So, you’ve got your top university options and now it’s down to choosing which one you’ll be spending the next few years of your life at (no pressure!).
There’s a lot to do in just one day, as you’ll be busy exploring the campus and talking to people, so it’s best to come prepared.
Here are the five questions you absolutely should ask in order to get the information you’ll need to make your decision:
1. Can I know more about [your course of choice]?
Getting more information on your course of choice should be your main priority, as it’s important to be sure you know what you’re signing up for and that it’s what you really want to be studying.
Do your research beforehand to determine what you’re looking for in a course and make a list of questions you would like to ask about it, such as what will be expected of you as a student in the course and whether there are any opportunities for work experience, study tours, or networking with those in the industry.
2. What are the facilities available to students?
It’s fantastic if you’ve found your dream course, but another aspect you should consider before making your decision is the facilities your university has to offer.
A university’s facilities are what enhance your student experience, enabling you to make the most of your studies.
Some facilities you might miss if you didn’t have them would include a well-stocked library, safe student halls, a sports center with top-of-the-line equipment, and a café serving great coffee for your pre-lecture caffeine runs.
Image via University of Queensland.
3. What’s it like to be a student here?
One of the best advantages of going for a university open day is being able to talk to current students.
If you want to know what it’s like to study at the university, here’s your best chance!
If possible, find someone who’s taking the same course you’re interested in and grill them for their honest opinion.
Another perk is being able to make friends, be it with those who are already at the university or other prospective students, so that you won’t feel quite as awkward on your first day.
4. How much will it cost, and are there opportunities for financial aid?
You’ll have some idea how much tuition fees and accommodation will cost based off your research from home, but going to the university in person will give you the opportunity to see how much it will cost for day-to-day living, such as the cost of a coffee and sandwich, so that you can figure out your budget accordingly.
Besides that, you can find out if there are additional costs that come with the course, such as study trips, workshops, or conferences.
If need be, you can also ask about the financial aid options offered by your university, such as scholarships or bursaries, and which ones you’d be eligible for, in order to help reduce the overall cost of your studies.
Image via University of Reading.
5. What’s great about the town?
If you’re moving quite a distance away from your hometown and aren’t able to come home very often, it’s a good idea to ask about what students do for fun in the area.
If you’re a bookworm, ask about the best secondhand bookstores in town, or if you’re into the Great Outdoors, check out what sort of outdoor sports and activities you can do nearby.
You can also find out what are the town’s biggest events, such as festivals and special holidays.
6. Is this university the right fit for me?
When all is said and done, the decision is ultimately up to you, the student. Ask yourself whether the university is the right fit for you – academically and socially.
If you can see yourself happily spending the next few years of your life there, then you’ve got a winner! If not, then figure out what’s missing and find another university to match your needs.
Image via University of Leeds.
Virtual campus tours
What if you’re unable to attend a university’s open day, but are keen to learn more about it?
Understandably, it’s not easy to make it to an open day event, especially if you’re an international student and live on the other side of the world from the university you want to study at.
Aware of this shortcoming, many universities have created virtual university tours, which are the next best thing. So be sure to check whether the university you’re interested in has one.
Image via University of Manchester