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Open Days and Applicant Days, whether they’re in person or virtual, are the best chance for your son or daughter to interact with multiple departments across a University and ‘get a feel’ of a Higher Education Institution. However, they can be busy, they can involve a lot of travelling, and a lot of students (and parents!) can sometimes feel overwhelmed. Here’s our top tips for parents to assist you on the day.


1. Encourage your son or daughter to prepare a couple of questions beforehand.

University staff are very keen for students to ask questions, but sometimes, understandably, shyness takes over.  

On-Campus: Have a chat in the car/bus/train about what your son or daughter really wants to know. With so many potential avenues to explore on an Open Day, having a couple of pre-prepared questions can really help, rather than feeling that you’re put ‘on the spot’.  

Virtual: Virtual Open Days often have a Live Chat or instant messaging function, which may make asking questions easier! Why can’t a student have a question typed out ready on their phone notes or computer, ready to paste into a messaging system?  



2. Give your child, and yourself, a bit of time alone at an Open Day.

Open Days are large events, whether online or in-person. It is understandable that children and parents stick together. However, it can be beneficial to put aside time apart. Maybe your son or daughter can have a 121 conversation with a member of the Students' Union, or with a lecturer? That’s what they’ll be doing at University, so it’s good for them to get that independence.

Additionally, parents should take time to explore themselves. It can be rewarding for a parent to get a cup of something hot and have an extended conversation with a department, such as Student Life and Wellbeing, Sport, Admissions, Study Abroad and Security. Look out to see if there are any sessions directed towards parents. Northumbria University for instance usually runs a Results Day session directed at parents: these sessions can be very useful as they’re more directed at you!



3. Search for images and videos of the University before the Open Day.

Whether on-campus or virtual, universities will make consistent references to their facilities: Northumbria has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in our facilities in the last couple of decades, and we’ll be talking about them.

This is especially useful for a Virtual Open Day – it’s definitely worth looking for images or virtual tours either before or after the event. It will really bring it to life!

If you’re heading to a university in-person it’s more practical. Have a look at the campus map beforehand to get your bearings: even finding a Street View image of the car park/entrance to the University can make life easier for you!



4. Factor in breaks.

There’s a lot of content during in-person and virtual open days. Just as in school and at work, you need to factor in a couple of drinks breaks and a decent lunch break to take in the information. If it’s on-campus, it also gives you a chance to try out the University’s eateries and coffee shops!



5. Encourage your child to speak to current students (if they’re available).

Some of the students working at open days will be in their first or second year at university. They will have been in your child’s shoes only a couple of years ago, and they’ll relate more to your child. It can sometimes also be reassuring for students in sixth form or college to speak to people more their own age and ask about the university experience. If it’s virtual, see if there are current students who you can speak to.

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Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

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