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14th September 2023
by Emma McGuinness (Level 7 careers advisor)
Since the end of the pandemic, many universities in the UK have reopened for in-person open days. However there are still opportunities for vitual events which can be more accessible for prospective students who are interested in universities that are further afield.
In-person open days are starting as soon as the 14th of September with Ulster University. There are a large amount of university open days being held in September and October as UCAS applications open. The deadline for Oxbridge and medicine applications for 2024 is the 16th of October 2023 so any applicants interested in Oxford or Cambridge should consider the 15th September open days. Medicine applicants should also consider checking OpenDays.com for open days being held before the 16th of October.
While the number of virtual events being held has decreased significantly, there are still options such as the London Metropolitan virutal event on September 26th. Leeds Arts virtual event on September 30th or University of Stirling virtual event on October 4th.
Most universities also host offer-holder days which are by invite only to those applicants who receive offers from the university. These tend to be held later in the year after universities release their offers to applicants and are a great way for prospective students to narrow down their choices.
These events are held at the university in person, where prospective students can meet current students, department staff, get a tour of the campus and visit accommodation. These events usually provide the most in-depth and interactive experience.
Taster Days - also sometimes referred to as Information Events or Subject/Course/Department Open Days -are either a full day or morning or afternoon session, giving students the opportunity to find out about the specific subject they are hoping to study with the chance to ask questions, meet students and talk to teaching staff. These events are particularly useful to gain subject insights prior to writing personal statements and faculty staff may be able to provide guidance on what they are looking for. Do ask!
In-person student-led campus tours.
Here prospective applicants can look around the campus in person, guided by current students. These are a good way to find out what student life is really like and what the university offers beyond academic study. The downside is that tours usually don’t provide opportunities to visit specific departments or courses.
Offer holder days
These invite-only events for students holding an offer from the university enable prospective students to take part in some course-specific activities and spend time with current students, leaders and faculty staff. Another great opportunity to ask questions about the course, accommodation, scholarships and more.
Pre-recorded virtual events
Recordings of previous open days which can be watched at any time are a very easy way to get a flavour of the university, although these don’t provide the opportunity to interact and ask questions. Recorded campus tours can also give a sense of the university campus and sometimes the wider location – city, town etc.
Live virtual Open days
These online events usually happen in real-time and do give the opportunity to interact and ask questions.
As each individual university could be offering a different combination of online or in-person events and, as these are likely to fall into fairly similar categories, but not always with the same name, some detective work may be required!
OpenDays.com is a great place to find out what is on offer from universities this year and whether an event is in person or online. For taster days have a look at Uni Taster Days. Individual university websites will have information and it’s a good idea to follow a university's Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feed for updates.
Finally, to make the most of online or in-person events, it’s best to come well prepared. What Uni? and UCAS both have a useful series of articles as well some downloadable question lists for different areas of university life including accommodation, daily costs, societies, sports, course specifics and future career opportunities.
Enjoy and make the most of it!