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Choosing where to study

Why you should go to a university open day

If you have a few universities in mind but aren’t sure which ones to apply to, open days can help you decide.

Students discussing at a university open day

 

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

 

You’ll learn more about the course

Open days help give you clarity if you’re struggling to pick a course. If you’re really stuck, you’ll be able to visit multiple departments. Sit through at least a couple of subject talks. You should be able to narrow down your choices by getting a feel of the department’s teaching style.

What to look for

  • Is there enough of a practical element for you?
  • What’s the proportion of teaching time vs. independent study?

You can talk to current students

Universities enlist current students to run tours, demonstrate their work and answer questions on open days. This is your opportunity to dig deep. They can tell you whether or not they’re satisfied with the teaching and support available, what the local nightlife is like, what the best halls of residence are – pretty much anything. 

Questions to ask

  • How easy is it to get one-on-one time with lecturers and tutors?
  • Where’s the best accommodation?

You can meet lecturers and other department staff

These will be the people who lead you through your university education. Attend talks by them on open days to experience their teaching methods and ask them all the course-related questions you have.

What to look for

  • Do you get a positive vibe from the lecturers and course administrators you meet?
  • Do they have the potential to motivate and inspire you?

Mother and daughter discussing at a university open day

You’ll get to see their facilities firsthand

An open day can give you an indication of the kind of facilities and equipment that’ll be available to you there. You’ll also have the chance to scope out available amenities like cafes and restaurants. 

What to look for

  • Are the facilities up to date and well-maintained?
  • Are there social areas and green spaces on campus?

You can check out accommodation

Chances are you’ll be moving away from home for university and may live in halls for your first year. Take advantage of open days to see if the university houses their students in an environment that suits you.

What to look for

  • Is it warm enough?
  • How far is it to lectures?
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  2. Where to live

You can explore the local area

Some students love the busy city, while others look for a quieter lifestyle. Take a walk around the surrounding area and see if you like it. It’s also worth considering the wider region – adventurous types may enjoy a national park or accessible coastline, while cosmopolitan types will want easy connections to the UK’s cities.   

What to look for

  • How’s public transport there?
  • How much do things cost?

You’ll get a sense of the university’s ‘vibe’

When you attend an open day you’ll get a gut feeling about the university. The vibe of the place may entice you into getting it onto your UCAS application, or something might not feel quite right. 

What to look for

  • Is there a buzz about the place?
  • Does it all feel genuine?

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