It’s just about coming up to that time of year where thousands of A-level students will be visiting different cities and universities all over the UK to try and make the difficult decision of choosing who you’re going to give £9,000 a year to for a degree. There are a million things to take into account when making up your mind and a lot of things to be cautious of. It’s important to note that even if you do pick the wrong university and don’t realise until you’re actually there, you can always change unis – you’re never trapped by your decision. So here are some really useful tips for you to use when you’re planning and attending open days.
1 – Don’t go to open days at unis that you know you have no intention of going to. Travelling in the UK is really expensive.
2 – Don’t rule the uni in your hometown out. Sure you might want to get as far away from home as possible, but financially, you’d be better off living closer to your family and you wouldn’t have to endure lengthy train journeys a few times a semester.
3 – Don’t be wooed by impressive league table scored and ratings. Unless you want to work in a highly competitive field, don’t look at the uni’s ranking. Statistics don’t show the full picture and there are so many more important things to consider.
4 – Keep an eye on the existing students. Most open days have students there to help out and direct the visitors and they’re a good indication of the type of crowd the uni attracts. If they’re all really unfriendly or stuck-up, that could say something about the other students.
5 – Meet your potential future lecturers. Think to yourself if you could picture yourself learning from them. You’re much more likely to attend lectures if you actually like your lecturer.
6 – Try to picture yourself there. This really goes back to the whole gut-feeling thing but if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
7 – Download YikYak. YikYak is an anonymous forum app that allows you to see posts from other users who are currently in the city you’re in. Once you get to the city, download the app and search for “____ university” and see if you still like the look of the uni. The most brutal but honest opinions come from YikYak.
8 – Don’t pay too much attention to the open day visitors. If you think the other potential applicants look a bit strange, don’t be too put off as they might not be applying to that uni. Also, people can feel nervous on open days so don’t judge them too much.
9 – Explore the local area a little. It’s all well and good being at a top university but if there’s nothing to do in the local area, you’re not going to be making the most out of student life. This doesn’t just mean that you should count how many pubs there are, it also means things like cafes, outdoor areas and attractions.
10 – YouTube. Many YouTubers are also uni students and they often post their honest opinions about their uni in their videos. Here’s a few to get you started: