While you’re working hard on your A-levels, you’ve also got to weigh up what you’re going to do with the next stage of your life. For most A-level students, uni is the next logical step, and choosing the right course requires some consideration. One of the best ways to make sure you make the right choice is to come up with a shortlist of your preferred universities, and to get yourself booked in to as many open days as possible.
Once you’ve arranged these open days, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make the most of the day.
A – Attend
This one is easy enough, but sometimes an idea seems great in theory then when it comes down to it you can’t be bothered or would prefer to do something else. It’s essential that you attend all of the open days that you book yourself in for, otherwise you could be missing out on a great opportunity.
B – Breaks
When you’re at an open day, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of things to see and do. That being said, it’s important to take breaks throughout the day, otherwise, you’ll end up feeling fatigued fairly quickly and this will result in you taking nothing from the day.
C – Course Choice
When you’ve booked into a few different open days, even if the course titles are the same, the course content will differ. Consider which of these courses suit you best, and make sure to take notes on the topics covered throughout the degree.
D – Distance
Consider how far your uni is from home, and how this will impact on you. Are you a family-centred person, or do you want to use uni as an opportunity to spread your wings and fly the nest? Attending an open day is the perfect way to gauge how far it is from your hometown.
E – Exams or Essays?
Different courses will assess you differently, and you have to think about how well you react to being tested. Open days are a good opportunity to find out how these universities structure their courses, which will help you decide which one is best for you.
F – Friends
Making new friends is a huge part of student life – it’s a time when you’ll build relationships that will last a lifetime. When you visit potential universities, enquire about social events and how well people mix in these environments. Some universities will have stronger senses of camaraderie than others, so keep an eye out for that.
G – Guided Tours
University campuses are notoriously tricky to navigate, and in some cases, third-year students still can’t find their way around. For this reason, going on a guided tour of the grounds is a great way to experience the uni without getting lost along the way.
H – Helping Each Other
Open days are a new experience for everyone who attends, so it’s likely that you’ll see a few people scratching their heads in confusion while you’re walking around. If you come across someone who seems confused by something that you already know the answer to, take time to help them, as this is a great way to bond with others and get into the student spirit.
I – Independence
University is the first opportunity for you to experience a new city and lifestyle without the help of your parents. Open days will give you your first taste of uni life, and providing that you attend with a parent or guardian, they will act as a stepping stone towards your independence.
J – Jobs
When you finish your course, you have to go out and secure a job using all of the skills you learn while you were studying. If you have a career in mind, use the open day to speak to students and employability experts to see if the course can lead you to your dream job.
K – Kebab
You might be thinking, “Why has kebab made this list?” Trust us, when you visit a new city for an open day, take note of kebab shops close to your uni and preferred accommodation. Kebabs are a staple of the student diet and are compulsory at the end of a night out – you can thank us later.
L – Location
When you’re visiting a new city for an open day, there will be a lot to take in. But consider the location of the uni campus in relation to your potential accommodation options. Choosing somewhere to live that is close by will save you time, money, and effort in the long run.
M – Manage Your Time
Open days can be overwhelming, with accommodation to look at and mock lectures to attend, it can be difficult to fit everything in. Before you get to the campus, figure out an itinerary for the day, because this will help you manage your time and fit everything in that you want to.
N – Nearest Accommodation
When you make the long drive to your open day, you’re not just going to visit the university, you’re also going to find a place to live. Take a look at nearby accommodation to see how well it meets your needs. Get in touch with providers to see what’s on offer.
O – Opportunities
When you go to uni, you’re learning some vital skills that will eventually land you your future job. In order to secure that job, you’ll need to fill your CV with activities that stand out, so find out the types of CV-enhancing opportunities that the uni offers.
P – Prepare
Do a bit of pre-visit planning before you head to the open day because this will give you a good idea of what to expect. Having some questions in mind before you go will ensure that you make the most of the short amount of time that you have with your (potential) future tutors.
Q – Questions
When you attend an open day, you essentially have a few hours to find out everything that you need to about the university before you then make an informed decision – and it’s quite an important one, because you will spend at least the next three years there. Don’t hesitate to ask questions; give yourself the best chance at choosing the right uni for you.
R – Research
Dedicate some time before you go to finding out as much as you can about the uni. This will help you to ask the right questions when you’re there and not waste any time finding the answers to queries that can be easily answered online.
S – Societies
Societies are a great way to meet new people who share the same interests as you. Open days give you the chance to find out what groups are on offer at the uni – you never know, you could end up finding your perfect niche.
T – Talks
These aren’t necessarily the most interesting part of an open day, but they definitely are the most informative. Attend as many talks as possible that are relevant to you, as these will give you plenty of information about uni life – take note because you’ll need this to make an informed decision.
U – University Ranking
University league tables are a good measure of how well your chosen uni performs at delivering a particular course. However, there are other factors that only come to light when you attend an open day. Perhaps the uni is pioneering a new form of teaching that seems like it will work for you – you won’t know unless you attend.
V – Vibe
You can only really soak in the atmosphere of a university when you actually visit it. Even if individual elements of the institution line up with your needs, it’s possible that the overall atmosphere won’t appeal to you, and it can be a real dealbreaker.
W – Work Opportunities
Not only do you need to consider where the course will take you in terms of your career, but are there any opportunities for part-time work? The student lifestyle involves plenty of socialising, and you’ll need the funds to back that up, so take some time to speak to current students about finding work.
X – 10 Questions
Okay, so this one is cheating a bit, but X is the Roman numeral for 10. So take a look at The 10 Questions You Need to Ask at Open Days.
Y – You
This is perhaps the most important point on this list. Consider what you want in a university. Every element needs to satisfy your needs rather than anyone else’s – you will be the one who is making the commitment, so it’s essential that you choose the right course.
Z – Zzzzz
Before you make any quick decisions, you should sleep on it. Even if you loved the university on the open day, take the time to think about your options. Choosing your uni is a big commitment, so it’s important that you get it right.
Staying Connected to The Uni Experience
When you’ve settled on the right uni for you, the next stage is choosing somewhere to live. The best accommodation enhances the student experience, takes care of your needs, and puts you right in the heart of the action. For more information, look at our locations page or get in touch with us to see what we can do for you.