How Do I Prepare For A University Open Day?

The trick to a successful university open day is effective preparation. Preparation is key to getting the most out of your university open day, especially if you start early. So we've put together some useful tips and information to help you get the most out of your university open day.

Author: Rob Needleman

Table of Contents

The trick to a successful university open day is effective preparation.

Preparation is key to make the most of your university open day, especially if you start early. It will give you the chance to book all of the open days you would like to attend and paint a better picture of what it will be like to study at the university. This can all be achieved by asking questions to students and staff and exploring the town or city. 

It is difficult to know what preparation for an open day really means so we have gathered some tips and useful information to help you get the most out of your university open days.

Book your university open day place in advance

University open days can be held throughout the year but are mostly during the summer. This is great for you as a student because you do not always need to take time off school or out of your precious term time weekends. However, this creates a new difficulty because now your dream university’s open day clashes with your holiday in the Alps or your family camping trip to Scotland.

Planning and booking your open days in advance will save you the trouble of clashing dates. Also, university open day spaces are usually filled quickly so you need to book them quickly. The importance of visiting the university is paramount so ensure you research and book the dates earlier on in the year. Websites like opendays.com and UCAS Open Day Search Tool list the university open day key dates.

Don’t forget to contact the university if you have any special requirements or disabilities so that the university has time to make any arrangements you need.

oxford-university-from-above
University of Oxford from above

Plan your travel to the university open day

Planning for yourself is key but planning for others is also necessary. Asking your parents to drive from Bristol to Edinburgh University next week is not going to land you in their good books.

When booking your place on an open day, take a look at how you can travel to the university. Take into consideration how far away the university is from the station, if there are parking spaces available and if you will need to take time off school to travel there. You may also need to stay overnight. If you cannot drive there, pre-booking transport will likely save you some money, especially if you purchase a Young Persons Railcard.

Travelling to open days can be expensive and this should not stop you from attending one. Here is a list of universities that offer bursaries to help students attend open days. If you cannot see a university on the list that you would like to visit, call them to ask if they provide financial support or if they can start doing it.

Get to grips with the university open day schedule

The university will usually email you their open day schedule a week or two before the day. Take your time looking at the map provided to know where you need to visit, such as the main introductory talk and subject-specific talks for your degree. Make sure you write down any important information you learn from the talks, this will help when it comes to decision making later on.

If you are attending a virtual open day then having a map with you is a great way to develop an idea of what the campus is like. For more information on virtual open day preparation, click the button below.

Some Medicine open days have drop-in sessions where you can see the wards first-hand and the teaching environment you will be studying in. Sometimes, these drop-in sessions require registration before the open day so bear this in mind during your preparation. Also, make sure to register for student halls tours to see where you might be living in your first year.

The university campus is not the only thing to consider when going for an open day, plan some time for exploring the town or city to get an idea of what it could be like living there and if it is right for you.

Plan your university open day questions

One of the best ways to make the most of a university open day is by asking questions to university students and staff. We split the question categories into 6 main areas. We cover this in more detail in our questions to ask at an Economics open day article.

Qualifications Questions

Qualifications questions find out the information that may not be displayed on the university’s website, such as which school subjects do admissions tutors prefer and is it possible to still study the degree if you do not meet the required grades. Here are three questions you could ask:

Application Questions

Application questions will help you to understand the admissions process in more detail. Universities use Admissions Tests in different ways and place more importance on different areas of your application. For example, some admissions tutors may use your interview as a key indicator of you as a student or your performance in the Admissions Test as evidence of your academic ability. Here are some questions you could ask:

Degree Questions

Degree questions are used to find out more about your next years of study. Ask what modules you will be studying, what the teaching methods are like and the types of assessments they use, to help you figure out if this teaching and assessment style is right for you. You could ask the following questions:

Career Prospects Questions

Career prospects questions will paint a picture of your future opportunities and pathways. Find out what career guidance support the university has for their students and the areas of work students tend to go into when graduating. Ask these career prospects questions:

Student Life Questions

Student life questions are important as you will not be spending your whole time studying, even if it feels like that at the start. If you have a particular hobby or love playing a specific sport, find out the facilities the university has or clubs and societies available to continue pursuing what you love doing. Here are some student life questions you could ask:

Current Student Questions

Questions to current students will give you an honest overview of the university and student life. This is a great opportunity to ask those who are already there for the good and bad things about the university. These questions should help you find out some more in-depth information about the university:   

Final university open day preparation tips

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