A university open day is one of the best ways to find your dream school, the place where you want to live and study for the next few years. As a student ambassador, one of my duties is to give open day campus tours to prospective students and answer their questions.
Here, I’ve collected the most common questions and concerns from my tours, and turned them into a series of tips for making the most of your uni open days.
Know what you want to do on the day, and finish the things on your to-do list before you start to have a general look around. With the exception of the guided tour around campus, you have to decide where to go and what to see, which means you have to make a to-do list for the day.
Preparation, such as narrowing down the subjects you are interested in and calculating your budget for the day, will really help when you get there.
A university’s QS or Times ranking is simply a figure, an important reference but one that can’t be the sole basis for choosing a uni. See the facilities, the library, seminar rooms, study areas. Try to picture yourself there - how does it make you feel?
I would recommend taking part in a trial seminar because this is the quickest way to get into a uni’s academic atmosphere. Most universities provide these on their open days, so make it a part of your prep to find out when and where they are.
Things such as the standard of accommodation, transport options to the uni campus, and monthly living costs should also be taken into consideration. Visit the accommodation and student services offices and speak to the knowledgeable staff there.
I always recommend looking into the uni’s part-time job opportunities. A part-time job could not only earn you some extra pocket money, but also find you some fantastic friends and make your life colourful!
Don't be shy! Just ask student ambassadors or staff whatever questions jump into your mind - they are willing to help you on any issues. I always keep some pictures of my accommodation in my phone because prospective students are excited to know every aspect but sometimes too shy to ask.
It’s totally alright to ask ‘stupid’ questions such as, ‘Are there any spiders in the accommodation?’, or, ‘Where can I get an info brochure?’ Student ambassadors and staff were freshers once too, and we’re definitely able to put ourselves in your shoes! No question is stupid.
If you still have some time after finishing your to-do list, take a walk around the campus or the neighbourhood. Different unis have different scenes waiting for you to discover and appreciate.
As for me, I’m addicted to heraldry and every time I lead a tour, I introduce my uni’s coat of arms to my audiences. It’s really cool to learn a uni’s history and stories from its heraldry!