University open days are your chance to really get a closer look at a university before applying or accepting an offer. It’s easy to be dazzled by their glossy brochure and excellent league table rankings, but just because a university is at the top of the charts, doesn’t mean it’s the right educational option for you.
University open days are usually held at different times around the year, so you might be able to visit some before you even submit your application.
Open days are also particularly useful if you’re trying to choose between two or three universities. The courses and the standard of education might seem almost identical on paper, but when you get there you might find you love one university and weren’t that interested in another.
Realistically, the most important part of an open day is you being given the chance to ask academic staff and current students questions. They’re there to help you, not hide things from you, so don’t be afraid to ask the more probing questions.
Here’s more about university open days and some university open day questions to ask about studying Mathematics:
Some universities split their open days into a general undergraduate open day where you’ll have a chance to look at the campus, accommodation, and other student facilities, and you’ll then be invited to go to a departmental open day if you’re made an offer.
Departmental open days usually include tours of the department, example lectures, and a chance to talk to the academic staff and current students about the course.
Other universities combine both so you’ll spend part of the day on a general tour of the campus, accommodation etc. and then spend the other part of the day looking at the particular department you’re interested in with other applicants.
Open days are usually informal, so there’s no need to dress up. Although for some subjects and some universities, you’ll combine an open day with your interview.
Check with the universities you’re applying to to find out their application process and procedures.
The majority of universities encourage applicants to bring someone with them to an open day, although you may be limited to only one or two guests.
Taking someone with you can be very useful. You’ll have someone to discuss what you’re seeing and hearing with. They can help take notes and they might come up with some useful questions about the course and university that you hadn’t previously thought of.
Above all, taking a friend or family member with you can just give you some moral support as you take the next step in your educational career.
As well as asking general questions about the university and the student experience, it’s also important to ask specific questions about the subject you’re applying for – in this case, Mathematics.
You need to be clear about exactly what the course involves, what the content of the modules is, and what your career prospects are like after graduation.
After all, you don’t want to start a course only to discover that you’re not interested in 50% of the modules that are taught!
Here are some example questions that you can ask to give you a better insight into the Mathematics course and what it really involves: