* Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most open days will be hosted virtually until further notice. While the following FAQs are most relevant for in-person open days, the advice below can also be applied for virtual events.
This is a day when a college or university opens its doors to prospective students. They provide a great opportunity to have a look around the learning facilities, accommodation and social spaces, as well as meet academics and current students.
Different institutions may operate their open days slightly differently but most run from around 10am until 4pm. It is a good idea to make sure you know the start and end times before the day and have travel plans in place. Most universities will host tours of the campus, specific subject talks and sessions on topics such as student life and finance. They will usually publish a timetable in advance, sometimes with the opportunity to book onto activities, so make sure you check it out and plan which parts of the day you would like to be involved in.
Yes! Open days are a great opportunity to find out more about the place you may be spending three or more years of your life. They provide a chance to meet lecturers and students face-to-face, tour the campus facilities, and explore the surrounding area. Even if the open day is virtual you will still have the chance to chat with lecturers and current students, along with virtual campus tours.
You can still make the most of an open day despite not being there in person. Being able to explore universities from the comfort of your own home means you can fit more open days in too if needed, or even go back and attend a second time if you just can't decide whether to add a university to your shortlist. You will still have the chance to tour the campus virtually, meet the staff and students, attend online seminars, and ask all of your burning questions!
Choosing the right university is a big decision and attending open days can be one of the most useful tools for helping you to decide. There is no limit to how many university or college open days you attend so it is entirely up to you how many you decide to go to and where they are. You may find that several universities host open days on the same days; if they are close to each other, this may mean that you can visit two institutions in one day! If they are further apart, you might need to choose between them, so do your research nice and early and make sure you know where you want to visit most.
Open days are free to attend but places must be booked. You still have to register for a virtual open day. Spaces for on-campus open days can fill up quickly so book your place as soon as possible. If you cannot make the specified dates for a university or college you want to visit, do not panic and dismiss it as a possibility – many offer private tours throughout the year.
Check out all the GHWY partner institutions virtual tour links HERE.
There is not usually a dress code, especially for virtual events; however, it pays to be presentable if you are on campus. Remember, the open day is not an interview - it is your chance to ‘interview’ the college or university staff and decide whether it is the right place for you!
An open day can be daunting; it may be far away from your home and stir feelings of anxiety that ‘this is really happening’. Bring people who will be able to support you in your decisions, such as parents, carers, or trusted family members. Some prospective students also choose to bring friends. Bear in mind that this is a big decision for your parents/carers too - especially if they are helping out with your finances while you are studying - so they may want to see the campus facilities with you. Whoever you decide to bring along, the most important point is that you get to know the place and ask any questions you might have.
The day may feel overwhelming so it is best to write down questions in advance and have them handy. The list can be split into two key topics: academic and social. Some of the things you may want to know more about are listed below.
1. How will my course be assessed?
2. How much contact time will I have with my lecturer/tutor?
3. Is there extra student support if needed?
4. Is there an option to do a ‘sandwich year’?
Social questions (good to ask current students)
1. How much does accommodation cost locally?
2. What is the student union like?
3. What is the social/nightlife like?
4. Is there a gym or sports facilities?
1. What are food prices like on campus?
2. Is there help with available part time jobs?
3. Does the campus have onsite doctors and a support network?
4. Are there any societies to join?
5. Are there any laundry facilities in the accommodation?
You may feel overwhelmed with choices so you might find it helpful to write a list of pros and cons to compare and contrast with other colleges/universities. Talk to the people you went with to get their opinion and look over all the reading material you picked up during the day. If you are still unsure about the college/university, you may be able to arrange a second viewing during term-time or a direct call with one of your potential lecturers to help you make a final decision.