I am a parent who has gone through the university/college cycle twice already, and I couldn’t believe how time consuming it was to research and find open days for colleges or university, almost a job in itself. As a busy working mum, future planning is even more important when it comes to open days as they never take part in the same part of the country, or often the best college or university choices can be miles away. Then there is the issue of open day clashes and more often than not, these open days take place during the week. There were several occasions when we would find out about open days last minute, or worse, have missed out completely. The process of finding out which open days were available and when, often involved visiting and scrolling through each institution’s web pages and spending even more time, locating their open day booking page to book our spaces, assuming we could agree the timing and fit it into our family’s busy calendar, as well as getting time out of work.
We all know how expensive tertiary education is, with the cost of fees alone of up to £9,250 per year; not to mention student accommodation and general living costs on top. Therefore it is more important than ever to attend a university or college open day, to find out more about the institution, the facilities, the course and the faculty on offer, the local area and to meet other students. With fees being so high, and some courses only expecting students to attend 5-10 hours worth of lectures and tutorials a week; even the opportunities to get a job locally are also important considerations for many students when they are researching their tertiary education choices.
In the same way, when it comes to schools, finding out about open days in advance gives you the chance to add this to your work calendar and arrange your meetings or time out of the office around this. Often school open days are arranged for week days and although they do not involve the same logistics as visiting a college or university, being able to plan these in advance gives you the opportunity to make the time to visit the school.
The open day is your opportunity to find out more about the teachers/lecturers, to view the range of facilities, see the quality of work that has been produced and find out about the clubs, sports and activities on offer. Ofsted reports and websites are one resource but they are no replacement for actually seeing the place, meeting current students as well as teachers and senior teaching staff.