Choosing the right university for you is probably one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Although the academic side is important, you should also think about facilities, financial support and the social side of things. These aspects - and many more - will all contribute towards your learning experience as a whole.
Attending an open day is one of the best ways to discover whether a potential university offers exactly what you’re looking for. If you’ve got any university visits down in the diary, our ultimate open day checklist will help you make sure you learn all there is to know on the day.
1. Campus facilities
Looking around the campus will give you a real feel for the place. Taking a campus tour should help you decide whether it’s the place for you. Make sure to check out the facilities which are specific to the course you wish to study, as well as the canteen and anything else the university has to offer.
2. Course structure
Take the time to ask questions about course structure, modules and content. If you know exactly what it is you’ll be learning, you will find it a lot easier to choose where to study. Don’t only think about topics you think you’ll enjoy learning about, but also if the taught topics are relevant to the career you wish to pursue.
3. Teaching staff
Talking to course leaders and other academics related to your area of interest will help you gage what your learning experience will be like. Think of any questions you might want to ask beforehand. Finding out about typical class sizes and teaching methods can be useful.
4. Social aspects
If you’re hoping to enjoy the social aspects of university as well as the academic parts, don’t be afraid to ask about clubs and societies, local amenities and the student experience in general. There’s no denying that the recreational side of things is of interest to many students– if it’s important to you, it’s always worth finding out more.
Your timetable may or may not be of particular importance to you at open day stage, but if you’re planning on working while you study it’s a good idea to start planning as soon as possible. Finding out how many in-class hours your timetable consists of will help you get a head start with organising your other commitments.
6. Student support
Student support may be something that you feel you can benefit from for any number of reasons. Any good university will have a solid student support system in place for anyone with worries, concerns or specific issues. Don’t forget to find out what kinds of support will be available to you – you may be pleasantly surprised by what’s on offer.
7. Financial support
Another kind of support – financial. If money is one of your main concerns when it comes to studying, it’s vital to find out what kind of financial support is available to you, from loans and grants through to bursaries. Getting more information can help you decide what the most realistic option for you is when it comes to money.
Perhaps one of the most boring considerations, but relevant nonetheless: how accessible is the university for you. Remember, if you’re having to travel there every week, it’s better not to have to travel for many hours. Check whether public transport links are sufficient, or whether parking is provided. (Of course, distance learning is always a viable alternative, too!)
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