Five Reasons Why It’s Worth Going to a University Open Day
Sixth formers! Between doing your A Levels, packing in those extracurriculars and maintaining a healthy social life, you’re probably pretty busy right now. Trekking across the country to look around a pile of universities might be the last thing on your mind.
Turn that frown upside down, prospective fresher! Here are five good reasons that going to a university open day might be worth the journey.
You’ll get to meet some of the people who’ll be teaching you
Most university open days offer you the chance to meet the tutors. You’ll be able to ask them a few questions, find out more about the course and get an idea of their teaching style. You’ll get a better idea of what studying your chosen subject at the university you’re visiting is like, and decide whether you think it will suit you.
If the university you’re visiting interviews its candidates for the subject you’re applying for, it’s likely that these are the people who will be interviewing you. This is a great chance to find out more about the interview process.
It’s a good way to make sure you’re applying for the right subject
Many open days will give you the chance to attend a sample lecture. Not only is this an excellent chance to experience university teaching and see your future lecturer in action, but it’s also a good last-minute check to see whether you’re applying for the right subject.
Whereas one lecture is not going to represent the entire content and teaching of the course, if you discover that you can barely stay awake through one hour of your chosen subject at university level, it might be worth making sure that this is definitely the course that you want to be taking.
If you’re torn between two or three subjects, then it’s even more useful; you can book yourself in for a handful of lectures and see which one you like best.
You can get advice on your personal statement and student finance application
Most universities offer general talks on student finance, UCAS and how to apply, and they’re usually repeated throughout the open day to make sure that everyone can attend.
This is a great opportunity to get some guidance on your application, as well as ask any questions you might have about the application process. Some universities even have talks just for parents and carers so that they can get clued-up too!
You’ll get a feel for the place
Sure, the pictures on the website look nice and the list of facilities sounds pretty impressive. Still, you can’t feel the ambience of a place through a computer screen.
Establishments such as Warwick have huge campuses, universities like Oxford are spread out across bustling cities, and there are places like Keele which are tucked away in the countryside. It’s a good idea to visit a few different ones to see which kind of setting you like best, and have a good nose at the student accommodation, campus facilities and surrounding area.
Remember: you could be living in this place for upwards of three years. It’s worth seeing whether you feel at home there.
You’ll get a good idea of where it is geographically
I know, I know, Google Maps will tell you exactly where it is and how long it will take you to get there. But glancing at “5 h 22 min” and thinking “it’ll be fine” is very different to sitting on a train for that long.
If you plan on making a few trips home while you’re at uni, doing the round trip once is not a bad idea. You might decide that five hours is too far, or you could discover a whole bunch of interesting places on the way and decide that you’re going to have an excellent time visiting them while you’re studying.
There are plenty of university open days coming up over the next few months. Most unis require you to register by a certain date, so make sure that you’ve looked them up! Registration is simple and shouldn’t take too long — most universities just require a few contact details from you.
Have fun exploring, and good luck with your application!
Martha studied English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. She’s currently a freelance writer bouncing across Europe. See more of Martha’s writing at www.marthareedink.com, or follow her on Twitter.