University Tips Blog
Image of a student holding a graduation cap
A headshot image of the author, Carly Outerbridge

by Carly Outerbridge

Undergraduate Student Recruitment and Access Officer at Keele University

posted on 16 Nov '23

Tips when preparing for UCAS fairs and university exhibitions

Preparing in advance about what to expect at a UCAS fair or exhibition is key to avoiding the grab and run or “errmm...I don’t know what to say” conversations that we sometimes experience as the person on the other side of the conversation during university events.

As universities, we recognise fairs can be intimidating. A hall or exhibition venue full of students, teachers, and unfamiliar faces. If you do not know what to expect on the day, you are bound to feel even more unsettled. I would recommend doing some preparation beforehand - and following the steps below so you can help prepare in advance.

It is all about options

Spend some time thinking about your next steps before the event and be reassured that you do not need to go with an exact picture of what you want to study or where to study it. It might be handy to produce a shortlist of individual universities that you’re keen to speak to though.

No question is too big or small

The chances are, we have been asked the same questions hundreds of times before. It is important that you do not just lean on friends to be the designated university interviewer, as the event is a fantastic way to help build independence and ask questions that are important to you. You may wish to prepare a few conversation starters about courses, entry requirements, accommodation, facilities, location, extra opportunities, open days and whatever else that interests you and your friends!

What to expect

Find a map of the event beforehand or ask a teacher if they have resources they can share to help gather familiarity and allow you to prepare your trail and plan for any scheduled talks. Some universities may provide physical or digital prospectuses, either way, it is best to be prepared with a strong bag and wear comfortable shoes.

You will be asked by universities if you would like to have your individual QR code scanned to keep up to date with university updates. You’ll be provided with your own individual QR code closer to the event, so please don’t worry if you don’t know what this means...yet! On the day, some find it beneficial to temporarily set this as their phone lock screen or have it easily accessible.

Most importantly, remember that these events are also meant to be enjoyable, this is one step closer to your future and a key part of your research.

Top tip for after the fair

After you step back on the transport home, you will likely feel worn-out from the day, but it can be good to make a quick note on which universities stood out to you. Revisit the day at your next available opportunity and continue the conversation with your friends, family and teachers if you have more questions.

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