June 25, 2014, by studentcontributor
Making the most of open days
Hi everyone, it’s Andrea back again, and now that I have finished my exams, I’m going to give you a quick guide to university open days. Narrowing down hundreds of universities to the five you’re allowed on your UCAS application can seem like a daunting task, but a day out to see one up close can be both a fun and informative experience.
Universities take a lot of pride in their open days, and the students and staff who are there are trying their best to show you why they are so passionate about their subject and the place they are studying.
Prospectuses and websites are a great place to start, providing detailed information about courses and facilities – however, the perfectly set up photos and angelic-looking students only give a snapshot of student life and may not be an accurate representation of all aspects of the university.
So, my advice would be to make a shortlist of all the universities that you’re considering, and aim to visit as many as possible.
- Get a copy of the prospectus and read up about your course beforehand, this means that you can ask all your important questions in person on the day.
- Visit your academic department – this is absolutely essential, it will allow you to speak to your future lecturers, have a look at specific facilities such as dissection labs and talk to admissions staff about entry requirements etc.
- Visit accommodation – where you live is a big part of student life, and the quality and price of student rooms can vary a lot between universities. Investigating details such as the number of students that share a bathroom can save you a nasty surprise when you move in!
- Visit the general facilities – you’ll undoubtedly find yourself spending more time in the library than you think. You could also have a look at the communal facilities in your department. Places like cafés and computer rooms may seem unimportant at first, but if you want somewhere quiet to work, they’re perfect.
- Find out about extracurricular activities – whether you already have a hobby that you want to continue, or fancy pursuing something new, universities offer a vast range of societies, sports and other activities. Your course will come first, but it’s important to keep yourself entertained outside your work!
- Visit the city – a university’s location can determine a lot about your social life as a student – have a look at the entertainment on offer and general character of a university’s city. Also be sure to consider transport links if you plan to make frequent visits home!
- Talk to students – this is the most important aspect of open days, they will give you a real feel about what is good/bad about the university. They will give you a perspective on student life that you can only get in person and will give you their opinion on why they chose to go to that particular university.
First impressions count for a lot, some universities will seem perfect whereas some just won’t feel right for you – it’s a good idea to figure out which one is which before you apply for them!
Most open days will require you to book a place beforehand, and will take place June/July and September.
The upcoming University of Nottingham Open Days are on June 27th and 28th and September 12th and 13th 2014. Please visit the university website for more information, we hope to see you there!