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Who should you take to an open day?

Who's the best person to go to an open day with? Let's weigh up the contenders...

Off to an open day soon? We're weighing up the pros and cons of your possible companions. 


It's pretty standard for students to bring one or both parents, or guardians, to an open day. So don't worry, your dad's jokes won't be the worst on campus (probably).

They know you best and it comes with their job description to have your best interests at heart. And while you're busy asking how popular the union bar is, their practical questioning on things like security on campus or how far you'll need to travel to and from your accommodation will come in handy when you're weighing up your options later on.

If they're going to support you financially at uni, they're probably going to want to be involved in your research in some way (although ultimately you should have the final say on what and where you study).

And while several hours in the car with mum and dad might sound like a nightmare, consider it a free lift there and back.

"I went to all my open days with my mum and I think she was more excited about visiting places I'd possibly end up at than I was!" says The Student Room member super_kawaii.

"My mum came with me to all of the open days and my grandparents tagged along for the ride to three of them, In any case, loads of prospective applicants came with family so it's completely normal. As for being dependent/independent or whatever; when you meet the staff/lecturers/deptarement heads/current students during open days, you take the initiative, be proactive and ask them questions and talk to them yourself – don't have parents speak to them on your behalf," shares nucdev.


If you have an older sibling currently studying at university (or who has recently graduated), they'll have a strong grasp of what to look out for based on their experience; whether that's the number of contact hours through to the abundance, or lack, of union services. They should strike a nice balance between asking about the serious and fun stuff.

Younger brothers and sisters are also welcome at open days. Just keep in mind that these are long days with lots of talks and walking around, which isn't ideal for very young children. 


Now obviously you shouldn't consider a university just because your friend is going there too. But if you're both genuinely interested in the same place, consider turning your open day into a road trip adventure.

It's the perfect opportunity to share some quality time together, especially if you end up in opposite ends of the country next year. 

If you're applying to different courses or have different priorities, avoid compromising just to spare each other's feelings – you don't want to waste the trip. Split up if necessary so you both get what you want from the day.


Nans and grandads can be full of wisdom, too. That said, their way of thinking will probably be very different!

It's not uncommon for students to receive regular financial help from grandparents. If yours will be sending a little something to help you get by each month, it might not be the worst thing to make them feel involved in your uni research. 

Again, open days can be quite taxing, so think carefully about going with grandparents who aren't so sprightly on their feet.

Go alone

If you're not intimidated by visiting a campus for the first time alone, go for it! This might be simpler than trying to work around others' schedules.

If you feel like you've had your ear chewed off about what and where you should study, going alone can give you the space to really form your own opinion on a university.

Plus, initiative and independence are qualities well worth practicing now for once you move to uni. And that's not to say you can't find a buddy when you get there – they might be your first uni friend!

"There's nothing wrong with going to the open day alone, loads of people do it. I did for all of mine. You'll be on your own when you move into halls and start the course, but one of the main reasons of going to university is to meet new people," comments The Student Room member jameswhughes.

"I personally didn't [take anyone to open days] and felt it was a lot easier to make my own judgements without my parents watching over me. I would try it solo its not as hard as you think," says RareNebulas.

Without someone by your side, you do lose a valuable sounding board on the day though. To help, put in some extra time beforehand preparing what you need to ask about.


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