My first proper University Diary entry was about starting points, and I talked about going to open days, but I wanted to be a bit more specific in this post. For some of you, you may not have ever been to an open day before, and you might not know what kind of questions to ask, so I thought I’d just give you a bit of a run down of the types of things you should expect from an open day. (I am a tour guide on open days at Winchester University so I kind of know what I’m talking about!)
Firstly, don’t worry if you don’t have any questions. If you think of one when you get back home, then that’s not a problem either. With the amount of prospectuses and flyers and other bits of paper, you will have an email address or phone number on there somewhere, so all you need to do is file through all your stuff and send the university an email. This also applies if you’re like me and you don’t like asking questions in front of big groups of people.
If you’re going to your first ever open day soon, and you’re worried about getting lost, then don’t worry: when you get to the city, there will be sign posts up, and if you happen to miss these sign posts, then just stop and ask someone. When you actually get closer to the university campus, there will be more and more signs pointing you in the right direction, so there’s little to worry about! And if you find yourself lost on campus, then just ask someone. (There seems to be a running theme here…)
I think asking questions is the most important thing to do on open days, because its a chance for you to really get a feel for the place. The tour guides and ambassadors and the staff are there to give you information, and most of the people you will meet will be students (like myself) so they can give you their own personal experience. I think talking to students is probably the most beneficial thing, because talking to lecturers can get a bit… I don’t know… “samey”. But if you happen to, I don’t know, come to the next Winchester University open day this coming Saturday and you happen to get a tour by me, then I will be 100% honest, because I’m being paid to try and get students to choose our university. I’m not going to say “oh it’s amazing because this and this and this” and basically lie to your face. As a student myself, I’ve already been through the open day/application experience so I have first hand knowledge about the whole thing. So even if you don’t come to Winchester, just ask the students.
By the time you’ve made your top 5 decisions, you’ll probably have half a rain forest’s worth of paper due to all the booklets and pamphlets and cards you got as freebies. Always go for the freebies. They have more information on than you’d think. So take as many as possible, because when it comes to making the ultimate decision as to which university should be your top choice, you may need to look back through all of the things you collected on the open day visits.
I think that’s everything I have to say about open days… if you have any questions, you know what to do!