Making the most of your Offer-Holder Day
It’s coming to the time now where, more likely than not (as a prospective student), you’re planning on attending an offer-holder open day for your course. Some will have attended the open day, or visited the campus earlier on, while some won’t have. Either way, it’s one of the best opportunities you will find to be able to gather information and properly experience the university before you go.
I applied for two different courses at Warwick, both Politics and International Studies (PAIS) and Global Sustainable Development and PAIS (GSDPAIS). In this, I attended two days, one in February for PAIS and one in March for GSDPAIS. For the first, I attended alone, whereas my dad came with me for the second.
No matter how you attend, there are some key tips and tricks you can use to make the most of the open day. I do not know if this is the same for all departments, but for me, I had the opportunity to attend a general session in the morning of my day, and then a department specific event in the afternoon.
On my first day, I went to sign in at the Arts Centre before making my way to the area that we were told to wait before the day started. I had completely overestimated my times and arrived before everyone had finished setting up. Leaving me with a long wait ahead, I settled down in the empty space and waited, on my phone if I’m honest, until more people started arriving. Not too long after that, a few people came upstairs and we sat near to each other, before introducing ourselves, the courses we were doing and where we’d come from. Conversations like these are ones I became pretty used to having, and still am at uni to this day. It was lovely to meet people from a variety of courses, considering we’d be with our departments before too long.
Much to my luck, being sat on my own with no parents around, meant that it was easy to also find people in similar places. Even more luckily, someone who sat next to me ended up not only being on my course day, but also in the same tour group. Having found someone to get to know, we soon headed down to the ground floor of the arts centre, where "PAIS1" were to go on a tour, and "PAIS2" were to attend the morning’s talks. Being in the first group took me on the tour, before heading to the tour later in the morning.
In the afternoon, after meeting up with some friends for lunch, I went to the Social Sciences building for the Politics intro lecture, before heading to a practice seminar and another campus tour. Once there, I sat again with the friends I’d made from the tour group, and we listened to the department talk about modules and all the exciting things to expect when at Uni. After that, we were split off into 5 groups to go to a seminar, mine being based on "Democracy" with a lecturer at Warwick, Dr Reiche (who coincidentally taught me last term in a different module – good to see a familiar face!). This was pretty exciting, as it involved Lego, but also meeting more possible future coursemates. The tour was pretty similar to the first, although covered in a slightly different manner and definitely a little easier in terms of conversation, before finishing our day in the politics common room for refreshments and to see the people who’d gone to different groups.
My second day was fairly similar in the beginning, with the department day having a sort of similar format (from what I remember). We had another talk for GSD, this time involving a seminar format within the talk, which was just as enjoyable as it was educational. We were able to meet the GSD staff at the time, and talk to them afterwards and during the session. This was the session that really made me decide that GSD was to be my firm choice, as it really showed me that’s what I wanted in my degree.
So, if I were to offer some tips to people:
1. Pick the current students brains
Likelihood is, the people who give you the tours may not be with your department, but instead the Welcome Service. Nevertheless, they’ll be able to answer (hopefully) your questions about student life on campus – any concerns or worries you (or whoever is with you!) may have. They’re a pretty invaluable resource, and likely to be one of your first contacts with students currently studying at the uni.
2. Ask questions
Make use of the Q&A time offered in any of the sessions. Ask the lecturers there about module choices, chances to study abroad, what the department does outside of lecture time. As they often say, "no question is a silly question" and "chances are, someone else wants to know the answer too". When I attended, people asked questions that I hadn’t even thought about, yet they were what I wanted to know – so ask away!
3. Talk to your possible future coursemates
Chances are, if someone is at the day, they’re more than interested in seeing Warwick as a future possibility. Speak to them, find out their hopes in the course, what they like about your subject and so much more. I kept in contact with two of the people I made friends with on the politics day, and one of them is currently studying at Warwick too, with us remaining good friends. It was nice to have a familiar face nearby when starting, and if nothing else, it means you have someone else to ask questions to during the day!
4. Take notes
This won’t necessarily mean taking 3 full A4 pages of notes, it isn’t a lecture (unless you want to, in which case go ahead!). But it can often help to write a little down to jog your memory, or if you’re telling someone else about your day. If you go back home and reread through them, you can reflect on the day and how you felt, which can help make your choice much much clearer as you think about it. Write down contact information from the departments so that you can email later with any queries, it’s such a useful resource!
5. Emjoy the day!
It’s such a lovely experience being able to visit Warwick, and take in what life is like on Campus. All the days are held during term-time, so you’ll see student life go on as it usually is, as well as getting a proper feel for the university, as opposed to the very much student-focused open days.
So, I hope you have fun visiting the campus, and I hope you gain all the information you need to make your decisions!