Students walking on a university campus

 by Tara Murphy
, posted On 26 Jan '22
 Schools and College Liaison Manager at Royal Holloway, University of London

A guide to booking a university campus visit during a pandemic

Gatsby Benchmark 7 requires by the age of 18, all pupils who are considering applying for university to have had at least two visits to universities to meet staff and pupils. When this benchmark was created, we didn’t know a global pandemic would come along and shut down almost all UK university campuses.

As restrictions lift and campus policies change, here are my top tips to getting students out of the classroom and onto campus.

1. Be flexible with your university visit requirements

While government restrictions may have lifted, most universities will still have strict policies and protocols regarding external guests on campus. Each university will be different depending on size, location and management.

Contact the provider you would like to visit and see what their policy allows. Speak with them to create a visit that works best for both of you. Do consider it might not look like your previous visits. For example, you could organise multi-day, half-day, or mini-visits with multiple smaller groups, run activities outside (weather dependent) and/or host carousel sessions.

2. Consider your dates

Room bookings are often one of the biggest challenges for a university when organising campus visits, being flexible with your dates will help immensely. Wednesday afternoons and university reading weeks will often have greater room availability.

Dates that are in the school term but outside of university term-time may also work better. These traditionally are just before or after Christmas and Easter breaks, as well as for most of June and July.

3. Prepare a backup

We all hope that there isn’t a return to lockdowns, but after the last year, it is good to be prepared. Speak with the university about a backup plan should a class go into isolation or a lockdown happen. They will likely already have a pre-recorded or an interactive virtual tour available and could probably move workshops online.

4. Be understanding

Whilst students have been back in school since March 2021, many university staff and students haven’t yet fully returned to campus. Understand that their policies are likely to be stricter than current government guidelines and that having large groups on campus may make some nervous. Please speak with your visit provider before arriving on campus about their procedures.

Image of two students chatting during a university visit

The benefits of campus activity

Campus visits are a fantastic way to let students experience what university life is really like. Students often get to speak directly with current students and explore the campus first-hand.

As we adjust to a world with Covid-19, universities and schools can work together to ensure that these key experiences can go ahead in the safest way possible.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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