Thursday, 7 March 2019

Your Ultimate Guide To Looking Around Universities

With the exams, the revision, and your busy life, there’s not much time to squeeze in going to look around all the different universities you might want to. However, they do all hold open days which are great to attend (take that from my recent experience!), and if you ask the right questions and look for the right things, then you’ll be able to get the most out of it - I can assure you!

On an open day, it might be your only chance to visit the university before you become a student, so make sure to take advantage of every moment. You need to fully explore, ask questions and take it all in.
Going to visit will help you to find out what you are unlikely to discover from a prospectus or any prior internet research, but keep in mind that on open days, universities are showing you their best and trying to sell themselves to you. As long as you’re aware of this, you can try to look below the surface, and be a bit more realistic.

There will be tours that you can go on at the university open days with tour guides who can show you around the campus. They will show you around the different and relevant departments and allow you to take a look at what accommodation is available. This will show you what the university is like first-hand, and you can ask the tour guide plenty of questions along the way.

There will also be different talks going on during the day that you can attend. These will be a combination of department and course talks as well as general admissions talks. Attend the talks that apply to the course you're interested in to learn more about the university, and what it would actually be like to study there for the coming few years.

After that, you should consider taking yourself off to explore the university to get a feel for what facilities are available. Look at all the educational facilities including libraries and study areas, restaurants and bars - especially the Students' Union, and if you're interested in sports then check out those opportunities too.

If you have the time, it can be beneficial to visit the local town or city as if you do choose to go to that university then you won’t be spending all your time on campus, so you will need to see if the surrounding area will keep you entertained.

Lecturers and other university staff will be on hand to answer your questions, so don't be afraid to ask. Find out if the course you want to study will include some of your specific interests. Find out things like if you'd be able to stay in the accommodation during the holidays.

Find out what the split between seminars and lectures is? How much studying are you expected to do outside of contact time and how much tutor support will you receive? Ask if there are there any extra opportunities around your subject, such as workshops? What happens if you don't meet the grades? Will there still be a chance that you might be offered a place? Should you apply for more than one course from this university? What will make you stand out on your application and will there be interviews before you’re offered a place?

You’ll also want to find out what careers support is there? Where could your degree lead you and how will the university help get you there?

Speak to the other students or Student ambassadors to get a different opinion and outlook of the university. Ask them questions about university life and what it is like to be a student, for example, what has been the best and worst thing about the university for them? Do they enjoy their course, and either way, what is it like? Are the tutors and lecturers on the course inspirational? What is the teaching and support like? Does the local area accommodate for students? What is the student social scene like? Are you happy with your accommodation, and how easy was it to secure? Are there services to help you find accommodation or does the university sort it out for you? For Cardiff Student Accommodation for example, as it is a huge city, there are many options. However, a smaller university may only offer you the choice of two halls. Find out if there some accommodation that is better or worse than others?

Keep an open mind and try and imagine yourself there, can you see it, how does it feel? Some places you will get a good feeling about, and it will feel right, others you’ll know instantly it's not for you, so visiting a few universities is an excellent idea.

Good luck on your journey, and do let me know if there's anything else you would like to know about the experience!

Love and light always,

*This is a collaborative post*

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