If you’re in Year 12 or 13 then it’s likely that you’ll be looking to attend university open days this year. Open days are really useful in helping you decide where to apply.
We recommend getting as much as you can out of each open day – to help make your overall decision much easier.
Tip – don’t miss our downloadable KMPF Open Days Checklist, to help you (and your guests) on the day.
Read the event programme in advance
As it gets closer to the date of your upcoming open days, the universities you’ve booked to attend will send you an event programme (either via email or in the post). Read through the programme in advance of your visit to get to know what’s going to be on offer.
The times of each talk and tour will be listed in the programme so you can use it to plan out your day and understand which parts of the campus you will need to go to for each. It will also tell you useful information about things like travel, where to go on arrival and where different catering outlets are located, for example.
Not booked any open days yet?
Don’t worry, you can view the dates of upcoming open days on each university’s website.
Arrive in plenty of time
Each university delivers a range of talks, tours and activities for open day visitors. Often these are repeated throughout the day, so that you can avoid any clashes, but it’s best to make sure you’re there to check-in at the beginning of the event, as the first sessions usually start right away.
Visit your subject department
This is one of the most important parts of your day – getting a feel for the course that you’re interested in. You’ll get to meet the lecturers who’ll be delivering the course and see what facilities you’d be using while studying there. These are important to what kind of experience you’re going to have.
Listen to the teaching staff describe the contents of the course and how you’d be studying. They should cover things like:
– how many hours per week you’ll be in lectures, seminars, or workshops
– how many hours of independent study you’ll be doing
– what resources you might need
– which facilities you’ll be using
– how you’ll be assessed
– what kind of industry experience you might gain
– what careers recent graduates of the course have gone on to do
– any extracurricular opportunities that might be available
All the above is going to be key to helping you make your overall decision about which university to apply to. The course staff will usually give you a course leaflet to summarise all this information, but it’s also worth taking a notepad so that you can note down anything important.
The teaching staff will be happy to answer any specific questions that you might have. If you don’t want to ask these as part of the talk, then they’ll always make themselves available afterwards for a one-to-one chat, so feel free to go and speak to them to make sure all your questions are answered.
Don’t worry if you haven’t decided what you want to study yet. Our blog post with tips on Choosing What to Study at University can help.
Chat to current students
As well as talking to staff, it’s handy to speak to students who are currently studying at the university. They’ll give you insight from a student’s perspective and can talk you through what their typical week is like. They can also describe what they’ve been working on, what skills they’ve gained and what they’re thinking of pursuing after they’ve graduated from the course.
Book an accommodation tour
If you’re considering moving away from home for university then you’ll be interested in seeing the different types of accommodation each uni has to offer. So, book on to an accommodation tour during the open day (you usually do this when you’re there, but check the programme in case they want you to book it in advance).
You’ll get to see what kind of accommodation the university has, the different costs per room type, how close it is to the campus and how many students there’d be on the same floor, or in the same block or flat as you. The staff and students running the tour will also be on hand to answer any accommodation-related questions you might have, so feel free to ask them anything.
Join a campus tour
Joining a guided campus tour is the best way to see what the campus has to offer and to really get a feel for what the environment is like. Campus tours are often led by students, so they’ll be able to point out their favourite places on campus, such as where they like to eat and drink, as well as where useful buildings are located, like libraries and the Students’ Union.
7. Attend student support talks
Take a look at the list of other talks happening throughout the open day to see which would be important to you. These usually range from practical support talks on topics such as student finance guidance and learning support to talks about extracurricular opportunities, like studying abroad or how to join a Students’ Union society or sports club.
8. Tour the wider town or city
Take some time to explore the nearest town or city to see if you think you’d like to live there. Does it offer good music, open spaces, good shopping, fun nightlife? Think about what you’d like from your three years at university and whether each town or city would match up to that.
Use this Open Day checklist
As you’ll see from above, there’s a lot to think about and fit into your day.
Download our KMPF Open Days Checklist to take with you. It will help make sure you’re ticking all the boxes to really get a real feel for each uni you visit.KMPF Open Days Checklist
We’re here to help
We hope this blog has been useful. Whether you’re a student or a parent, if you have any more questions about open days at all, please feel free to get in touch.