How to Make the Most of a University Open Day
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How to Make the Most of a University Open Day

Open days are a good opportunity to learn about the facilities, courses and accommodation available at UK universities, giving students and parents the peace of mind that they’re choosing the right place to study. Even if you’re an international student, we’d recommend attending a few open days if you can, as it will help you make an informed choice on the university that’s right for you.

When it comes to choosing the right uni, online research will only get you so far. It’s important to look around and get a feel for the campus and the area, as it may appear different to what you were expecting.

That said, attending open days can be overwhelming, with huge amounts of information to take on board and a hectic campus to navigate. For that reason, we’ve put together a guide on making the most of a university open day, including an Open Day Planner you can download and print for use on the day.


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  1. Preparing and Planning
  2. On the Day
  3. What to Ask


Preparing and Planning


Preparation is key to the success of an open day visit and will help alleviate the stress of getting around. Here are our top tips on planning ahead for a university open day.

Know where you’re going

Universities are often located in the middle of bustling cities and towns, so it pays to do your research on how to get there, as things can quickly get stressful. If possible, travel by public transport as this will alleviate the hassle of finding somewhere to park. You should also take advantage of directions published by the university, as they’ll know the best ways to reach campus.

Get to know the campus site

The second hurdle you face is finding your way around a bustling, and potentially vast, university campus. With course presentations and accommodation tours taking place in different areas throughout the day, you need to get your bearings quickly. Head to the university’s website to download and print a campus map to take with you on the day.

Sign-up and book in advance

University open days are often oversubscribed, so you should sign-up and book your place on tours and meetings in advance.

Plan the timings of your day

Course presentations and tours are available throughout the day, so make sure you plan your day ahead of time and check out all the different courses you’re interested in. The university should publish a programme of events and where they’re taking place for you to print and take on the day.

Have a checklist of what you want to find out

From course information to accommodation options, open days are your chance to get your questions answered. Sketch out a list of things you want to know in advance; our Open Day Planner can help you get the information you need.

Attending a University Open Day This Spring? Click to Download Our Print-and-Keep Planner


On the Day


Open days let universities showcase their courses, departments, facilities and services, so students and parents can find out all they need to know about life on campus. There are various events you can attend to explore the university and its course offering, and we’d recommend making time for at least one of the following on the day.

Subject talks and department visits

For course information and structure, make sure you attend dedicated subject talks, which are often overseen by the department. These often take place in lecture theatres, and give students and parents an idea of the course content, entry requirements and alumni career potential.

Open day sampler sessions

For those looking for a hands-on experience of university life, some colleges now offer sampler sessions as part of their open day offering. These short sessions can take the form of lectures, seminars or practical work, and are a great way of helping students decide if a particular course is right for them.

Finance talks

For course information and structure, make sure you attend dedicated subject talks, which are often overseen by the department. These often take place in lecture theatres, and give students and parents an idea of the course content, entry requirements and alumni career potential.

Campus tours

For those looking for a hands-on experience of university life, some colleges now offer sampler sessions as part of their open day offering. These short sessions can take the form of lectures, seminars or practical work, and are a great way of helping students decide if a particular course is right for them.

Free time to explore

Where you live is important, so make time to explore by yourself away from the campus and get a feel for the student areas.


What to Ask


Whether you’re an eager student or a concerned parent, open days are the perfect platform on which to get your questions answered. Here, we offer a few sample questions you should ask on a university open day.

On the course and study:

  • How many hours of lectures and seminars will I attend a week?
  • What does the course cover?
  • How much of the course is essay-based and how much is exam-based?
  • How many people are in each seminar group?
  • What are the deadlines like and how flexible are they?
  • What type of careers have previous students gone into after their studies?
  • Are there placement opportunities, or the chance to work abroad?
  • Do you think a combined course is worth it?
  • What university facilities can I access as part of my degree?

On university life:

  • What is the area around campus like? Is it safe?
  • Which are the best areas outside campus to live?
  • Am I entitled to receive a bursary or any other financial support?
  • What is the enrolling process like for international students?
  • Where can I sign up for a doctor and a dentist?

These are just some of the questions you may want to ask as part of an upcoming university open day. It’s important that both students and parents sit down and think about what they want to know, and jot down a list of points to clear up on the day.

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