Oxbridge Open Days: The Complete Guide

An Oxbridge open day is the best chance you’ll get to see if you want to study there. Here are the questions you should ask on the day.

Last Updated: 27th June 2022

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The Oxbridge open days are here. Are you ready for the opportunity to learn more about where you could be studying for the next three or more years?

Applying to Oxford or Cambridge can be an exciting time. There are many amazing courses to choose from, all of which offer a unique opportunity. However, it can all also be rather daunting. Here are some tips and advice based on my own experiences.

What are Oxbridge Open days?

Speaking generally, university open days are an event where a university invites prospective applicants to explore the campus, attended presentations relating to their desired course and ask questions to faculty and current students. This is no different for Oxford and Cambridge, who will typically host multiple open days throughout the year. 

The purpose of these events is to allow the universities to sell themselves to you. Unlike the rest of your application, which will see you attempting to impress the university and earn your offer, open days are all about the universities making themselves seem as appealing as possible in order to attract students.  

Therefore, there will be a whole team of people ready to answer your questions, tour you through all of the facilities and accommodation and provide you with the essential information that you will need when it comes to picking your five choices. 

While open days are traditionally in-person, requiring you to travel to the campus, some universities may also offer online open days. These will mainly consist of presentations and Q&A sessions via video call, with sessions for general university information and course-specific details. Although these are less in-depth than a standard open day, they are still extremely helpful for getting information and asking questions from home. If you are unable to attend an in-person open day, we would still highly recommend attending a virtual one.

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When are the Oxbridge Open days?

Open days are traditionally held in the summer, usually between July and September, as this is when most applicants are on summer break. Oxford and Cambridge are no different of course and are also returning to in-person open days in 2024 after a couple of years of only hosting virtual events. The dates for these events are as follows:

Oxford Open Day Dates

  • Wednesday 26th June 2024
  • Thursday 27th June 2024
  • Friday 20th September 2024

Cambridge Open Day Dates

  • Thursday 4th July 2024
  • Friday 5th July 2024
  • Friday 20th September 2024

While the June/July dates are held on different weeks for each university, the September events are unfortunately held on the same day. If you wish to attend both open days, you will need to ensure that you attend at least one of the earlier events. 

As well as the official open days, you may also have the chance to attend the annual Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences. These are events aimed at Year 12 students and involve a series of presentations and talks relating to the Oxbridge universities. Multiple conferences are held across multiple locations in the UK. These are typically held between March and April, though exact dates have yet to be released. 

Travelling to Oxford or Cambridge can be expensive but in some cases, you may be able to release travel bursaries to attend their open days. Cambridge offers bursaries to applicants who have or do receive care, but only a few Oxford colleges provide funding for those who would be unable to afford the travel costs otherwise. 

How to Prepare for your Oxbridge Open Day

As with any other open day, you’re going to want to prepare to attend your Oxbridge open days. From planning your travel to figuring out what questions you want to ask, there are plenty of things you’re going to need to do before the day of the event. 

Are Oxbridge open day different to other universities?

Although studying at Oxbridge can feel like a whole other world compared to attending some other universities in the UK, the actual open days aren’t too different from what you would expect from any other university. Of course, the campuses are rather big, so you will need to be prepared for a long day of walking, but generally the structure of the event isn’t too different from others. 

The one key difference is that you will be exploring the different colleges at the university as well as the campus itself. Your college is a bit part of the Oxbridge experience, so this is your chance to get a good understanding of which ones you want to apply to. Before you go, you should do some research into the different colleges as there are over 30 in each university, too many to look at all in one, or even two days. Check out our guides to both Oxford and Cambridge’s Colleges below: 

As for the rest of your preparation, it isn’t too different from what you should be doing for your other open days. Check out our fully comprehensive University Open Day Preparation Guide to find out how you can effectively prepare for any university open day, including Oxbridge.  

Oxbridge handouts and freebies

This isn’t necessarily something to prepare for but something you should be prepared for. Throughout the day, you will likely be visiting a lot of different stalls for all manner of things, from societies to student resources. Pretty much all of these will have a leaflet or flyer to give you, as well as potentially have free items like branded pens and tote bags. 

Take the freebies! Everyone loves free things, and there will be lots on offer. In the case of Oxford and Cambridge, it is worth noting that significantly more prospectuses and leaflets are given out as every college and department will have their own. You’ll often find at virtual open days there are downloadable resources shared.

University-wide prospectuses are also available which include details of every course offered, the colleges that offer them, admissions requirements and also thorough descriptions of the course. At Oxford open days, there are small interview guides available that are handed out to students. These offer guidance on how to prepare for an Oxford interview and are the only official guides produced by Oxford, so they are worth looking for!

King's College, University of Cambridge

Get your FREE Open Day Cheat Sheet

If you aren’t sure how to approach your university open days, then our Free Open Day Cheat Sheet is for you! Featuring question ideas and a helpful form for recording your responses, this document is a must-have for any university applicant! Fill out the form below to gain instant access now!

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What question Should you ask at your Oxbridge Open Day?

One of the most important things you can do at an Oxbridge open day is asking lots of questions. If you have a question but are afraid that it may be somewhat silly, chances are that someone else has also had the same thought, so do ask! Open days and regional conferences are great places to ask current students anything that you may not necessarily want to ask a senior admissions tutor.

Some general types of questions you could ask are:

However, there’s much more that you can ask than this, so let’s run through some different questions you can ask the various teams you will meet at the open day:

Questions for your department at Oxbridge open days

An Oxbridge open day is the best chance you’ll get to interact with tutors and students and to see whether you think you are a good fit for studying there. Are you about to start your Oxbridge application preparation? For many people, the first step is getting a feel for the university by going to visit it. 

But how can you make the most of your Oxbridge open days, and what questions might you want to ask? You’ll be speaking with a lot of different people, so let’s take a look at the kinds of questions you should be asking them. 

Starting with the faculty, there are a few questions that might help your Oxbridge application preparation. These are some starting points to use at your Oxbridge open days:

It is useful to confirm, for example, if you want to study a particular topic whether it is included in the syllabus. If you do have particular academic interests, it can be very useful to ask tutors and students whether they think the course at Oxbridge is suitable for you.

For your own knowledge, you may want to know how work is distributed throughout the three or four years, which years you will have exams or assessments, and which assessments carry the most weight.

Oxbridge has a notoriously heavy workload, and it can really help to quantify this during your Oxbridge application preparation. Do ask the current students what a typical day looks like, how much they work in the evenings and how they balance other activities.

Always ask the students what tips they have either for Oxbridge applications or for studying the course itself. These are the people who have the most up-to-date knowledge, and are working with similar conditions to the ones you will face!


Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the right dates and see whether you can book yourself onto an open day. With Oxbridge, the faculties might hold their own separate open days too. The easiest way to check those is to just search “Oxford/Cambridge [subject] department open day [year]”.

Plan your visit to the Oxbridge open days. Check your itinerary in advance as the last thing you want to do is accidentally need to make a 40-minute journey in a 10-minute window.

Questions for colleges

As we already mentioned, you may be using the Open Day to inform your decision of college choice when doing your Oxbridge application preparation. It is really useful to be in the college space and get a feel for the differences between them.

Think about what support the college offers for your subject, what the tutors are like, what food and accommodation are like and also which of these are important to you. Even if you have done extensive research beforehand, there is so much more that you can learn by listening to the first-hand experiences of students who currently attend the college. 

Questions about your own application

Oxbridge open days are also a great opportunity in your Oxbridge application preparation to clarify any issues which might relate to your own specific circumstances. This is especially the case with:

If you have particular reasons for why your grades or results so far aren’t what is expected, you can ask the department or Admissions Tutors how to best approach an explanation in your application.

If your school used a non-mainstream curriculum, e.g. international students or you have extra qualifications that you are unsure how they fit with your main application, now is the chance to see what the tutors think.

Given that there is so much change in today’s education system, if you have any queries about how the transition has affected you and whether this is a problem for your application, why not ask the Admissions Tutors while you are at the university?

You must make sure to think and write down your questions in advance, and then when you do find the appropriate opportunity to get clarification, write down the answer! You will thank yourself when doing the rest of your Oxbridge application preparation.


That concludes our guide to Oxbridge Open Days. Of course, these events change each year and you’re sure to find something that wasn’t mentioned in the guide. However, you now have the most important information that you need when preparing and attending an open day event at Oxford of Cambridge. 

The most important thing to take away from this guide is that you should always make the most of open days. Whilst going to university might seem way off in the future, time really does fly, and it’s important you have accumulated all the things you need to choose your university wisely.

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