Attending an open day is the best way to learn what university will really be like. Open days give you the chance to explore the campus and its facilities, chat with your potential lecturers and other students and even see the inside of some student accommodation. But, there can be a lot to take in, so to ensure you leave feeling more prepared for your transition to university, we’ve put together some handy tips on how to get the most out of an open day.
Preparing For the Day
So you’ve registered your interest, booked your place and confirmed the date and time – what now?
Well, you’ve got to feel prepared, so let’s look at how you’d go about doing that…
First things first – what should you take with you? You’ll want to take a bag, for packing the essentials and for taking any goodies home with you. You may also want to bring a notebook, pen, a campus map and agenda, your phone, a charger and someone else (a second opinion is always helpful, right?). Parents, grandparents, older siblings or friends are all great options!
Once you’ve figured out what – and who – you’re taking, you should also think about planning the journey to the event. Perhaps the open day you’re attending is in a city you’ve never visited, and it may be a long way from home. If this is the case, check and double-check the traffic and travel routes and stay on top of announcements if you’re taking a bus or train – these modes of transport can be unreliable. However you’re making your way to the university, just make sure you leave enough time to account for delays and unexpected bumps in the road, literally!
Aside from planning your travel, it’s also a good idea to consider your plan for the day. What events or talks are you thinking of attending? Are you leaving enough time between each event? And are there any clashes? Considering these types of questions will ensure that your day goes as smoothly as possible, and who wouldn’t want that?!
On the Day
So – you’ve arrived! You’ve made it to the open day on time and you’re ready to take it all in. How can you maximise the value you’re getting out of this experience?
The key thing to remember is to ask questions! This is the best way to learn about the university, its facilities, the course and its teaching staff. Asking questions is a sure-fire way to get concrete answers about the thing you’re going to spend the next chunk of your life doing. Utilise the lecturers’ knowledge and current students’ tips and you’re one step closer to knowing if the course is right for you.
Next, you want to make sure you take a tour of the student accommodation if you can. Yes, viewing the university buildings and lecture theatres is helpful, but surely you’ll want to see exactly where you may be living, too! Deciding where to live is a huge decision, so make sure you have a look at the rooms and the communal areas before making any commitments. You may also want to ask whether the accommodation is catered or self-catered, how social the accommodation is and what amenities are nearby.
Throughout the day, remember to take notes, pictures or videos of anything significant – good or bad. This will make it so much easier to whittle down your options when you get home. The last thing you want is to forget everything that stood out to you while you were there!
Last but not least, make sure you socialise. There’ll be an abundance of students just like you attending these events too – why not spark up a conversation with some of them? Get to know them and ask them questions and you never know, they may be your next study buddy! The more connections you make on the open day, the easier it’ll be to make friends once you start university. Starting this next chapter of your life can be pretty daunting, but doing it with a group of friends makes it a lot less scary!
After the Day
You came, you saw and you conquered your open day! Now you’re back home – what’s next?
Remember all those notes and pictures we advised you to take? Let’s revisit them. Go back to the drawing board and think about your experience. What did you like? What did you dislike? Are you still unsure about anything? If so, perhaps you’ll need to book another open day to get some concrete ideas - there’s no such thing as being overprepared!
All in all, we hope we’ve convinced you to book your place on some open days and follow our guidance when you get there. Do all this, and we’re sure you’ll leave feeling ready - and excited - for the university journey ahead.