Vital Questions when Visiting Unis – OurWarwick

Vital Questions when Visiting Unis

Bethany Goodman | Language, Culture, and Communication Contact Bethany

Amongst the stress of A levels and big decisions, many of you will be spending the next few months visiting the universities you’re thinking of applying for, or even the universities you’ve recently received offers for! At the moment your brains are probably filled with enough revision and memories of flashcards to even begin to think about the details of open days, so here’s a bit of a checklist to take with you on your open days to make sure you ask the right questions to make the most out of your trip!

Student experiences…

The absolute most rewarding thing to do on open days is talk to current students. It’s a bit daunting at first but I can assure you that every student wants to answer your questions and help you with your university decisions. At Warwick, open days are mostly led by students doing campus tours and talks for departments – these students have volunteered themselves to help out at days like this so they’re the perfect people to ask when you’ve got questions. Or post your queries onto OurWarwick – all the bloggers keep an eye out for posts and questions to make sure you get the answers you need! 


Each uni is different…

It may seem a strange thing to say but you must remember that all unis teach the same courses differently. I always thought that it would be similar to A levels in the sense that everyone teaches similar syllabuses and it didn’t really matter too much which uni you went to, but this is totally wrong! Every uni has different researchers focusing on different topics so it’s vital to do your research into which modules each uni offers for the course you’re interested in. 


Lectures or seminars?

When you finally reach your department of interest and have the chance to mingle with some lecturers and students, make sure to ask how everything is taught. Uni is very different to the structured lessons you have during college and sixth form because some have lots of big lectures where you listen and take notes; others are very seminar based, using activities and interactive tasks to develop your knowledge. Figure out which you’d prefer and ask the current students what a typical day is like on the course so you can get a feel for what type of learning you’d prefer. 


Contact hours…

Although generally it’s known that science subjects have more contact hours and humanities subjects receive less, it’s always worth asking how many contact hours you’re expected to have at each uni. Having less hours is good if you prefer to take part in societies and sports, as well as if you’re good at learning independently. However, if you’re like me and prefer lots of lectures and seminars to help your understanding, try to look for unis that offer more contact hours per week. 


Module choice…

A lot of unis don’t offer much choice for modules in first year (if any) because they like everyone to start their uni experience in the same boat. But it’s definitely good to see what kind of choice you can expect in the other years of your degree. Having choice in your degree is always a great thing because your first year will always direct you to what you enjoy most; so make sure you can pursue these interests by having enough module choice! It might also be worth asking whether you can pick modules outside your department; many departments encourage one or two outside the department to widen your knowledge, but others are a bit pickier so definitely ask.


Campus life…

This is definitely something to ask the current students because they can give you an accurate description of their time on and off campus. Ask them about all the different halls and which ones they would recommend; some might be more sociable than others, or you might want a quieter one nearer to the sports centre – definitely think about what you might like and ask the current students what they’d recommend. After this it’s worth asking about where to live during your other years at uni. For Warwick, houses off campus tend to get snapped up pretty quickly so make sure to ask the current students how they decided where to live, who to live with, and when you need to apply for second year housing. 


Career prospects…

It seems a long way off right now, but it’s definitely useful to ask the current students (final year is best) what kind of career prospects the degree has opened up for them. Ask them about their successes and difficulties when applying for jobs with their degree, as well as which paths they could take with it. 


Cost of living…

Something to think about when looking at unis is the cost of the local area. While many of you will receive government loans, budgeting your money in expensive areas can be difficult. For example, although London is most notorious for extortionate prices, the loan is increased there too to help you live a comfortable student life. However, in Leamington and on Warwick campus the prices can be pretty high too, so make sure you factor this in when looking at each university and their surrounding towns. 


Any questions?

I hope this blog has helped you to start thinking about what questions to ask on open days. They can be pretty overwhelming and I can guarantee you’ll only have more questions by the time you leave, but I guarantee that there’ll be one or two unis that just feel right when you visit them; go with your gut instinct on this feeling! If you’ve got any suggestions for other questions students can ask please post them below, or any questions in general about my time looking round different unis don’t hesitate to ask! 


Happy visiting!

Bethany Goodman | Language, Culture, and Communication Contact Bethany

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