The benefits of university open days

It might be tough deciding what you want to study but sometimes choosing where to study is even more difficult. There are a lot of things that could affect your decision on where you study at university. Doing research online only goes so far to getting a real feel for universities in the UK. The easiest and best way of finding where you want to study is by going to an open day. Personal experience is vital when making your final decision.

Universities across the UK regularly put on open days but many students each year fail to understand the value of these events and don’t make good use of them. Here are some reasons why university open days are so valuable and how you can make the most of them.

You can find out more about your subject

As part of open days many UK universities put on academic talks for subjects. These are not only your opportunity to hear about the course content but also an opportunity to ask questions. Many students simply listen to the presentation and fail to recognise the importance of having questions ready. These situations are not just for you to hear about the subject but also for you to find out how the subject fits your own interests. Asking questions can help establish what makes the course stand out alongside similar courses at other universities. You can also take the opportunity to find out about the structure of the course and how assessments are carried out. Finding out whether the assessment is focused on exams or coursework can really help you in deciding whether the course plays to your strengths or not.

The possibility of meeting people doing the course.

It can often seem intimidating listening to academic staff talk about the course content at open days especially when sometimes it contains a lot of information you haven’t come across before. The opportunity to talk to students doing the subject is extremely valuable as they can relate to the decisions you are having to make. They are also more likely to give an honest and balanced opinion of the university than a lecturer. Current students are also in a position to explain certain difficulties they encountered with the subject and how they overcame them. They can also explain why they are so enthusiastic about the subject. This has the capacity to motivate and encourage prospective students. If you feel nervous about asking questions surrounded by other students you haven’t met before this is your opportunity to ask questions in a more relaxed environment.

Opportunity to visit the facilities

University is not just about choosing the right course, it is also important to find out about the facilities. Depending on your interests you can pay a visit to sporting facilities, the student union or the library. This will help you know what you will spend your time doing and where. Remember to print out a map and timetable so you can find your way around. Don’t hesitate to take flyers away with you as these are invaluable resources to consult in the future. Remember an open day is designed just for research so don’t feel like you have to decide straight away. Afterwards It is important to also consolidate your resources as well as discuss your opinions with friends and family. It is even better if you bring them along with you as they can often give you good advice based on their experiences.

Visit student accommodation

There is usually a vast array of accommodation on offer at university. You can usually choose from staying in private halls or university accommodation and this is your opportunity to visit both. There is lots to consider such as how far it is from the university as well as safety and security. It is worth considering how many people will be in you shared flat and whether the halls are just for first years or students of all ages. Remember that lots of students go on to share flats with people they meet in first year. Your accommodation can therefore go a long way to shaping your university experience. Some halls also put on events during fresher’s week. These are useful to find out about as they will help you get to know other people in your halls.

Visit the town/city where your university is located?

A university open day is also your opportunity to explore the location of the university. For many people it is important to consider whether they want to live in a city or in a small town. Some universities are campus based and some are not so you may not get the same community feeling. Take the opportunity to visit the surrounding area, shops and attractions. Remember that you will be spending 4 or 5  years at university and it will be useful for you to explore. It is also good to consider transport links if you are wanting to go on trips.

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