University open days are one of the best ways to ensure that you’re making the right decision and apply for universities that really suit you, both academically and on a personal level.
When you’re trying to decide where to go it’s easy to bamboozled by glossy brochures and expensive websites, but just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a university by its marketing materials.
An open day allows you to get to know a university, explore your potential new home, and talk to current students and staff about their experience.
Here’s more about what to expect when you attend a university open day:
Universities don’t just leave you to your own devices, although many allow time for you to look around at your own pace, they’ll have a full itinerary of activities planned to help you make the most of the day.
The day usually includes tours of the campus – academic, leisure, and accommodation facilities, sample lectures, talks about finance and other important topics, and meet and greet sessions.
Refreshments and lunch are usually provided by the university and this gives you a chance to mingle with other candidates, current students, and staff in a more informal way.
Prepare a list of any questions you have before you go and don’t be afraid to start conversations. No question is stupid and staff and students are there to give you the answers you need to help you make the right choice.
Having a second pair of eyes look at a university can be incredibly useful. Not only will you have a second opinion, you’ve also got someone else to take notes, pick up brochures, and remember vital information that you might forget in the excitement of the day.
However, it’s important that whoever comes with you remembers that this is your day and final decision on university is yours to make. Although open days technically have no bearing on whether you’re offered a place or not, over eager parents asking too many questions won’t impress the admissions team.
When you go to university, you don’t just need to consider the academic side of things, but also the local area as this will be your new home for the next three or four years.
Not all universities include a tour of the town/city in their itinerary, so you may want to allow yourself extra time to explore. If you’re moving far away from home, and you’re able to extend your stay, you might want to leave a whole extra day to get to know your new city.
Make a note of the facilities and amenities on offer, particularly vital things such as transport and the local supermarket. This gives you a head start before Freshers’ Week and you’ll feel more at home when you arrive on campus at the beginning of term.