Take a Look Around Making the Most of an Open Day
If you’re like me, you will no doubt be using every university open day possible as an excuse to go on a trip, get free stuff and most importantly, get a day off school. Don’t get me wrong, open days are great fun – imagining your entire life at each university down to the finest details is an undertaking which never grows dull. However, they are also incredibly useful and shouldn’t be underestimated, they should easily be the most influential factor in your university decision-making process so here’s how to capitalise on it:
Throw some questions about – As ever, an obvious point but you would be surprised how many prospective students neglect to ask questions because they are too shy or too scared. As a frequent on-campus tour provider, I can assure you that there is no question too silly; if you want to know if shared rooms mean you top and tail, then ask. If you want to know if you are allowed to leave campus after 10pm, then ask. If you want to know the cheapest possible way of getting plastered on campus, then ask. More often than not other people are thinking the same too, they just don’t have the bottle to say it.
Spend some time separate from your parents -Naturally, don’t spend your entire visit separate from them but in my experience, I have found that being on your own encourages you to ask the questions you really want to know. Walking around alone or with friends will also make it far easier to imagine what attending the university will actually be like – nobody likes the shock of abandonment.
Easy on the freebies – No, this isn’t some set-up by the university to try and save money, it’s the truth. Unis love to hurl free stuff at you to try and entice but there’s a reason why they can give it away for free – the vast majority of it is pure junk. So much literature. So many pens. SO MANY CANVAS BAGS. I admit, the odd one here or there is useful but I guarantee that all of the others will gradually find themselves in the recycling after a week or two. What’s more is, you’ve also got to lug it around all day; it’s not worth your time (apart from the food!).
Spend a good chunk of time in accommodation – For many, an open day is the one time they will visit a university before they attend it so make sure you get a thorough look at as much accommodation as possible. Take photos, write down distances from lecture halls, get all the details down. You will be very grateful for all of the information when it comes to putting down preferences and you can’t remember which halls has an en-suite and which is 2 bus journeys and 3 mile walk away (none at Warwick are that far away, except maybe Westwood).
Get chatting in your department – Every department has a personality, so learn it. You must remember that this is where you will spend the next 3 (maybe even 4) years of your life studying so you have to try and imagine yourself there. It’s all very well having a great halls but if you’re dreading turning up to seminars day in day out then uni will definitely have been a waste of money. Attend some talks, talk to some professors and see if it’s right for you.
I’m sure that some seasoned pros are strutting back from their 6 open day thinking that this post is less helpful than foundation for Donald Trump. However, it is aimed at those who are yet to attend one, who are unsure of the protocol and who don’t want to waste the few hours they have looking around campus. Best of luck and enjoy the free food!