Sunday, 20 October 2013

A University Open Day Guide.

Hi Everyone!

It's that time of the year when the new lot of students head off to university and enjoy what is the next chapter of their lives. I'm sure there are plenty of people recovering from freshers week and getting into their studies (well, maybe not the latter) but university life is something most of us will hopefully experience. 
I'm currently in my second year of sixth form which means that in a years time I'm going to be one of those 'students' and going to uni. Woah, that's quite scary thinking about it. As well as a lot of you, I'm at the stage where I've been to university open days and trying to figure which one I bloomin' want to go to! There's so many things to consider: the course, the location, the facilities and the nightlife...c'mon I'm sure you won't deny that that is a main concern.
I have visited four universities as part of their open days. These universities are Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield Hallam and Leeds and I must say I'm really struggling to choose. However, I think that if I didn't go to the open days offered, I'd be in a bigger predicament than I am now so I'm hoping to give you budding students a small guide to what I recommend about open days consisting of what you should do, why you should do it and even what you should wear. Whether you're in the same position as me, in the middle of visiting universities or even in you first year of sixth form or college, hopefully this guide will help you on your way to university!

Plan your day.
Many universities often send you an email with their own open day guide or send you one in the post. I would highly recommend you planning your day out with the sessions and lectures you want go to. Even if you don't exactly stick to that plan, you'll still have a rough idea of what you want to do. There's usually a section at the back where you can plan it so start with your subject lectures: write the time and where it is, then fill it in with the talks you want to go to, e.g accommodation, student life etc. Try and follow your plan as much as you can and you'll find your day will run more smoothly.

Be on time.
Open days are very busy so I would arrive for you talks at least 15 minutes before they start as they can be overcrowded and you may end up missing them, which will then push your schedule back. In some cases, you may not be able to make it for 15 minutes before which is fine, it's not the end of the world! It happened to me, but if the talk you're going to is not the most important then it's alright to just miss that one.

Talk to students.
Around the campus there are always student ambassadors. They are amazing! They know exactly what you're going through and give the best advice. Talk to them about accommodation, student life and your course. It's always good to hear how someone feels about the course you're going to study because they can give their own personal experience to you and maybe explain it a bit better!

Go to the Union.
The Union was one of the places that I most wanted to go to at the open day. As well as your course, you need to get a feel of the university and what it has to offer for students. Go into the union, have a walk around and again, talk to students! It's always good to find out what you can get involved in and what facilities there are.

Walk around the city.
As well as the university itself, getting a feel of the city is really important. If you have time in between sessions or even after the open day is finished, go into town and have a wander. Have a look around the city to see if you get a vibe where you can picture yourself living there. Have a look at the restaurants, nightclubs and most importantly, the shops!

View some accommodation.
I viewed some of the accommodation when I went to Sheffield and Leeds and I must say I was very impressed. Going to visit some of the residences gave me more of an idea of what it would be like to live there. In Sheffield, a current first year student took us round her flat and in Leeds there were some flats open and some students talked us through what there was to offer. In Leeds, the accommodation had a common room, washing machine area etc. Some have gyms and other facilities too which is very handy! Definitely go and see some of the accommodation if you can!

Be prepared for all sorts of weather.
Okay, so this is slightly different to the normal university tips but it's an essential! When you're at open days you're most likely going to be walking round outside for most of the day. When I was at the Newcastle, Manchester and Sheffield open days, the weather was actually really nice, the sun was out but there was a little chill in the air, even though it didn't bother me I still wrapped up wearing a jacket and scarf with my outfit which was just good enough. However, when I went to Leeds, it was pouring with rain! Make sure you bring an umbrella etc, just incase!

Wear sensible shoes.
Right, this is reaaaally important! You're going to be walking round all day, and that's a lot of walking! When I went to Newcastle, my mam wore the wrong shoes. By the end of the day, her feet were aching and she completely regretted wearing them. It' safe to say, the next week she stuck with the flats and powered on! Wear shoes that you know and trust will be comfortable for you to walk around all day in and don't pick ones that don't, cause that won't be the best choice ;-)

So, that was a little 'top tips' for open days. I hope it helped and I want to wish a huge good luck to anyone who is applying to university and I really hope you get the choices you want and hope everything goes well for you! If you want me to do more of these little guide posts then let me know in the comments below! Hope you all have a lovely Sunday evening and week ahead and I'll speak to you all soon!

Charlotte xxx