Evaluating an Open Day at University
Universities host open days, which are days for potential students to visit them, look around the university and have any questions that they may have answered. Universities will host open days throughout the year and sometimes will have open days for particular areas of study, the open day calendar will present any upcoming open days for all universities. They are great opportunities to explore the local area, accommodation and teaching facilities at the institution, and to see how you feel about that university. When you do attend an open day, ask yourself these questions to see if this university is right for you.
Location of university
Where is the university? Is it up on a steep hill or the middle of nowhere? Did you have to take a plan or change three trains to get there? The location of the university itself is very important as you need to think about how plausible it is for you to travel there during term times.
Is it too far away?
Are you really close with your friends and family? If so, travelling for three hours in the car with your parents for an open day is an indication just how far away it really is. You should think about if you would like to move this far away for studying your degree.
How is the local area?
When you visit the university what is nearby? Is there a small town with lots of character? A huge amount of nightlife and places to go? The city or town will be the place to go for the next three to four years so make sure that it has everything that you want or have available where you are now. You won’t be studying the entire time you are at university and need to be occupied!
What does it look like?
Is the university and town full of rich personality? Is it modern and quirky like you are? Being able to see yourself living and studying in the area is a must.
How do you feel when you were there?
When you first arrive at the university, how do you feel? Are you excited, anxious or completely indifferent? Sorry to say, but if you don’t get those butterflies then another place will!
Were the teachers and lecturers insightful?
Usually, there is a short presentation or induction for students attending an open day, during this teachers and staff inform students about what they can offer, and there may even be a chance to mingle with all department heads. When you speak to them, did they inspire you and answer all of your questions?
Were the students informative?
There are usually students from different years acting as mentors, so get a chance to talk to them. Talking to an actual student currently studying will provide for insight than any lecture!
Do they have good sports?
What are their sports like? Are you a mad rugby fanatic, or want to be the next big Cheerleader? Read up on their sports and try to talk to current students who are also involved.
Do they have good leisure facilities?
Hopefully, you’ll be able to see and visit the SU when you are there – this is where you will be spending most of your time, trust us! Are there any extra-curricular activities you can get involved in?
Societies are absolutely fantastic at feeding any hobbies or interests you may hold. There is always a society for every interest so make sure you check them out.
Is there a supermarket on campus? Or a cash machine? If your university is a little way from town or a high street, then these are essentials to get by. You’ll need to plan ahead and not having these facilities can make it difficult!
If there is only piles of hay around, then the possibility of finding a part-time job or graduate career will be slim.
Make sure you view the different types of accommodation, there may be some on and off campus with different facilities, so you must be sure to choose the right accommodation that suits you best. This is very important! This is where you will be eating, sleeping, studying and partying for three to four years, this will be your home! Being able to picture yourself living there is a must!
Even though there are lots of questions that need to be answered, by yourself, teachers and students at the university, an open day should answer all these and the anxieties you have for sure. During an open day you will be able to see and feel how you react to the university and this will prove more useful than any powerpoint presentation! Good luck, and go visit some universities!