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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. 

Find open day dates from the universities or colleges where you want to study with this open day calendar on our sister site The Student Room


It's pretty standard for students to bring one or both parents, or guardians, to an open day. Fifty-six per cent of parents we spoke to in the The Uni Guide Parents Survey 2019 said they had attended one or more open days with their child.

So don't worry, your dad's jokes probably 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.

Browse more advice and tips for open days


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. Make sure you take in everything on the day and that you're not distracted taking selfies or chatting among yourselves.

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!

We found that many students 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!

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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