University open days: everything you need to know

Trying to figure out what all this university chat is about? One sure fire way to get ahead of the game is to go to open days.

It can be daunting to think about your future beyond school – after all, it’s all you’ve known for the last 13(ish) years. Open days give you a glimpse into uni life and help you make up your mind about your future.

We’re bringing you our best tips and tricks, to make sure you get the most out of your open day experiences.

WHAT IS AN OPEN DAY?

A open day is an event thrown by a university, to invite prospective students to learn more about their courses, the city and campus.

It’s a great opportunity to narrow down your UCAS choices (you only get five) and figure out where you can see yourself studying for the next three or four years of your life.

You after visiting one open day

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Firstly, your priority is to find out more information about the course you’re looking to study, or if you’re not sure about the exact course yet, the school of study (e.g. Engineering, Science, Humanities, Business).

There is usually a fair where all courses will have a stand where you can speak to lecturers and current students to learn more about the course content, entry requirements and your predicted grades.

However, the university you choose is where you’ll be living for the next few years – a big commitment, right? It’s also important you get a feel for the campus. Explore the area, get a tour of a halls flat and head to the union for a bite to eat, to familiarise yourself with the surroundings and see if you can picture yourself living there.

It’s a good idea to have a wander around the city or wider area, to get to know it a little better: you won’t be spending all your time at university, after all. You need to get a feel for the shops, the restaurants and everything else uni life has to offer.

PREPARE

The key to open days is being prepared. If you have to travel to a different city to get there, make sure you book your train or bus in advance to avoid high fares. You might have to travel a bit once you arrive in the city, so look up local transport times or make sure you have enough money for a taxi.

Once you arrive, you’ll probably be given a tote bag of goodies, which will hopefully include a map and a timetable for the day. Make sure to take a note of any talks or lectures you want to attend, and any tours you want to take part in.

It’s also a good idea to prepare a few questions for lecturers or tour guides, in case the opportunity arises to ask them. Lecturers are usually happy to answer questions after talks, but will also stay behind to give answers one-to-one.

You when your mum is the only person to ask a question at the end of the lecture

It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed at a university open day – you’re staring your future straight in the face. But everyone studying there was in your position at one time, and look at them now! Open days are time to get excited about what comes next and get a look at all the possibilities coming your way.

For a list of all the open days across Scotland this year, click here.

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