Preparing your visit

Book your place

Open days get very busy, so be sure to plan ahead and reserve your place. This is easily done via the Internet.

Most open days take place in the summer and latter part of the year. You can find out when open days are scheduled, and how to book, by looking at the websites of your chosen universities.

The more universities you see, the better. Remember, if you come away from an open day with a negative feeling about the university, this can be a good thing: it helps you to narrow down your choice, and sharpens your insight into what you are really looking for.

Take a friend (or a parent)

You can attend an open day on your own – but you may get more from it if you go with someone else. Many (in fact, most) prospective students go with their parents; they will be a liability, will ask the tour guides embarrassing questions, and are likely to become skittishly over-enthusiastic, but they have their uses.

The advantage of going with someone else is that, together, you can make sure you find the answers to all the questions you need to ask. It is also helpful to exchange views and impressions as you tour around, and to discuss matters you are not sure about.

Getting there

The university will provide you with directions – for public transport, parking, registration, and so forth. A point to note, however, is that open days at popular universities may be attended by many thousands of people. So leave plenty of time, and book your seat on a train or coach ahead of the day.

What to wear

Anything you like (think 'student'). This is not an interview.

Wear whatever is comfortable, particularly on your feet – there's a lot of walking to be done. And take wet-weather gear, as much of this walking is likely to be in the open air, across the campus.

A bag or small backpack can also be useful, as you are likely to accumulate a lot of literature. And remember to take a pen and paper (to note down tips, such as the best halls of residence).

Food and drink

 Usually the universities make available some or all of the dining (and snacking) facilities that are available to students. This is a good opportunity to test them out. But remember, they are likely to be very busy at peak times.

Useful websites

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service): www.ucas.ac.uk
Aimhigher, a student portal initiated by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES): www.aimhigher.ac.uk

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