Attending University Open Days

If you’re looking to go to university, it’s really important that you attend open days for the universities that you are considering applying to. It helps you make an informed decision about where to apply as you get to see the campus, meet the tutors and talk to current students.

I’ve put together a few tips on how to get the most out of university open days, before, during and after.

BEFORE – Get prepared

  • Decide and research into what course you’re interested in. There is usually a lot of information about courses on university websites.
  • Look at where the university is in relation to the nearest station and its location with the town/city. This is where Google Maps comes in handy!
  • Plan your route. Decide what is the best transport to take to get to the university, you may decide to drive, get a taxi, bus/coach or train. Some universities may even require a plane ride! Just make sure you plan in advance so that you have time to book any transport tickets and get the best price for them.
  • Have a rough plan for the day. Every university runs their open days slightly different. Some universities may offer you a timetable of events happening on the open day beforehand including talks and tours. This gives you time to decide which ones you’re interested in and allows you to make a plan. You may even need to book a place on a talk or tour, so make sure you check this with the university beforehand.
  • Compose a list of questions about the university/course that you want answers to. Below are some examples of questions you might want to ask:
    • What are the entry requirements?
    • Is there still an opportunity to get onto the course if I don’t meet all the entry requirements?
    • What do the tutors look for in an application and personal statement?
    • Will I need a portfolio to apply for the course? What should be included in a portfolio?
    • What do the tutors look for in a portfolio?
    • Does the course do interviews?
    • Is there any time for work placements or internships on the course?
    • What have previous graduates gone on to do?
  • Also, think about questions you may want to ask current students to get a different perspective. Below are some examples of questions you might want to ask:
    • What are the best and worst things about the course/university?
    • What has their experience on the course been like?
    • What is it like living in the town/city?

Open Days

ON THE DAY – Ask lots of questions!

  • Make sure you arrive on time! You don’t want to miss any important talks/tours.
  • Attend course talks/lectures for courses that you are interested in, make sure you take notes at all the talks/lectures to reflect on when you get home.
  • Attend any finance talks that some universities offer if you are confused about student finance.
  • Go on tours of the university campus and accommodation.
  • Go on tours of the town/city if they are offered.
  • Allow yourself time to explore the area yourself to see if you can picture yourself living there.

Open Days

AFTER – Reflect

  • Look through your notes and any leaflets that were given to you to ensure that all your questions were answered, and you understand everything that you were told on the day. If you’re unsure about anything, phone or email the university to clarify any details.
  • Discuss the open day with a parent, family member, teacher or friend. This allows you to reflect on the open day and ultimately make a decision on whether you want to apply.

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