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 Post subject: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:20 am
Posts: 330
Any thoughts will be appreciated as we are just starting the University visits with my DS's and wondering - how many Universities did you visit? Did you visit the same Uni more than once? What were the main things you obtained from your visits?


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 2855
Do have a look back at previous threads - you will get a lot of useful input from what has already been posted.

You will get varying opinions on how many, which ones and if parents should go along at all.

These days there is plenty of info available on line - from the official web sites to forum sites and social media to rankings so encourage DCs to research first to avoid wasted trips.

There was a recent thread on factors to consider. Good idea for DCs to list the ones that matter to them. In particular to consider if they want to live in a big city. London in particular is not somewhere everyone can cope with. It may seem an exciting prospect but grotty, expensive accommodation that can be a difficult commute and quite lonely is often the reality.

Some schools/ colleges organise a day at a local Uni. It might not be of interest for application but it's a helpful way of thinking about what factors to be taking into consideration.

Open days are marketing exercises - if the department have a policy of post offer visits/ interviews they will be less hectic.


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:44 am
Posts: 1686
Location: Reading
we have DD's first one next week. We have started early so we can spread them out a bit. There aren't that many offering her course so we are going to try and see most before she submits the application


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 7574
As KB says, do a search and there will be lots of information on here already with lots of different views.

My own opinion is that university open days should be viewed in the same way as one would go to a trade show or exhibition. They are trying to sell something and will show you all their nicest sides and give you lots of freebies to try and get you to buy it. I have one child at university and one about to go and I have been to a total of 4 open days. Horrid occasions in my view with thousands of parents and kids milling about trailing goodie bags. It is my not uncontroversial view that a young person ought to be able to narrow down about 5 potential courses without setting foot into a university campus on an open day. Once these courses are identified, then yes it is worth a visit. Far more valuable are the post-offer days when the numbers are hugely reduced, parents tend to stay away from the 'asking useful questions of the tutors while their children cringe visibly' scenarios and your child has a fighting chance of understanding what they are letting themselves in for.

If your child is applying to university before they have sat their A levels they ought to be applying to 2 aspirational choices, 2 safe ones and one fall back. This list should be easy to draw up pre-visits, with one or two extra perhaps but there really is no need to undertake the Grand Tour and see every single university which offers the course your child is interested in.

One thing: I never cease to be amazed by children rejecting a university because they 'don't like the accommodation'. In my view it is nothing other than stupidity to do this - your child will live in university accommodation for about 30 weeks of their entire life. They may well not get their first choice anyway, so going round on those awful accommodation tours at this stage is in my view an utter waste of time and highly unpleasant to boot. Fine if there are other things you don't like, but for heaven's sake don't not apply somewhere because the halls of residence are horrid.

And finally - at every opportunity I mention my passion for gap years. Neither of mine would be doing the courses they settled on if they had gone straight from school; and we know well into double figures numbers of young people who have dropped out of university having chosen what they believed at the time to be the perfect course. An extra year of maturity is a great thing and dropping out is expensive and traumatic.


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:28 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:25 pm
Posts: 1898
Off to Bristol Tomorrow... probably being dumb but can't find the above mentioned thread, does anyone know what it's called..


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:05 am
Posts: 26
Having had two lads go through this process for very different career trajectories (engineering/architecture vs business/economics/accountancy), I agree wholeheartedly with Amber and KB. With a bit of on-line drudgery it should be possible to narrow the number of universities you visit. However, I want to mention a couple of things that only became apparent as we went through the process.

I Certainty about courses
Clearly, if you have a youngster who has always wanted to do X, has done relevant work experience and has thought long and hard about the sort of career/lifestyle/earnings that will follow, life may be a bit easier. I has one such lad.

I would caution however for those who have such children. My eldest had an about turn very close to uni application deadline once he really thought about these issues. In his case, uni visits were crucial in opening his eyes to the fact that he felt 'I'm not really like these people and I am not going to be happy studying what they are studying'. He was lucky because his initial focus, architecture, which may really require visits during the summer after GCSEs (as some schools of architecture require the production of portfolios, which are best worked on in the AS year, maybe as part of the Art). As a result of the early uni visits he went and got work experience in engineering in his AS summer and through this found what he really wanted to do.

For those who could 'do anything mathsy/ science-like' so aren't necessarily clear about course choice, matters can be more difficult. I had one of those also! Getting dragged along to big brother's open day visits helped get him thinking and made him consider a wider variety of work experience that he might otherwise have chosen. For him, it really rested on work experience (he did 6 slots of these) to clarify matters. Again, 'I feel I do/do not belong here at the uni visits and in the placements' was very important in helping him make decisions.

2 The nitty gritty of courses/differences between apparently f. similar courses often can only be hashed out following targeted conversations with relevant academics at open days
I know UCAS etc advise applicants to look at course module content etc. when trying to decide on courses. ..... and we did try, but some stuff simply isn't on the web. Ultimately, one son needed to choose between courses X and Y at a university and it was only when we grilled a relevant academic about what really was the difference between the two (and we did feel a bit like idiots who couldn't read the course description, by the way) that we got our answer. And that answer was crucial. A core module on course X was optional for course Y in Year 1. However, this module was an absolute pre-requisite for modules in subsequent years of the course X and variants of course Y. That bit was on the web. The bit they left out was that the pressure on places for the year 1 module when taken as an option (rather than core) was huge so it would not be possible to guarantee a place on it as an option. It wasn't clear how people on course Y were selected to take it as an option either. So quizzing people at open days can be very revealing. That also applies to other aspects of the academic/non-academic life in the uni.

Good luck with the visits.


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 5344
Location: Reading
DD is going to the one at Reading uni this weekend. Several reasons.
It’s a break from revision for the final german gcse exams next week. :lol:
It’s 10 mins walk away, so an easy journey.
It’s not really going to be a choice, so it is one she can look at with that mindset and hopefully see past the hard sell.
It will hopefully give her a bit of a benchmark and ideas of things to look for in unis she really is interested in.

She is pretty sure of what she wants to do and has been for over a year or two.


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 15088
Students need to ask about how many lectures they will get - if Science ask about lab sessions etc. There is a HUGE variation. Also consider assessment - mainly exam or coursework? How is group work assessed? [Some unis get students to score each other's input so you don't get people doing nothing and just taking the credit]

For Engineering do look beyond the RG unis as the newer ones have far better [more job related] courses and often offer a Year in industry.

Remember RG is a self-selected club and does NOT guarantee good teaching ...


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 7741
Location: Essex
Tinkers wrote:
DD is going to the one at Reading uni this weekend. Several reasons.
It’s a break from revision for the final german gcse exams next week. :lol:
It’s 10 mins walk away, so an easy journey.
It’s not really going to be a choice, so it is one she can look at with that mindset and hopefully see past the hard sell.
It will hopefully give her a bit of a benchmark and ideas of things to look for in unis she really is interested in.

She is pretty sure of what she wants to do and has been for over a year or two.


LSE- my alma mater, so keen to have a nose round with DD and it's just a normal day trip to London for us. DD enthusiastic about course, neutral re setting, somewhat put off by Admissions talk ('don't bother applying if you don't think you will meet our typical offer, we won't drop it under any circumstances').

Exeter - mini city break for end of half term. DD very enthusiastic about course permutations available, found students, academics and other staff friendly and helpful. Not put off by the terrain being only suitable for mountain goats. DS2 less enthusiastic, so he and I sat on walls and went to the Cinema Museum on the campus. Don't know what it was like on the Saturday, but Friday certainly not frenetic or unpleasant, just tiring.

Reading tomorrow on the way to Bristol on Saturday, then Birmingham and Warwick the next weekend and UEA on July 6th.

Campus Tour at Kent for both her and DS2 booked for the first week of the holidays, one of the few universities she is interested in offering both IR plus French (DD) and Architecture (DS2)

She has already visited KCL, UEA and Birmingham (popped over whilst staying with 3rd year DS1 during Feb half term) for campus tours, which are useful for sifting on 'could I bear to live here?' grounds as you have time to investigate the 'real world' around the university as well.

DS1 visited 7, dropped one happily after the visit (that one was quite a surprise, actually), the other just being pipped by the fifth of the other five. He received five offers and attended all five applicant days, which in themselves reshuffled the order of his preferences.

And yes, I appreciate that this may all have taken more saving up for fares etc than some will be able to manage, but he found it useful and I think DD in her turn is, too.

_________________
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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 Post subject: Re: University Visits.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:32 pm
Posts: 1025
dd1 refused to go to any. She had settled on her choice of career (vet med) and was fully occupied getting the grades and the extremely heavy work experience organised. She went to 3 interviews and one offer holders day. I was a bit surprised but it seemed to make sense as she would be happy with any offer from any UK vet school, and her A level choices meant that there were only 5 anyway. We really don't have time for that sort of thing and felt we had done enough of looking at schools and sixth forms (and helping at open days) over the years to be unimpressed by the shtick.

DD2 is less sure of what course but is getting a visit through a summer school programme with no parental involvement. We'll see if she wants any more.


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