A Student’s Guide to Open Days


The year was 2017. A hundred questions in my head, a notebook in hand and a friend with me for support, I rushed into my first open day almost an hour late. At the end of the day, I left with a bag full of goodies (always a win) and a sense of excitement for the future, but now I had a hundred and one questions in my head. This blog will give you the information I wish I had, supporting you to get the most out of your open day experience.

How to prepare for your open day

So, you’re wanting to know more about a university, a particular course, or just looking to see if university is for you. Attending an open day is one of the best ways to get all this information.

The first thing you want to do is register yourself and other guests for the open day which you can do via the university’s websites. They will send you the information you need in advance, such as parking or public transport. Open days can be great fun, but its normal to be nervous. You can ask people you trust like your friends, family or guardians to go with you on the day. It’s great to have questions about the university, course or city you will be studying in, but make sure to write them down somewhere you can find them on the day. This saves the dreaded realisation at 9pm that night that you forgot to ask a burning question. Think about what is important to you. Do you want to know about the university’s social life, what work experience opportunities they have, or maybe what pastoral support is available? You can ask others to contribute to your question list, and a quick google search will bring up plenty of examples.

Plan your day in advance. Think about how you are going to get there and how long it will take. If you are travelling by train, you could save money by using a railcard. If you are going to a university far from home, then you may want to stop the night. If so, book your accommodation before you get there. Don’t forget to factor in time before you head home if you want to explore the area after the open day.

On the day

You’ve arrived on time, with a list of questions to ask. What should you do now?

  • Make sure you have your booking ready. This could be sent as a QR code or a ticket to your email/phone number. Don’t worry too much if you can’t find this, but having it ready will help to speed up the process of getting in.
  • Attend talks with the lecturers. These talks will give you valuable insight into what your course involves and gives you the opportunity to ask questions to the people who will be teaching you.
  • Go on a campus tour. These are usually led by student ambassadors, meaning you can ask questions about student life to people who are currently experiencing it. Each university will have a range of different facilities, and having a campus tour will showcase the highlights. If you are interested in moving away from home whilst studying, make sure to ask to see the university’s halls of residence to help you to weigh up your living options.
  • If you have time, it’s a great idea to have a look around the general location, as this will impact your overall student experience. Try and find a nice café for lunch, a park if the weather is nice or a wander round the shops. Imagine yourself as a student and consider if you would like to live here for potentially 3+ years.
  • Everybody loves a freebie, and most open days will offer some form of free gift. Make sure to grab yourself some as this may save you money on things such as stationery for your first day.
  • After your open day

    You’ve had a busy day, and hopefully some thoughts on your visit. Take a moment to reflect on the university. Make a list on what you liked and any concerns you have. Have you thought of questions on the way home from the open day? Write these down for future open days so you don’t forget next time. It’s normal to be apprehensive of the next steps, so don’t worry if you are still unsure on your choices. You may want to speak through your thoughts with a trusted person but remember that ultimately it is your decision on where to apply.

    Your future is in your hands, what are you waiting for? Make the first step and book your open day. You’ve got this!

    Blog content written by Aysha Arisoy