (failed to get grades for Cambridge and didn't get an offer from Durham) and ended up in St Andrews sight unseen (and a long way from home in East Anglia).

As long as your son is someone who will get involved in student life, whether that be sport, music, drama, societies, etc. then I would highly recommend St Andrews as a university for someone who's not seeking the 'big city experience'.

It is a unique little town - the university makes a big proportion of the population - with lots of history and traditions - and seeing it probably is something you should do. It is marmite - most people who go there love it, but a small proportion do find it too small and too far.

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VikingNorthUtsire · 12/08/2021 08:54

Yes, definitely. Most places you can at least show up and wander round outside. We've also booked a campus tour at our local uni, even though DS has ruled it out, just because they're doing them in person and he can see inside the halls etc - useful context.

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Dilbertian · 12/08/2021 09:56

Dd finished Y13 this year. The only open days were virtual.

She used the following criteria to select her uni choices:

  1. Course content.
  2. Distance from home (not too far, but also not too close!)
  3. A uni that was well-located within the city, not at a distance from it, nor widely sprawled within it, and with good access to all amenities.

    Only after she had narrowed down by these priorities, did she look at accommodation and societies etc.
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ClerkMaxwell · 12/08/2021 12:19

I might wait until the students are back as that can make a difference to the feel of a place. I know you need to make a decision early for Oxford/Cambridge but you have until January for the others. I suspect there will be less early offers from the competitive unis plus they are meant to give same consideration to all applicants byJan date.

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chesirecat99 · 12/08/2021 17:45

I think Imperial is taking part in the Great Exhibition Road Festival in October and doing weekly campus tours, if not open days:

www.imperial.ac.uk/study/ug/visit/campus-tours/

www.greatexhibitionroadfestival.co.uk/

The festival has exhibitions and lectures from all the departments, as well as more populist events and kids activities.

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Newgirls · 12/08/2021 18:02

I wouldn’t worry too much about what accom looks like. Modern new blocks are pretty much the same on most campuses. Worry about that when your teen has pinned down a uni.

St. Andrews is do-able by train. It’s an hour from Edinburgh by car or get the train to Leuchars and get a taxi. It’s a magical place. Like a mini Cambridge with beaches. But I would put it down and only worry about visiting if they get an offer as it’s tiny and quite hard to get in.

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wavescalmingsea · 13/08/2021 10:51

I remember doing a big chart with DS to help him make up his mind which universities to apply for - graded them all out of ten on all sorts from course content/ ease of transport home/cost of accommodation/room sizes/anything else that's relevant and created a league table (it was quite an effective approach)

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Etulosba · 13/08/2021 11:15

Warwick is an easy one to look around, although you won’t be able to get in to any of the buildings where teaching takes place. It will be a bit quiet at the moment as the undergrad students are away.

If approach the school or department directly, you may be able to arrange a tour. It wasn’t unusual before covid. Now, who knows?

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Seeline · 13/08/2021 11:21

We've been doing this over the summer in case open days don't happen. We had an official campus tour at Kent, but still couldn't go inside anywhere. We've just turned up at UEA, Birmingham and Nottingham and have been able to wander freely. Again not inside or been able to talk to academic staff which is the real plus of open days. It has helped get a real feel for a place though
Obviously, non campus unis you can just wander around the town/city in which they are based.
Several unis have self guided tour details on their websites.

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