Parents going on uni open days?

(251 Posts)
AramintaDeWinter Sat 26-Apr-14 22:19:55

Should we, must we?
On the one hand I want DS to be independent and make his own way to at least some of them, but I'd quite like to take a look myself and glean the information that he may be ignoring (2 different perspectives and all that). Is it normal/the done thing for parents to go?

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Sat 26-Apr-14 22:25:30

You don't have to, but you will find that lots of parents do go. Universities put on special talks for them, the numbers are so great. Given the enormous financial contribution many parents are being asked to make, this does not seem unreasonable to me. My husband and/or I went with each of our children to all the open days they attended. They seemed to find it helpful to have somebody to compare notes with. It was their decision in the end, obviously.

jojojoeyjojo Sat 26-Apr-14 22:25:46

I work at a University and often am involved in open days. It is very rare to see prospective students without their parents......in fact many bring their grandparents too!! It was all very different in my day when my parents wouldn't have dreamed of coming with me and I trawled round the country on my own!

ShatnersBassoon Sat 26-Apr-14 22:29:25

Really?! It wasn't that long ago that I was looking around universities, and I can't remember ever seeing a parent at an open day. I suppose paying fees must have forced more parents to wonder where their cash is going and to want a say in it.

Fishandjam Sat 26-Apr-14 22:30:38

DH is a uni lecturer and says that it's very much the done thing nowadays. Though you don't have to do everything all together; you can attend the welcome talk together but then explore the campus separately, for example.

Smartiepants79 Sat 26-Apr-14 22:33:28

Well I went to uni about 15 yrs ago and my parents came to most of the open days I went to.
The universities did separate parents tours.

Noregretsatall Sat 26-Apr-14 22:34:33

In all honesty, I couldn't imagine not going to see where my dd was going to be spending the next 3 years of her life! P

DS went to one on his own , and didn't want to go there ( I don't think he asked a question or had a good look round )
That was a Uni about 90 mins away
I went with him to the 4 hours way Uni , had a good look around and that's the one he chose .
It was too far for him to go alone (rural Wales to London )

littlegreengloworm Sat 26-Apr-14 22:35:27

Also went to Uni fifteen years ago, my parents didn't go to see it and didn't help financially. They said to me not to become a snob and off you go.

I would go to the open day. I would have loved someone to show an interest.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 26-Apr-14 22:36:02

There weren't any parents at my ds uni open days neither in 2010, it just wasn't done.
I think it makes a difference if parents have financial stake in it though.
If its a local uni the person knows what they want to do and its nothing to do with parents then its different.

somewheresomehow Sat 26-Apr-14 22:40:10

considering unis are charging upwards of nine grand a year wouldn't you want to know what they are offering your child ?
I would like to see unis do more to help graduates get jobs after they finnish

scottishmummy Sat 26-Apr-14 22:41:50

If you do go dont be cringey over bearing harrimphy or red eyed angsters
When i went to uni it'd have been social death fir ma and paw to attend

scottishmummy Sat 26-Apr-14 22:43:45

Its not up ti uni to help grads get jobs after course
If you want a clear route to job,chose a course with clear career path
As opposed to thingymejigg studies.

DoTheStrand Sat 26-Apr-14 22:49:16

My DSSs are both at university and either their mum or dad went with them to all the open days. I was amazed then to find that it was more usual for parents to go than not. When I was looking at universities (v late 80s) no one went with parents, we all just got the train.

AramintaDeWinter Sat 26-Apr-14 22:50:54

I think DH or I will go to a couple this summer at least, and scottishmummy I promise not to be be cringey over bearing harrimphy or red eyed angst's (especially as I don't know what a red eyed angst is) grin
I am very curious about what uni's are offering these days and what we'll be spending our money on - but hate the idea of being a helicopter parent!

CalamitouslyWrong Sat 26-Apr-14 22:52:32

I work at a 'local' university. Our open days etc are as awash with parents as they were when I worked at a much more prestigious, RG university. There are fewer questions from 'daddy' about why he should pay for his precious flower to study our degree though, which is a considerable improvement. Most of the parents (and grandparents) just seem interested in what going to university is like.

When I applied to university, I went to open days (and interviews) on my own, even when they were many hours on a train (with changes) away.

AramintaDeWinter Sat 26-Apr-14 22:54:44

I only went to one in the early 80's - I think in those days they only laid them on for people who had actually applied and then you had to be invited. There was no question of parents coming along. My main source of info then was the alternative prospectuses created by the students - which were actually very useful as a counter-balance to the official prospectus.

AreWeThereYeti Sat 26-Apr-14 22:56:19

I think a bit of both is best. I have three kids at Uni and did a mixture. DS1 went to all open days on his own but I went with him for his interviews. I accompanied DS2 on 3 out of 5 of his visits but I didn't go into any of the talks. With DD1 I went on all her visits and stayed for one of her subject talks. once was enough It depends on the kid and the subject.

I found that it was a good way to spend time with your DC. It's nice to explore new places and to have a day focused on them. My kids were good at researching their subjects so I couldn't ever see any point of going into the 'talks' and after three kids I feel we know enough about ucas/funding to last a lifetime.

Overall, I think its good if they go to the talks and tours on their own but it's ok for parents to drop them off and pick them up.

CalamitouslyWrong Sat 26-Apr-14 22:57:39

I actually decided to go to university without consultation with my parents (of anyone else, really). I applied in 5th year but decided I'd just stay at school and apply again next year , so I turned down all my offers (I don't know why deferring didn't occur to me at the time). Then the new labour government announced they were introducing fees. My exam results were more than good enough so I just phoned a local university through clearing and got myself a place. My mum was on holiday abroad at the time. She came home to find I was going to university after all.

I don't actually remember my mum helping with any of the initial applying either. I don't think she was all that supportive of me going from 5th year (I was 16 when I started university) and certainly not of me going far away. In retrospect, I can fully understand why!

Best1sWest Sat 26-Apr-14 22:59:35

We went to one, DD went to others on her own. Parents were definitely expected although the Uni did put on events that separated parents and prospective student.

StackALee Sat 26-Apr-14 23:00:02

My parents didn't come to mine. I took three long train journeys to northern cities to look at universities. It was a rite of passage and I didn't need m parents there.

UptheChimney Sun 27-Apr-14 07:48:38

It is now inevitable that parents (and indeed whole families) come to Open Days, often as a family day out. Nice I suppose, but it leads to logistics problems.

So if you do go, be prepared (and don't complain, please, I'm begging you) to be asked to step back, and give priority in lecture halls, talks, tours etc to the actual applicants ie your children. Universities now have to put quite a bit of resource -- expensive staff time as well as cash we really don't have -- towards catering for parents & families. I've been in difficult situations where we have been overcrowded with siblings, grandparents etc, so that actual applicants haven't been able to attend sessions.

I can see why parents feel they need to go, but if you do, try not to do the talking for your DC. Stand back, let them ask the questions. By all means listen in, and discuss with them what things they should ask me as a member of the teaching staff. And if there's more information that you both feel that your DC needs, then send your DC back to ask further questions. We really don't mind, but we'd rather talk directly to your DC! They're the ones we'll be teaching, and that is the primary relationship. And I love talking to informed applicants who have specific questions or just want to chat with me about our shared interest in the subject I teach. I give excellent advice, and it's not about selling my particular course -- I will be quite upfront about what we do, and what other similar departments at other places do.

I think where parents can be most useful is to go along to the finance & accommodation talks while your DC does the academic stuff.

Just don't get into that awkward situation where you're asking me the questions about the stuff that your DC will be studying, and I am directing my answers to your DC, because after all, s/he's the one thinking of taking the course!

Please don't ask me why you're paying £9k for 8 hours per week contact time. It shows your ignorance about university study, and a point of view which won't help your DC get the most from university. It just makes you look a bit dickish, to be honest. Apart from anything else, universities have less money under the full fees regime.

Encourage your DC to be proactive, but then stand back. Because that will be the best way to assist your DC to do well at university. Really.

Re the post upthread about Universities doing more to help students after graduating -- they do, they do! It's just that a lot of students don't take up the opportunities offered. For example, once a year, I ask all my personal tutees (I have about 40) to come to a personal tutorial about future plans, and to bring a CV with them so we can have a first look. I get about 10 responses. Horses to water etc etc

sandgrown Sun 27-Apr-14 07:58:05

No kids at uni just now but to settle a family argument why do universities have less money under the current fee system? Was the whole point not to give them more money?

HolidayCriminal Sun 27-Apr-14 08:02:05

Isn't it useful for parents to act as sounding boards, so the applicant can share impressions and notes? Else who do the applicants talk to about their impressions except maybe fellow kids on The Student room? Not the same as someone who saw & heard same things as you at the same time and knows all about your individual background & personality traits.
My parents came to all campus tours with me back in the 1980s (but different country, etc.)

MrsMillions Sun 27-Apr-14 08:04:29

I started uni in 1999, the second year of fees, so was planning/applying just as it was all changing. I went to 3 open days - 1 pre-application, my mum came too but they put on specialist parents' sessions so we split up during the day; the others post-application for which 1 I went alone on the train, the other my mum (and Grandma too actually) travelled with me but left me to it on campus whilst they went into town. It felt a good balance to me - parents got the opportunity to find out more on student finance etc but I was left to find out what I needed to know about course and university to make my decision.

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