Book your spot now at any upcoming open day or virtual event
Choosing where to study

How to plan for a university open day

Attending a university open day or virtual event will help you narrow down your course choices when applying to university. You should go in with a plan – here's how to start.

Student writing a plan for attending an open day


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: With some campus visits still currently on hold, see our tips and advice for attending virtual open days.

Start looking early

University open days and virtual events can be held very early in the academic year, so start booking your spots as soon as possible. You may find the time to visit a wide range of universities before making your UCAS choices. Use the time to visit as many universities as you can.

If you've secured your place at uni to start this autumn, but are still considering other course options, it's worth attending any upcoming open days. Use these to confirm your decision, and if you change your mind after attending an open day or virtual event, you can either use UCAS Extra or enter Clearing.

Book your place in advance

Spaces at open days or virtual events can get filled very quickly. Make sure you see the universities you’re interested in by booking your spot well in advance.

Can you visit a university not on an open day?

Yes, you can still visit a university without it being an official open day. However, make sure to contact the university beforehand. Let them know you're interested in seeing the campus and they'll typically arrange for a staff member or student ambassador to show you around.

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Arrange for somebody to go with you

It’s always useful to have a parent, guardian, or even friend by your side. Ask someone to accompany you when visiting unis – they may open your eyes to aspects of the campus or course you might not see yourself.

Plan your travel

If you're attending a university open day on campus, it's important to make a plan as to how you're going to get to and from the university.


Check if there’ll be parking. You can also see if any of your friends are visiting the same university on the same day and arrange to share lifts.

Public transport

If you’re getting the train or bus, think about how you’ll get from the station to the university.

Extra help

Several universities offer extra support like travel vouchers or meet-and-greet days in different parts of the UK. Some also have virtual tours and live chats on their websites.

Student’s hand writing in a notebook

Decide which tours, talks and taster sessions to attend

Have a look beforehand at what will be available on the day. This way you’ll know exactly where to be and at what time, and won’t miss anything important. Even virtual open days and events will have a list of talks to attend. 

Write down questions to ask

Research everything about the course, campus, surrounding area, societies, facilities – everything. Then write down any questions you still have to ask university staff or student ambassadors on the open day. 

Some good questions to ask university staff:

  • What’s the split between seminars and lectures?
  • How much studying am I expected to do outside of contact time?
  • Will teaching be mostly online, in person, or a mixture of both?
  • What will make me stand out when writing my personal statement?

Student ambassadors will give you a different outlook on the university. Ask them questions about university life and what it’s like to be a student, such as:

  • What’s been the best thing about university for you, and the worst?
  • What’s the teaching and support like?
  • How’s the social scene?
  • Are you happy with your accommodation? How easy was it to secure?
  2. What to ask at a university open day

Pack a notebook and pen

It's easier to make notes when you're at the open day or virtual event rather than trying to remember things afterwards. You can always take photos with your phone too. Advise whoever's attending the open day or virtual event with you to also take notes, as they may pick up on anything you miss.

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