University open days: When are they, how to book tickets and best questions to ask

It’s that time of year again! You’ve finished your GCSEs and now you’re panicking about what universities to apply for as you enter your penultimate year of school. It’s daunting, but one of the best things you can do to prepare is actually visit the Universities and go to their open days.  Attending open days can help you make a well-informed decision about where and what to study. 

How to prepare?

Ask friends, family and your school about which universities they would suggest for you. That way, you can start deciding in which direction to head. You want to have some idea of what type of uni experience you’re looking for so that you can choose the open days you want to experience most.

Considerations may include:

  • Location: whether you want to be in a city or a small campus university  
  • Degree: which universities offer the best degrees for your area of interest 
  • Entry requirements: decide if your predicted grades are likely to meet up to the university standards 

What should you be looking to get out of an open day?

Open days give you the opportunity to check out university accommodation, visit the student union, take a tour of the library (which will become your second home – sorry), explore the sports facilities, meet prospective students, talk with current students and staff about courses and university life. Most importantly, it also allows you to get a feel for the university. You will then be better equipped to refine your top picks when the UCAS application process starts. 

What to expect:

Advisors and talks will be available throughout the day to answer any queries you might have about topics such as:

  • Which degrees are available
  • Student finance – i.e. scholarships and bursaries
  • Admissions
  • Student life
  • Support for disabled students
  • Careers post-university
  • Study abroad opportunities

What questions should you ask?

Open days also give you the chance to ask any burning questions you might have. Don’t shy away – the professors and students are there to help and are happy to tell you what you want to know. 

Top questions to ask:

  • What degrees are available for the subjects you are interested in?
  • How many contact hours a week do you have with professors and tutors? 
  • What size are tutorial groups and how regularly do you have tutorials?
  • What is the mode of assessment for the course (i.e. continual, end of year exam, in class tests, coursework essays)? 
  • What sport facilities are available to the…

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