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How to make the most out of an Open Day visit

Open Day at Monash University, Melbourne. Source: Shutterstock

Open Days are a great way to get to know a university and find out whether it’s the right fit for you. Unfortunately, not all students attend open days – and they’re really missing out.

According to UCAS, a recent survey found that a quarter of students don’t attend Open Days before applying to university.

Open Days can seem overwhelming, especially to those who hate crowds. But if you plan in advance and know how to make the most out of it for your own personal benefit, it can be a truly rewarding experience.

After all, you’re going to spend the next few years at your chosen university, so it’s best to make an informed decision.

Not only do you get face-to-face interaction with university staff at Open Days, were you can ask questions in real-time, but you also get a feel of the university culture so you can identify whether it’s the right choice for you.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when attending a university Open Day:

Narrow your choices

You definitely can’t go to every single Open Day, so how do you decide which ones to attend? You can try making a shortlist to 3-5 universities, depending on your schedule.

If making a shortlist is too tedious, try utilising the UCAS search tool or the open days search tool.

Plan an itinerary in advance

Attending an Open Day is often not as easy as just showing up. You’ll need to plan transport, times and locations of talks, as well as tours you wish to attend.

It will be easier for you if you do some planning in advance so you can stick to an itinerary and not feel overwhelmed by all the talks and tours.

According to UCAS, ” Each uni will have planned an itinerary of activities that will run throughout the day, such as tours, talks, meet and greet sessions, and more. Check uni websites or speak to them to see if they have a planned timetable of activities.”

Talk to student ambassadors

Students are more relatable, because after all, they’ve been through it already! Talk to other students and student ambassadors to find out about the university culture, dorm life, programmes or whatever else you need to know.

James Busson, Co-Director of Student Recruitment at the University of Sheffield, told The Guardian, “Engage with student ambassadors on forums and ask questions, even if it’s just to find out where you get the best fish and chips.”

Talking to fellow prospective students can also help you connect with them and trade notes on universities and the course programme you are intending to pursue. So go ahead and be friendly!

Write down a list of questions

Source: Giphy

Once you’re at the Open Day, it can be easy to lose track of your goals and forget what’s important to you.

Take some time before you attend to write down (or type up in your phone – whatever works for you) a list of questions you’d like answers to.

This can be about anything – student life, student associations, course offerings, internship opportunities.

Whatever it is, having a list on hand helps you focus and achieve what you set out to do.

Explore the campus

Open Days are a great way for you to check out the campus! You can attend campus tours, but you can also use this time to explore the campus by yourself and get a real feel of the place, uncovering whether you could see yourself studying there.

Look at the facilities, buildings, lecture halls, student unions, cafeterias, libraries – whatever you can access. Just don’t get lost!

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