Uni applicant diaries: heading to open days
Going to university open days is one of the best ways to suss out whether a university or course is right for you – just ask our uni applicant bloggers...
"Make the course your open day focus"
- Catherine Jones
Over the last few weeks I have visited universities in Edinburgh, Loughborough and Nottingham, with the intention of studying either architecture, fine art or aerospace engineering. Because I'm not 100% sure on the course yet, my main focus was to look at the different departments and hear their presentations.
Even if you know which course subject you want to apply for, I would urge you to make this a priority. I am beginning to find that things like accommodation and the activities of the students' union are pretty similar from uni to uni (though they are still worth a look if you have the time).
At each open day I've also made sure that I've checked out the various information stands dotted around and what facilities - both academic and extra-curricular - are on offer. I found the facilities at Loughborough University particularly impressive for both the art and engineering faculties, with state-of-the-art equipment and extensive working areas.
My top tip for an open day would be to research it before you go and try to think of some relevant questions to ask the departments. Also plan your day before you go and leave enough time to do the important things thoroughly. That’s better than trying to see a bit of everything.
"My top five open day tips"- Emily Chandler
Open days can be daunting but will help you to make one of the most important decisions of your life. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been to open days at Exeter, King’s College London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Birmingham, Durham and Cambridge (I’m hoping to study law) and so I hope that I can offer some advice about how to get the most out of them:
1. The most important thing is to find out more about is the course, so go to a talk on your subject as this will give you the best indication of what it will be like to study there. Think of some questions before you go and talk to current students if you can.
2. Organise your day effectively. Almost all universities will put their open day planner online, but make sure you leave enough time to get between talks, as well as time for tours and lunch.
3. Tours! I cannot stress this point enough: campus tours and accommodation tours are really helpful in really seeing the university and they will truly give you a feel for the place.
4. Be prepared – open days will always involve lots of walking, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes. Also bring an umbrella, as well as sunglasses and sun cream. If you’re uncomfortable, you won’t enjoy the day.
5. Think about what’s important to you – do you want to see the students' union or the sports centre? Make time to see those facilities which you deem important.
I’ve found every open day so far to be helpful: pretty much every prospectus will read the same, that their university is the best and that obviously you should study there, and so open days offer a real chance to experience a university.
- Top open day questions: what you need to ask tutors and students
Look up a uni: what current students say about different universities