Image of a student attending a university taster day

 by Naomi Smith
, posted On 29 Dec '16
 Journalism graduate and Higher Education Blogger

What is a university taster day?

This blog is great for students too! Please pass the link on to students thinking about university.

University taster days are very similar to open days. However, they often focus on a specific course, subject or department, rather than presenting an overview of the entire university experience. They can take many forms but are all designed to give prospective students a feel for what university study is really like.

Taster days can often be booked for both teachers or careers staff booking for school groups, or individual students direct. This blog will focus on events for students.

Taster days are a fantastic way to find out if university is the right choice for you. It’s important to explore all of your options before making a decision and experiencing those options first-hand can be a big help.

University isn’t right for everyone. There are many other options to choose from, including going straight into work or taking on an apprenticeship. Other alternative options include evening study, such as those offered by Birkbeck College, part of the University of London, so that you can combine real workplace experience during the day with studying at night.

Taster days are also particularly useful if you’re stuck choosing between a few different subjects or are unsure whether you want to commit to three (or four) years studying a subject you’ve already picked out.

The perfect course will suit your individual interests and abilities, whilst enabling you to develop your existing knowledge and gain new skills. Lectures and workshops taught by actual academics will give you first-hand experience of whether your chosen subject, course and/or university ticks all of those boxes.

Liverpool John Moores University offers subject insight days where you can sign up to sample one of 60 undergraduate programmes, taking part in a lecture, practical workshop and/or laboratory session. You can also talk to both staff and students, and check out the teaching facilities.

Other taster days focus on a single subject, giving you the chance to experience the academic side of student life for a day. This often includes sample lectures, application and selection day workshops, and the chance to develop practical skills in your chosen subject area.

Some taster days are aimed at specific types of student, such as international students or those with disabilities. For example, the University of Manchester holds a Visit Day for Disabled Learners, specifically for students under 16 with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). This includes information about support for disabled students, the Disabled Students’ Allowance and more general financial support available.

Many universities also have taster courses, which run for a longer period of time and allow you to experience the social side of student life as well as the academic side. Again, this can help you decide whether the course or university is really right for you.

You can also highlight that you went to the taster day in your personal statement on your UCAS application, to demonstrate your commitment to the subject and to university study. This shows admissions tutors that you have thought about what you want to study and are proactive in finding information to make the right choice for you.

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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