If you’re thinking about going to university, you’ll find yourself offered opportunities to attend some open days or applicant days. These are super important as they’ll give you a feel of what each place is really like. Behind the flashy websites and official rankings, there are real cities, each with their own character. Only by visiting them will you know whether a particular location is right for you. My open days helped me out immensely when it came to making the decision of where to study, so in this post I’ll talk about my experiences as best as I can remember them (they were 4 years ago now, I feel old!).
Applying for 5 different universities meant travelling to 5 different cities in our wonderful country, which my family and I turned into little day trips where we’d go and spend the day seeing what each city was like, as well as learning about the universities of course. It gives you a reason to go and visit cities that you’ve never seen before.
There are certain questions to keep in mind during open days to help you make your decision. For example, although some places offer stunning views, not all can guarantee university-managed accommodation to all undergraduate applicants who choose them as their first choice. As I was keen on staying in halls, I wanted to make sure that this would be possible for me wherever I ended up.
Exploring the cities’ shopping areas can give a great idea of how you might spend your free time and evenings in each location. Everywhere has its unique feel, and you’ll also want to take the layout of each campus into consideration. The UK has some beautiful cities with interesting architecture, but for me it ultimately came down to campus-convenience. At some of the universities I visited, their campuses were spread out across large cities, which in some cases meant bus trips would be necessary to get to lectures. For this reason, one thing I looked for during open days was how convenient everyday life would be for me, in terms of travelling between lectures and my accommodation.
Your open day experiences will shape your perception of each university, and give you a gut-feeling of which ones you like, and which you might prefer to avoid (would typos in their PowerPoints like the one in the photo above put anyone else off, or was I overly fussy? Most probably the latter).
It’s important that you end up somewhere that you’ll be happy, and from my experience open days were what helped me to make the right decision. My open day in Plymouth, as well as my subsequent applicant day, filled me with confidence that it was the right place to study. Everything from the enthusiastic friendliness of the student ambassadors to the compact and convenient campus contributed to my decision. I was reassured by the guarantee of university-managed halls, and the city itself seemed like such a pleasant and friendly place. The free pasty helped too!
There’s a number of factors you’ll want to consider when choosing which University is right for you, so I’d recommend making a mental list of what’s important to you. With this, you’ll be able to work out whether you’ll be happy somewhere. Open days were well worth it for me, so use the opportunity to get out there and visit as many places as you can, especially Plymouth!
Talk soon people,