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Making the most of university open days
A university prospectus is great for reading about the courses on offer, grade requirements and course structures, but if you want to see what the university is like, speak to your future professors and size up the student union bar, then university open days are great! Most prospectuses will have pictures of smiling students sat on green lawns in front of stunning buildings on a sunny day – as nice as that might look, don’t be duped into choosing your university in this way. You will be spending three years or more at this place – it’s definitely work checking out before you sign on the dotted line (or press ‘submit’ on your UCAS form in your case).
Here is our short guide to making the most of university open days.
- Many universities offer subject-specific open days so it’s definitely worth booking yourself on to one of these as you get to learn more about your course, how it is structured and how you will be assessed.
- You will no doubt go on a campus tour lead by an enthusiastic undergraduate who will show you around the campus, but take our advice and wander around campus on your own – it will give you a better feel for the place and you will discover things you would never have seen on your campus tour!
- Accommodation is one of the main reasons students attend university open days, but students are often show the newest accommodation which is not a true reflection of where you will be staying when you start university. We suggest doing some research on the various accommodation types before the open day – you can then ask your campus tour guide to show you the halls of residence that you want to see, or you can talk to current university students to ask for their opinion on the best accommodation.
- The last thing you probably want to think about is the library whilst on your open day, but it’s definitely one place worth checking out. You will spend a lot of time in the library so it’s important to see what facilities are available, for example, how many computer rooms are there, how much does it cost to print, and is the library open on weekends?
- Have a wander around the students’ union to see what facilities the university has to offer. Is there a shop where you can buy your lunch, a bank to sort out your overdraft? Is there a gym you can join, if so, how much will it cost? And don’t forget to check out the all-important student bar!
- Socialising whilst at university is an important part of the university experience which allows you to make friends and participate in exciting opportunities! Ask your student tour guide about the clubs and societies on offer, and how easy it is to get involved.
- One final tip is to make a list of things you would like to know about the course and the university, as this will help you to get the most out of your day. And don’t be shy – you will only have this opportunity once, so make sure you ask as many questions as you can!