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Choosing where to study

How to plan for a university open day

Seeing a university during a virtual open day can help you narrow down your UCAS choices – here’s how to make the most of it.

Two students sitting with a laptop


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


Start looking early

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

Book your place in advance

Spaces can get filled very quickly. Make sure you see the universities you’re interested in by booking your visits well in advance.

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


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 will have a list of talks and events 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?
  • If I don't meet the grades, is there still a chance I could be offered a place?
  • What will make me stand out on my application?

Student ambassadors will give you a different outlook of 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?

Pack a notebook and pen

It's easier to make notes when you're there rather than trying to remember things afterwards (take photos with your phone too).

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