University open day season is upon us, so I thought I would share some of the important things to look for on a university open day.
First and foremost is your academic department. You are going to be spending the next three (or more) years in your academic department at least 5 days a week, so it is important that you talk to the department lectures and feel that you will be happy and comfortable there and able to talk to your lectures if need be.
Secondly is accommodation. For many, moving to university will be the first time you live away from your parents so accommodation is very important. You should try and see as many options of accommodation available on a university open day so that you have an idea of price range and what would be best for you in terms of catered accommodation or self-catered, ensuite or non-en-suite. Don’t be scared to ask about the different types of accommodation available as, in the long run, when choosing your accommodation you will know which one you want.
On campus facilities are also something that you should look out for, these are usually pointed out during campus tours. Checking out your future universities library, student union and careers service is key as these are main areas that you will be spending a lot of time in.
The social side of university life is also very important to know about. Aside from the hard work the next three years will bring, socialising, meeting new people and making life-long friends is a huge part of university life. You should ask what the nightlife in the area is like, what societies there are as well as other general social events that go on in the area surrounding your university. Sport can also be a great way to meet new people and sport societies often have the best socials so, whether you are interested in sport or not, checking out the sport facilities is also something I would recommend.
Another thing that I found very helpful at the first open day I went to was talking to the financial team about money. As I am the first person in my family to go to university I was not clear on student loans and what it meant for me and how I was to pay them back. Once talking to someone in person who explained the process to me, including the scholarships on offer, it took a weight of my shoulders.
Other things to ask about and take note of is transport in the area and to and from university accommodation as well as transport to and from your home town. If you drive parking is also something you should ask about.
Lastly is the people. One of the biggest things that I didn’t realise would be so important until my very first visit to a university open day was how I took in the people around me in terms of friendliness and multiculturalism and this was one of the major aspects that led me to choosing the University of Leicester.
This may seem like quite a daunting list but you want to make sure you pick the university that is right for you, but also have fun as university open days can be if you make the most of them!