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If you’re considering applying to university, attending open days should be at the top of your to-do list.
You can tell a lot about a university by attending its open day. Not only can you speak one-on-one with staff and gather loads of course information, it’s your opportunity to suss out the feeling of the place – something you can’t really get from course guides and websites.
Follow these simple tips to ensure you make the most of uni open days and leave with everything you need to make a well-informed choice about the university you will apply to.
Some universities have interactive planners outlining times and locations of all the activities, information sessions and tours taking place. You won’t be able to attend everything but prioritising sessions that align with your interests means you’ll come away with the key information that’s most relevant to you. Know where to go to talk to staff from the areas you are interested in and work out what you want to ask them before you get there. Remember to leave yourself some ‘free time’ to enjoy some of the entertainment.
Even if you think you’re 100% sold on what university you want to apply at, make sure to go to other university open days so you have something to compare it to. It may further cement your decision, or open your eyes to a possibility you hadn’t considered before. Each university will have its own point of difference. It might be useful to think of three key questions to ask at each institution to help you compare which one suits you best. You’ll be spending a lot of time and money there so you want to make the right decision.
There are so many people on hand to help at open days – from academic staff and researchers to current students who were just like you a couple of years ago! So make sure you take advantage of that by asking lots of questions. Seek out the academics you will actually be learning from. You might want to ask things like: how many hours of classes will I need to attend?; can I undertake work experience as part of the course?; or what are the job outcomes like for graduates? Talking to current students is great for getting the low down on what university is really like. They’ll be able to tell you about their first-hand experience and hopefully provide some insider tips, like where to find the best coffee on campus!
Another great thing about open day is that it enables you to see where you’ll be studying in person. Lecture theatres, laboratories and learning spaces will all be open, and some will run activities that enable you to engage firsthand with the technology and facilities provided. Most universities run campus tours throughout open day, which will give you a snapshot of all the key areas – this is a must do! Checking out the facilities is not limited to those associated with study. It pays to find out whether the uni has cafes, restaurants, a gym, sporting facilities, wi-fi, computer labs and inviting social spaces that are going to make your down time at uni fun.
Absolutely everything the university offers will be on show at open day so once you’ve got all your course information, take some time to find out what opportunities there are to enhance your uni experience. Find out about overseas study opportunities, scholarships, internships, study and personal support services, clubs and societies, and events and activities that are held throughout the year. These extras all contribute to what makes university a rewarding and supportive experience.
Anyone is welcome to attend university open days. Going to open days with someone else, like a parent or friend, is a good idea – you may end up seeing something you wouldn’t have otherwise, they may think of questions to ask that you hadn’t and they can provide a second opinion. But remember, it’s you who will be attending, so make sure you find out about the courses you are interested in, not just what other people may think you should study.
Most importantly, open days are a great day out. They will have loads of live entertainment, free activities, food trucks, competitions – and there’s sure to be some giveaways as well! Get involved, soak up the atmosphere and take in all that the uni has to offer. There’s no better way to help you decide on the best university for you.
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