Some of you might be thinking university open days are a waste of time. After all you can do virtual tours now, read all about course content and even snoop round the accommodation online. But experience has taught me that nothing really can help your young student make a more informed decision than going to a few open days and feeling the vibe IRL.
You might also not realise that preparing to choose universities starts sooner than you think. Almost as soon as they burn their blazers and celebrate those Year 11 qualifications it's time to start at least thinking about education beyond sixth form or college EVEN IF they swear they have no intention of going to uni.
Not that a degree is the best thing for many people but I'm a great believer in Plan A, B and possibly C so ask them to humour you and at least think about including it in their further education journey.
Most universities hold a couple of open days at different times of year so you could go to the autumn or winter days when your child has just joined year 12 or equivalent or the summer ones usually in May, June and July as your child nears the end of that year. You could leave it as late as the winter they are in Year 13 but remember UCAS applications close on January 31 of the year of proposed entry generally. Here's a guide to crucial UCAS dates for potential autumn 2024 uni entrants.
My 18 year old was not interested in uni and planned on finding an apprenticeship which we fully supported. But we booked a couple of open days thinking at least we would get to see some new parts of England and if necessary close the book on that idea armed with actual knowledge and experience rather than possibly flawed ideas.
Well, dear reader he was energised and enthused by one particular university and obviously made an impression at their open day because they actually called him and made an offer several grades below what they advertised on their website if he listed them as his first choice. Long story short he starts there later this year.
This anecdote brings me quite neatly to one of the great reasons to attend open days.