A Parent’s Guide to University Open Days

After recently taking my daughter to her first University open day I thought it may help parents to share my experiences.

  1. Although open days are not obligatory or even always necessary, but they are really useful in finding out where the main campus is in relation to the town, if it is miles away from anywhere, what the transport links are like and even what it’s like on a cold wet day (as opposed to the sunny days in all the prospectuses).
  2. Book in advance. Most Universities require you to book in advance. You can find out when they are held on http://www.opendays.com/ and there are usually links to the university websites.
  3. Many universities have a weekday and a Saturday open day, find a balance between these as there is no point in visiting loads of universities and then missing school and not getting the grades to get in.
  4. Most universities offer talks from the faculty and taster lectures. The Faculty talks are excellent and can give a real insight into the courses, not just in the first year but for the whole course duration. You need to have a good idea of what courses you may want to study as there is limited time on the day.
  5. Universities are rated in a number of ways and you can find out about these on websites like http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings?s=history . Look for a balance as there is no point your child’s second choice requiring higher A Level results than their first choice.
  6. UCAS offer a very helpful regular parents email so that parents can understand the process of applying to university. http://web.ucas.com/parents-signup
  7. Don’t be frightened to let your child visit by themselves. This is part of the process and it can be really valuable for them to plan their train or bus journey and travel by themselves.
  8. Finally spread the open days out. Year 12 students can go and visit on Saturday’s in June and July after their AS exams.  This can be really helpful as the deadline for UCAS applications can creep up very quickly after September in Year 13 and it helps if they have a strong idea of where they want to go and what courses they want.
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