Visiting a prospective university can be both exciting and stressful. On the one hand, you’re keen to see with your own eyes everything the institution has to offer, but you also want to make sure you use the open day to collect all the information you need.
With so much to take in and limited time, our top tips tell you what you should and shouldn’t do when visiting a university open day.
What to do on an open day
Speak to students
One of the best ways to get an idea of what a university is like is to speak to students currently studying there. While ambassadors will be available, it’s a good idea to talk to students studying your course to learn about their experiences and what you should expect.
Prepare your questions
You don’t want to get to an open day and forget important questions that could shape your decision. Write out a list before you visit and take that list with you so you can refer back to it when you’re talking to different people and touring different parts of the campus.
Speak to your potential lecturers
It can be intimidating talking to lecturers, but this is a great way to get answers to any specific questions you have about the course you’re considering. You may have questions beyond the course such as careers, further studies and work experience that they’ll be positioned to answer for you. Not only does it show your enthusiasm for the course before it begins, but it leaves a positive first impression and gives you an idea of whether you’d enjoy going to their classes.
Take a notebook and pen
Packing the essentials will save you a lot of hassle on the day. A notebook and pen are key to jot down information and answers to your questions so you can reflect back after the open day is over. Some other essentials when visiting a university open day include a bottle of water, hand sanitiser and a portable charger if you’re using your phone a lot during the day to navigate.
Make sure you’re happy with the facilities and amenities
If your course involves using specific equipment or facilities, make sure this is on your list of things to check out during your open day. There’s nothing worse than being sold on the overall campus but find the facilities you’re going to use isn’t up to the standard you expected.
Explore the local town
An important but sometimes overlooked aspect of an open day is whether the local town or area has everything you need. Yes, the university facilities and campus are important, but you want to make sure you like the local area you’ll be living in. Does it have enough in terms of entertainment and social opportunities? Are there enough shopping options for you? What are the transport links like if you want to travel home? Take the time to have a roam around and don’t be shy to ask students what they think about local life.
What NOT to do on an open day
Don’t book last-minute travel
If you’re travelling quite far for an open day, you’ll want to secure train tickets as early as possible. Leaving it too late can mean you pay more than the average price. Make sure you use student discounts like the 16-25 Railcard to save extra money.
Don’t forget to look at facilities relevant to your course
Universities are keen to show off their state-of-the-art facilities, which is great but may not be relevant to your course. Make sure you set aside time to look at facilities you’ll be using during your studies and make sure you’re happy with the quality of what’s being offered.
Don’t let your parents take charge
Taking your parents to an open day is a good way of getting an alternative perspective. They might ask questions you hadn’t thought about and it also gives them a chance to see where you’ll be spending the next few years of your studies. However, letting them take control of the day may mean you don’t get to explore and see parts of the campus you feel are important. Make a list of what you want to see and communicate this to them to establish your priorities for the day.
Now you’re all set on what you should and shouldn’t do on an open day, it’s time to visit some unis. Check out and book your place on upcoming open days.