I’ll be honest. I only went to one open day (incidentally the uni I ended up at) but I didn’t do a very good job. I flocked onto the train with the rest of my year, shuffled around Glasgow uni’s campus in my soaking wet ballet flats, picked up a free bag of goodies and then went to get a Subway.*
I had no idea whether I was going to study History or Politics, English or Law. I didn’t even start doing my actual degree (English Lit) until two weeks into my first term when I slumped, mildly hungover, into my guidance teacher’s office and asked if I could take English alongside my Law degree. And although this proves the remarkable flexibility offered at universities, it also proves I was an absolute numpty.
Had I actually bothered to listen at the Open Day I would have known what Joint Honours I could apply for. I’d have known the entry requirements and what modules to expect. I would have known that Murano halls were ‘the party halls’ and looked like a prison, complete with bridged entry. Open day wasn’t just a day out – it was helping to plan my life for the next four years and I was just to naive to realise it.
Although it all worked out for the best and I made it out the other side, don’t follow in my soggy footsteps. Instead read my list of dos and don’ts and work out how to get the most from your Open day.
DO take your parents. I know, I know. They are annoying and uncool. But they’ll remember to ask all the hard hitting questions while your busy eyeing up the campus talent.
DON’T check out the campus and head straight home. It’s so important to take a look at the neighbouring surroundings and see if they suit you. Are there plenty bars and nightclubs? Or are you looking to be close to outdoor activities and sports? You’ll be spending almost half a decade here – make sure you like the look of it.
DO make sure you check out the accommodation. If only to avoid some nasty surprises on your first day.
DON’T apply for a small flat. I might be biased here but I lived in a 12 person flat and had one of the greatest years of my life living in squalor and dismay with these other idiots. Six years on I speak to eight of them daily and am proud to still call them my best friends.
DO talk to older students. Lectures, tours and talks will give you a sense of what to expect but you’re not going to hear any negatives from professors. Grab some older students for a truly #unfiltered viewpoint on what campus life is really like.
DON’T believe every thing you read. University websites go on and on about their amazing facilities and services, but sometimes that ‘really cool nightclub’ is a dodgy bar 25 minutes away from your halls. University unions are the beating heart of student life – from clubs and pool to lunch deals and debates teams, make sure you check out what your union offers and see if it suits you.
DO think of a list of questions before you go. No one wants to be the frantic student googling ‘what are modules’ the night before their first tutorial. Check out our handy list below.
*As in a sandwich. I wasn’t even smart enough to learn the Glasgow subway system until I was at least three months into uni.