Bringing a school group to a university open day: what teachers should expect?
University open days are a brilliant opportunity for your students to find out what a university is like. Lots of students are keen to attend open days and will book themselves onto the events that interest them the most – often attending weekend events with their parents, carers, friends or families.
For lots of students however, it can be difficult to get to open days – families aren’t always available and travel requirements can be prohibitive. It can also be difficult for students to decide which open days to attend, and if they’ve never been to one before, it can be hard to know what to expect, which can be off-putting. University open days are also often held on weekdays which can then interfere with other commitments.
Book open days for school groups:
For these reasons, lots of universities offer teachers and advisers the opportunity to book students onto their open days as groups. It’s usually really easy to make a group booking – most universities will have an open day event page on their website, with an option to book as a group.
There are lots of benefits of making a group booking. You’ll find that universities are often able to offer travel contributions for groups. And it’s likely that you’ll be able to get dropped off really close to the event, at a designated parking or drop-off area.
Here at Teesside, we have a separate registration area for groups at our open days. You’ll find most universities do. This means that when you arrive, you won’t have to queue to enter the event and each member of your group won’t need to sign in individually. This means you can get on with your day quickly.
What teachers should expect when they arrive:
Some universities may offer specific activities for groups at their open days. If not, your group will be free to explore – either as a group or in smaller parties. Some teachers and advisers give their students activities to complete or information to seek throughout the day – others let them get on with their research individually.
As a teacher or adviser you may choose to accompany some or all of your group as they explore the open day. Or you may leave your students to negotiate the event by themselves, arranging a point and time to reconvene. You’ll find that lots of universities will provide a teachers’ lounge at their open days – meaning you and your colleagues have your own space at the event, to work, relax or network with other school staff. You’ll often find lots of resources in the teachers’ area, as well as refreshments if you’re lucky!
It’s a good idea to spend some time discussing university options with your students before deciding whether a group open day booking will work well for you. It’s important that students are engaged and focused on what they want to find out at an open day, before attending one.
A real benefit of taking a group to an open day, is that it makes open days accessible for all of your students. It’s also a great way to show your students that you support their future study options, and that you’re confident in their ability to progress to university if they choose to.