I am a very big fan of open events!
Every year I work with plenty of students who completely change their minds after visiting open
events. I remember a young lady a few years ago who had her heart set on a college but then
came to see me after an open day practically in tears because she really didn’t like it after seeing
it in person.
The other extremely common version is someone just keeping a mate company for an open day
and then ending up really liking it…
What they get from the prospectus or website just isn’t quite the same as going there in person.
What’s so good about in-person events?
College and 6th form open days are a brilliant way to help your teen (and you) work out which
place might suit them best, and the summer term in year 10 is actually a good time to get
There are three main reasons open events are so great for your teen.
- They can find out much more detail about the courses they might want to study and look
around any specialist facilities.
- They get to meet the staff and some students and can ask all their questions in person.
- They can explore the campus and get “a feel” for it and if it’s the right type of place for them.
That gut instinct really is worth a lot!
Even when they think they already know exactly where they want to study, encourage them to
visit at least one or two other colleges, so they can compare!
Getting the “gut instinct”
Seeing a college in person, speaking to the people, walking through the rooms and around the
campus is really the best way to not just get a lot of facts, but also get that “gut instinct”, and
help your teen narrow down their options.
In an ideal scenario, I would suggest visiting at least three local colleges/6th forms, so they can
compare a few options. It may just confirm their original plan, but then they are making an
informed choice rather than “defaulting” to something.
The next step
If your teen is up for it, start looking out for open days in year 10. There are usually some
specifically aimed at year 10s in the summer term and there isn’t so much pressure at that
stage, which helps some teens a lot.
If you can’t make those, or it just feels a little too early for your child, don’t worry. You don’t
want them to get stressed. There will usually be plenty in the autumn term. Check for dates
early though! Some start as early as September and particularly smaller college and 6th forms
may only run one event.
I cannot stress enough how useful open days are! I am forever telling “my” students in years 10
and 11 to go and have a look for themselves, and not just rely on other people’s opinions.
And actually, this applies to us as parents too. So go and check the next dates coming up now.
Your teen might even appreciate the company, or at least the lift. 🙂
And if you would like more tips, inspiration, and free training to help you support your teen with their choices, come and join my free Facebook group for parents here.