How to cope with your embarrassing parents at open days

Stomach-churning, ground-opening, hide-in-your-hoodie embarrassment; parents have a knack of just saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But when it comes to researching universities, you could find your parents’ or carers’ superpowers in being annoying could be the secret weapon you need to win at open days.

If you’re thinking about visiting our next open days, Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October 2019, here are our top tips for turning your parents’ everyday embarrassing behaviours into open day superpowers:

They remember EVERYTHING

Their elephant-sized memory bank is not so good when they’re chasing you about that chore you promised to do months ago, but it’s perfect for remembering the minute details of every talk, presentation and conversation you have at an open day.

It can be a busy, information-packed day, maybe even overwhelming, so taking your own notes and having someone else listening too will prove useful once you’re back home and reflecting on your experience.

They talk to anyone

Open days are all about talking to people and getting the inside scoop. Easy, right? Nope.

If you would describe yourself as shy, socially anxious, or an introvert, you might find the support of a more confident older person is just what you need. There’s nothing wrong with letting them take the lead in asking the lecturers, student ambassadors and support staff any questions you might have.

If you get energized by meeting and chatting with new people and don’t need anyone else to get things started for you, then use your grown-ups as your wing person. They’ll have your back asking the questions you don’t think of, like you might want to make sure the halls are in Deliveroo area while your Dad will be asking how far you’ll have to carry your big shop home from the nearest supermarket.

They give away too much personal information

We’ve all had that cringe moment when a member of your household publicly announces something about your past that you’d thought you’d long left behind: your imaginary friend, the wall full of posters from the [best] worst band ever, or that time you called the teacher mum!

The temptation to do the same at open day will be strong for them, but just go with it, after all, they are amongst the people who know you best and if they can give an advisor a deeper insight into your personality, likes, and strengths you’re in a better place to find your perfect course.

They treat you like their baby

Being treated like a child opposed to the young adult you are might not fly so well at home when you are trying to organize your social life, but trust us, that over-protective streak will be your best friend at an open day.

Finding out about the safety and security of the campus, the nearest health centre, and how easy it is to access support services, like disability advice, counselling, and finance, might not be top of your list in what you’re looking for at a university, but knowing that you’ll be well looked after in the good and bad times will be at the top of your parents’ or guardians’. When it comes to writing your pros and cons list for your top five universities, thinking about these extra services will really help you identify which one stands out for caring for its students.

They want to hang out with you

Every open day is filled with hopeful students and at Bradford they usually come with an average of four guests. In most cases these guests are the visitor’s immediate family (whatever that looks like for you), so the staff and students who you’ll meet at an open day are well used to dealing with parents and all their ‘superpowers’.

Your nightmares may well be filled will all the things they’ll do to cause maximum embarrassment, but you really shouldn’t worry – we’ve probably seen it (and worse) five times already that day.

And one last thing about parents…

…remember to give them a hug and say thanks. You can’t knock them for giving up their day to help you make one of the biggest decisions of your life.

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