How to Help Your Child Make the Most of a University Open Day

Open days are when universities open their doors to prospective students to give them a taste of what it’s like to live and study there. A university open day will usually involve accommodation and facility tours, talks about courses and the opportunity to meet current students and staff.

Attending an open day is a great way for your child to get to know a university and decide whether they want to apply there. But they’ll find that they only get out as much as they put in – if they don’t go prepared with an idea of the talks and tours they want to attend and the things they want to know then they might not find it all that useful.

If you want to help your child avoid a wasted visit and make the most of a university open day, here are 5 things to try.

1. Help them get there

For your child to benefit from a university open day, they’ll need to get there first. Offer to drive them if you can or pay for their train ticket. Or if you can’t help financially, you can still give them a hand with finding the best tickets and booking them.

If your child has friends who are interested in similar universities, it might be worth organising lift shares so they all get a chance to go.

2. Do your own research

It’s important for your child to look into the university they’re visiting themselves – after all, they’re the one who might end up studying there.
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But while you should encourage your child to research a university’s courses and facilities, plus important things to find out at the open day, it’s a good idea to do some yourself too. That way if your child’s forgotten to find out something for the open day you might be able to help, and you might find the information useful too.

3. Help them make a day plan

University open days often have lots going on, with usually more talks and tours than it’s possible to attend. To help your child make sure that they get to all the events that they’re interested in, sit down with them and help them put together a plan for the day. Remember that this should predominantly feature things that they want to go to rather than events you think they should attend.

4. Take notes

With so much information available on courses, accommodation, facilities and finance, it can be easy for both you and your child to get overwhelmed at a university open day. If you attend open days with your child, you can help them by taking notes and collecting leaflets and handouts. That way you’ll have a record of key details that you can both refer to afterwards.

5. Give them space

You’ve probably got used to guiding your child through life decisions as they’ve grown up and it can be really hard to stop. But if you go with them, it’s important to give your child space when they’re at a university open day. Ultimately, if they choose to live and study there it’ll be without you, so they might need time to explore for themselves and work out if it’s right for them. Lots of universities put on talks for parents as well as students on open days – attending one of these while your child does something else could be a great way to give them the space they need.

Trying some or all of these 5 things should help you help your child make the most of any university open days they decide to attend. Whatever you do, just try to be constructive and make your child feel supported in their search for the right university.

Need more advice? Take a look at our article on how to help your child find the best university courses.