Open days: How to make the most of the experience

So, you’ve decided to attend an open day to check out your university of choice, but how do you make the most of the experience?

As this could be the place you spend the next three or four years of your life, it’s important to take the opportunity to try to learn as much as you can.

Here are some of the things you can do to maximise your open day experience:

  • Plan ahead Thorough planning will ensure you experience as much as possible on the day. Read our blog on why to attend and how to prepare for an open day for some useful tips.
  • Take control You might attend an open day alone or with parents or friends, but either way the experience should be about you, so it is important you set the agenda. If you are with parents or friends, listen to their advice and opinions but make sure they don’t take over by asking all the questions.
  • Go on a tour Probably the first thing you will want to do is tour the university to view the building and facilities and learn the layout. You can book on to an organised group tour, but you can also ask to see specific departments on your own.
  • Listen to talks or take a taster course Most universities will organise talks from subject leaders, while others will hold sample lectures or taster courses. These are well worth attending as they will give you an idea of what the staff, lectures and facilities will be like.
  • Meet staff and ask questions The university may organise meet and greet sessions, but if not there’s nothing stopping you asking to meet and speak to staff individually. Not only will this demonstrate your enthusiasm and make you stand out from your peers, it will also give you the chance to ask questions about the course or university.
  • Meet the students You might get to meet current students as part of a tour, but if not it’s well worth finding some yourself. Staff will be helpful but there are questions about student life that are better directed at those living it.
  • Make notes This will help you remember key facts and allow you to compare universities.
  • View the accommodation You will want to know how good the accommodation is and how far it is from the campus, so make time to view some different options while you are there.
  • Reflect and review After you have attended all your open days, take time to sit down and reflect on your visits and review your experiences, listing the positives and negatives of each. This will help you make a considered decision on your future.

More information and resources

Dr Jonathan Padley, Widening Participation Officer at Churchill College, Cambridge, gives his insight on how you can make the most of open days on our blog.

Former Seren student Miles Hermann gives his top tips for open days, also on our blog.

Other open day tips guides are available from Which? University, THE and UCAS.

open days - wednesday

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