How to get the most out of an open day: 6 tips

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As a sixth former, the prospect of living away from home and going to university both excited and terrified me. Three years is a long time and choosing the right place to spend it is a big decision to make. Bearing that in mind, attending open days is the best way to make an informed decision on which uni to choose. After dragging my parents and friends around countless open days, I’ve compiled this list of important questions and factors you should stay aware of during your visit:

Plan your day

Plan your visit

There is so much going on during an open day and the best way to avoid being overwhelmed with information on the day is to think about everything you’d like to find out before your trip. Before you go, take a look at the university website and plan which talks and tours you’re going to attend. It also helps to make a note of the courses you’re interested in, as well as the questions you’re going to ask when you’re there. Don’t forget to print out a map of the campus and check the transport links before you set off.

Attend talks

Attend talks

The best way to get an overview of the key bits of information you need is by attending talks. Student life talks given by students are usually the best, as they can get a feel for what it’s really like to be a student at each university. UCAS talks and finance talks are also worth going to at least once. Don’t be afraid to take notes while you’re there!

Check out the accommodation

Check out the accommodation

Browsing the accommodation options is a must-do on open days, as this will be your main base while you’re at university. It’s important to have a personal space where you’ll feel comfortable, safe and productive, and the only way to properly get a sense of the place is to visit it yourself. It’s also worth preparing a few questions, such as:

  • Are bills included?
  • Is the room en-suite?
  • How many people share each kitchen?
  • Do you have to clear out over summer?

All of the above will really make a difference to your university experience.

Take a campus tour

Take a campus tour

Campus tours are the perfect opportunity to see the facilities that you’ll be using on a regular basis. Take a look at your course facilities, the library, the gym or any others that particularly take your fancy.

Talk to current students

Talk to current students

This is by far the best way to get completely honest opinions on the university. Talk to students from your chosen courses and ask them about the course: What are the lecturers like? How are students assessed? How many contact hours are there? Is there a good choice of modules? This is fundamental for choosing the right degree for you and the best place to study it.

Find out about the social life

Find social spaces

Experiencing the city first hand is another important part of an open day, as this is where you will likely spend your free time. Finding out about the nightlife as well as the societies on offer will be helpful when you’re deciding if the university can accommodate your interests.