5 July 2016

How to Make the Most of University Open Days

This is the time of year that open days start happening at universities all over the country (and world) and if you're, like me, in your first year of A levels, you'll be starting to think about university, the future and all the options out there.

I have been picking up prospectus' for all the universities I am interested in, so have now started to go to open days for these universties and have been to two this month - the University of East Anglia and the University of Warwick. I have been figuring out how best to go about each open day to be able to get the most out of it and so wanted to share what I'd learnt with you.

Go for the whole day

You should always get to the open day when it starts or soon after, especially if you live quite far away from the university. You'll soon realise how long everything will actually take and how you also need time to just wonder round to see if you feel like you could see yourself living and studying there.

Check out all the different kinds of accomodation

In your first year of university, most places will guarantee you accomodation on campus, so looking round all the different price ranges of accomodation is a good idea. There will be loads of different options like, ensuite, shared bathrooms, shared kitchens, larger rooms, closer or further away from the main campus. Choosing which kind of accomodation you want to stay is really important because you'll have to live there for a year and they will each cost a different amount.


Pick up all the useful leaflets

This will be helpful for when you get home after the open day and have processed all the exciting and overwhelming part of the day, and suddenly think of more questions you wished you had asked on the day. You can pick up leaflets about everything from clubs to departments to the nearest town.

Talk to students and lecturers

I always get told to talk to students and lecturers and get their perspective on the university because they will probably be more honest about what it is really like so if they genuinely do love the university and are enthused to study there, you'll be able to tell by the way they tell you about the university. You can find out so much unofficial information and opinions from them, like how much it might cost to get a yearly bus pass or where you can live in your second and third years there.

Look around your subject's department

I like doing this because they normally have all there best work and gadgets out to wow everyone with and obviously it does work as you get to see the interesting engaging part of the course. 

Visit the nearest town or city (unless it is a city uni)

This is crucial for thinking about when you have to live off campus in your second and third years. You can look around and find where you could be living or check out the shops, restaurants and clubs to see if this is where you'd want to spend some of your free time. Also, you can find out if it is a historic place or where the tourists would go to visit to give yourself a bit of culture.

Go to any talks you think would be interesting or useful

The official talks will give you the view on everything that the university want to put across about itself so you will see what information they leave out or what they empahsize on. This can be really interesting so that you know the correct information and can be well informed about lots of things to do with the university.

Check out information on finance

Some universities offer grants or bursaries and you may get different student loans or maintainence loans, so you should find out more about what that university could offer you as extra because university really is expensive. There could be extra money based on any number of factors from your families income to where you went to high school so it is a good idea to check it out.

Visit the library

Other than your room, you'll probably spend a large part of your time studying in the library so I would recommend checking it out and seeing where the spaces you can study are and if they have books, key texts and textbooks for you to borrow. Some university library's are 24/7 so that's good to check out if you manage to leave work to the very last minute.

See what the students union and sports facilities are like

You won't spend your entire time at university studying, so you should definitely check out what's on offer to do whilst you aren't studying. Every university has a students' union which is run by students for students and is where all the clubs and societies will be based and will also run any club nights or gigs for you to go to.

Sports facilities are also important, not only if you are already a keen sports player. If you aren't a keen sports player now, you soon could be all because of the sports facilities and clubs that will be on offer to you. Joining a club is one of the easiest ways to make friends outside of studying and will hopefully give you extra fun and another skill which you can tell people about.

How would you make the most of a university open day?