University Tips Blog
Image of a student walking into an open day
A headshot image of the author, Charlotte Kettlewell

by Charlotte Kettlewell

Outreach and Schools Liaison Officer at University College Birmingham

posted on 17 Nov '23

Attending a university open day? What to expect when you arrive

It can feel daunting when you start the search for a university. From the travel, exploring different institutions, researching courses, right through to the stress about this upcoming new life change.

During this process, you may attend university open days. Below are some things you can expect to experience when attending an open day and important considerations to be aware of in advance.

Preparation

Make sure you feel prepared for the day by having everything you need. Take a notebook and any documents you may require - this might include sign-up emails and information, sometimes including a registration ticket or QR code.

Travel

It is important for you to experience the journey length from home, the potential costs associated with it and reflect on it. Is it a comfortable distance from home? If you are commuting, is it realistic for everyday travel?

Ask lots of questions!

You’re likely to meet a student ambassador early in the day. These current students provide a wonderful opportunity for you to ask questions about their experiences as a student. You can combine these with questions for lecturers and support staff.

University talk

Most universities will have talks about their institution, their facilities, campuses and general information and ethos. These are particularly handy if this is your first visit to the institution. Typically, an open day will include a welcome talk at the start of the day, which is useful for getting your bearings and signposting you to certain talks, events and locations you may want to visit.

Subject talk

Universities will offer subject workshops or talks aimed at students. These are usually attended by parents and supporters as well, so if you are visiting with someone else, they may wish to join you. These talks are great for providing general information about the course with a question and answer session at the end. This is a good opportunity to gather more information and explore subject options.

Meet subject experts

There might be an opportunity to meet lecturers on an individual basis to ask further questions that you may not have had answered in the subject talk.

Support services

Support services are likely to host drop-in events during the day. This may include advice and support related to disabilities, housing, careers and mental health. Depending on your needs, there may be support services that you need further information on. There are usually an array of guides and booklets with extra advice for you, so be sure to ask staff and student ambassadors throughout the day.

Accommodation tour

It’s a good idea to visit the accommodation available. If you’re short of time, pick a mid- range accommodation, or one that you believe would be within a suitable price range. Consider elements such as shared bathrooms, kitchen sizes and where it is located in relation to the campus you would be studying at.

Visit the facilities!

Have a campus tour, visit the students’ union, visit campus shops and food outlets, buy food from the canteen and even use the toilets! You will get to experience the day-to-day facilities that will be available during your studies and you will be able to get more of a ‘feel’ for the institution.

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