Top Tips To Make The Most Of A University Open Day
Whilst preparing for university applications, you may want to head to open days to gain an insight into campus life, to speak to current university staff and students, broaden your knowledge on the course you want to study, and to get a feel for whether you’d like to study your degree at a particular institution.
Attending university open days are also a great way for you to find out more about different subject areas if you’re not sure what you want to study, or if you’re wondering whether university is for you or not.
Although, these events are a whole new ball game, and they can be a daunting prospect if you’ve never been to one before and need to venture halfway across the country to attend.
Don’t worry, the team here at Homes For Students have put together this guide on top tips for you to make the most of a university open day!
What Happens At University Open Days?
Before we get started with university open day tips, we’re going to give a little rundown on what actually happens at these events so you’re in the know!
You wouldn’t live with someone without meeting them first, right? Well, it’s similar to attending university.
Open days help you to decide whether a university would be a good fit for you or not.
Open days are a chance for you to get a taste of what university life is like before applying to a specific institution, you can ask questions to current students or lecturers, experience the campus, take a good look at what facilities are available as well as explore the town or city where the university is based.
You can also attend talks and lecturers for your chosen subject and take a tour of the student accommodation.
When Do University Open Days Take Place?
There are more than 160 universities within the UK so university open days can vary from each intuition, but they usually take place between July to October to allow prospective students plenty of time to visit numerous universities.
To find out about when university open days are taking place, you can search online on the UCAS website or head to specific university websites.
University Open Day Tips
Now you know more about what you can expect at a university open day and when they take place, you can prepare yourself with our list of top tips!
1. Plan In Advance
We’d suggest first and foremost making a list of all the university open days you want to visit, even if you don’t end up going to all of them, it’s good to have a rough plan in place.
Whilst open days are free to attend, places do get filled up quickly as there are hundreds of thousands of other prospective students in the same boat as you. So, we’d suggest booking sooner rather than later to avoid missing out.
It’s also important to check when specific open days are taking place as some do clash, so you may have to decide which one you’d rather attend.
Or if it’s possible, you could do two open days in one day if they’re close-by!
2. Sort Out Travel Arrangements
Prior to attending university open days, it’s important to research travel arrangements so you know how you’re going to get there.
It will make the whole process less stressful if you get organised in advance rather than leaving things till the last minute and finding out that train tickets to a specific place are sold out for the time you want.
Or, worse, you just assumed your parents would be fine and dandy with a drive halfway across the country when in fact, they’re not!
Not only do you need to plan how you’ll get to a certain town or city, you also need to think about where you’re going to stay if it’s far away from where you live.
Accommodation prices are usually cheaper when you book early, so it’s worth pre booking and getting everything sorted beforehand.
3. Create An Open Day Schedule
Everyone’s priorities for a university open day are different, so it’s important to determine what exactly you want to get out of your experience, and plan your day so you can make the most of it.
Have a think about what talks and events you want to attend (you may have to book for certain ones) and see what time they’re taking place, you don’t want to rock up and find out you’ve just missed the main thing you wanted to attend.
It’s also worth planning in some time to embark on campus tours to find out what facilities each uni has to offer, as well as exploring the student accommodation to find out about the living options available.
There are usually tours which take place so make sure to check them out!
4. Decide Who Will Come With You
As we’ve mentioned, uni open days can be daunting, especially your first one, as you’re not sure what to expect.
It could be worth bringing someone along with you whether it be a family member, friend or your partner so you’re not going alone.
Having other people there with you at an open day can ease your anxieties, and they may even come up with questions that you have forgotten to ask, or offer a different point of view on certain things.
Bear in mind though, which university and course of study you choose is for you to decide, not anyone else.
So, you can listen to advice from the people in your life, but make sure when it comes to applications and ultimately deciding which university places to accept, you’re choosing the universities which best suit you.
5. Prepare Questions To Ask
University open days are the perfect opportunities to find out more about what it’s like to study at a specific place, and give you the chance to get answers to any important questions that you may have.
Preparing questions you might want to ask before the big day comes is a good idea, as you may forget to ask certain things, or have a little anxiety about approaching people, so writing what you want to say down will help you!
These questions can be for lecturers or current students, and can be about anything.
You may be telling yourself a question is stupid, but it’s not, the people at open days are there to help you, so don’t be afraid of asking anything that’s on your mind.
Some questions you may want to ask could include:
- How is this course assessed?
- What does the course cover?
- What do they look for in your personal statement and application?
- How many modules can I choose from?
- Do you have any advice for the application process?
6. Explore The Area
Open days are a great opportunity to find out whether you’d be happy living in a specific place for 3-6 years of your life, so it’s worth spending some time off campus exploring the university city or town too.
This way, you can get a feel for the place to see if it’s somewhere you’d enjoy living.
You can make a day out of it, or even a weekend if you’re able to.
You can visit the top attractions in the city centre, head out to experience the food and drink scene, do some shopping and just get a real taste for what student life would be like.
You may even meet other prospective students whilst you’re out and about, and you never know, you could end up with a friend if you both end up studying there!
We’d also suggest snapping up some pictures so you can refer back to them when it comes to applying for universities, as it’s easy to get muddled up when you attend tons of events!
7. Consider Virtual Events
Not everyone will be able to attend in-person university open days for numerous different reasons, perhaps because they can be expensive.
With travel arrangements, accommodation and food and drink costs added up, they can end up being quite costly, especially if you’re heading to quite a few different universities.
Whilst we’re in no way discrediting open days, as they’re an invaluable way of finding out whether a university is right for you, we’re just stating there are other options you can consider.
Such as, some universities will offer virtual events, which can include online seminars, video virtual tours, or chats with current students or lecturers.
If you’re unable to attend in-person open days, or even want to attend both to get more of an insight into what a provider offers, you can find out about which events are taking place by heading to a university website.
8. Reflect On Your Experience
After attending university open days, we’d recommend reflecting on your experience, whether it’s writing down your thoughts and feelings or speaking to your family or friends about it.
This could be about the university itself, the area if you got a chance to visit the city or town, as well as the students and academics you got a chance to speak to.
When attending multiple open days it’s easy for things to blur into one, and considering a large majority of these events take place over the summer months, it’s a few months before you start the application process, so you may forget certain things!
Referring back to your notes about your experiences can be super helpful when it does come to applying for universities.
Attending university open days can really help you when it comes to making the big decision on where you want to study.
So, make sure to research to see what upcoming events are taking place and book your place!
Hopefully these university open day tips have been helpful for you, remember to enjoy your experience and ask questions if there’s anything you want to know more about before the application process comes around.