Without doubt a university open day is the best way to get a sense of what the place is really like. Universities often hold more than one open day a year, so it’s good to plan in advance which ones you’d like to visit and the best times for you (and your parents, if you need them for a lift!). If you’re making your own way, then make sure you’ve planned the travel arrangements and don’t end up in the wrong part of the country.
There will be lots of things happening on an open day, here are a few tips to help you make the best use of your time…
One of the most important things to do is get information about the degree programme you’re interested in. Depending on how the university organise their day, this may take the form of a talk from a member of academic staff, a stand giving out information and allowing one to one questions, a demonstration of the type of work you’ll be exposed to as a student, or all of these. However the university is organising their day, make sure you get a strong sense of the course they are offering and get any of those niggling questions answered, you won’t regret it.
In addition to subject information, open days will also offer a lot of general info which is worthwhile trying to catch as well. There will be welcome talks giving you information about the university, as well as talks on accommodation, student finance and student life. Take a look at the open day timetable in advance and work out which are the most important talks to you to make sure you don’t miss out on key information. Some universities offer updates on social media about when certain talks are about to start, so follow their accounts to get reminders.
Try and take in as much of the university as you can. Speak to the current students about their experiences, both in general and those on the course you’re interested in. Take a tour of the accommodation and other facilities, like the library and student union. Can you picture yourself studying and living in the environment? If the answer is yes, then it’s probably worth making an application. If the university is part of, or near to, a town or city, it can also be worth having a quick look around the local area (if you have time), to see if it’s a place you’d be comfortable in, do you like an ‘out of town’ campus or a university set in the heart of a city?
Finally, there’s a lot to take in at an open day, make sure you find some time to sit down, grab a bite to eat and reflect on what you’ve found out. Choosing your university is a big decision and you want to make sure you’re in the best place for you … plus you can see how tasty the food is!
This is a guest post written by the digital communications officer at the University of Kent.