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Take a very good look before next big step

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: October 04, 2012

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ATTENDING a sixth form open day gives parents and students the opportunity to find out everything about the institution – from the subjects on offer to extra-curricular activities, and personal tuition to clubs.

It can be an overwhelming day and sometimes key questions can be missed, so we have put together a guide to getting as much out of the day as possible.

Aside from the obvious questions about the curriculum and previous results, it is important to try to find out what attending students think of the sixth form.

This way you will have a truly honest impression of what it is like to study there, and perhaps learn some things that the prospectus does not mention.

For example, questions about the atmosphere of the sixth form can tell you plenty about how students feel about attending.

Asking about clubs and form trips will tell you a lot about what kind of a place the sixth form would be like to attend.

Something important to look out for is how attending students interact with staff members.

Are the staff members friendly or authoritative towards them?

Do they introduce you?

Do they, more to the point, allow you to ask them questions?

On some open days, visiting prospective students can speak with the teachers and this is a great way to find out about the history of the institution and all those statistics, such as gender ratios, class sizes, and how many teachers there are.

This is especially important if it is a boarding institution, as parents will want to know who would be looking after their children.

Lastly, and this is particularly crucial, it is important as you walk around to take in the general appearance of the sixth form.

Look at the condition of the walls, the floors, desks and boards, as the condition of them may give you an idea of the sixth form's financial situation.

It is so important that students and parents feel as informed as possible before making a decision on which sixth form to attend.

While there, students will be studying for some of the most important qualifications of their lives to date, so it is imperative they attend somewhere that they feel completely comfortable in.

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