Making the most of Uni open days
If you’re looking to apply to university this coming year then I’m sure that heading on open days will be high up on your to-do list. Universities often run open days and more tailored departmental offer holder days.
It can be a lot to take in when you visit a university for the first time. I want to share some tips I have to help you make the most out of your visits.
Campus or city university?
Every university is different but one of the main things you might want to decide is whether you like a campus university or a city university. In a campus university you will find everything you need in one mini-town designed for students. In a city university all the university facilities will be spread across a city.
I decided early on I liked the idea of a campus university. I liked the idea of having all of the university facilities within walking distance and bumping into friends as I went from lecture to lecture. It feels like a community, a town of like minded students. However some people find it a bubble and a little claustrophobic. Some people may prefer to live in the hub-bub of a real city where families, professionals and students live together.
It is a personal choice, I’d recommend you visit one campus and one city university to see what you prefer. Then you can narrow down the other universities you want to look at.
Talk to people!
When I visited open days I went on campus tours and talks but I didn’t really ask questions. There will often be academics and current students within your department who want to talk to you and answer your questions. This is the best way to get a feel of the course and what current students like and dislike the most about their university.
Talking to academics is the best way to understand the nuances between degrees. The number of degrees within each department, yet alone universities, can be overwhelming. There are so many different degrees, from MORSE to Mathematics and Statistics to Mathematics. It can be a lot to take in if you’re just reading about courses online or on the UCAS website. Academics or course leaders can offer great advice about what course they think may suit you or explain the differences between courses. Don’t be scared to ask questions, make sure to make the best use of staff and students available – it’s probably the best time to ask.
Visit more than once
There can be so much going on the first time you visit: talks, tours, accommodation viewings – it can all be a lot to take in. I felt overwhelmed when I came to Warwick the first time, it’s a long day of walking around campus and making sure you’re on time for all the events you want to go to. This made it hard for me to actually imagine what life at Warwick would be like.
After the open day I was lucky enough to attend support classes for admission exams at Warwick. This was the first time I felt more comfortable around campus and I could actually imagine myself there. If you really like a uni but didn’t enjoy the open day then I’d encourage you to visit one more time, either informally or on an offer holder day, and give it another go.
Take a break
Don’t feel like you have to do every talk or event on campus on an offer holder day. You’re likely to get very tired and it might ruin your open day experience. It’s not just academic talks or tours which are important, it’s also worth taking in your surroundings and exploring on your own. You should certainly plan in some timetabled events to keep your day structured but feel free to allocate some time to just enjoying the environment and seeing what you can discover!