student life

How to get the most out of a university open day 

Written by Nigel Simpkins

Your postgraduate or second degree will cost you money and thus you have to ensure that you are getting your education from the right place. Another key reason to choose a university well is that your choice affects the quality of education you get as well as how you enjoy life as a student. One of the key steps you can take before signing up to make sure you get into the right university is attending an open day. To get the most out of an open day, consider the following:

Do Your Research 

Almost all universities have open days. When selecting which ones to attend, you need to do some research first. Take time to select a few that offer the course you want to pursue, have a good reputation and are in a location of your choice. You can make use of sites such as to locate the best university open days to attend. 

Once you have identified a couple of ideal universities, you can go ahead and check their open dates. Universities will normally have all event details on their website. For instance, if you check the Bournemouth University Open Days on their website, you will see the specific dates, an overview of what to expect for that specific Uni, and how to reserve your place. 

Mark the Dates and Review the Timetable

Once you have identified a number of universities, visit each site and mark the open day dates on your calendar. If the university expects you to reserve a place, do so before the slots are full. Finally, review the timetables of what will be taking place during the open day. Mostly, on that day there will be talks and tours. You will have a chance to tour the university to see the facilities and the amenities. There will also be talks touching on academics, finance, accommodation, and other topics. List the talks you don’t want to miss, the time they will be happening, and the place. Having a timetable of events is the best way to avoid missing out on the most important talks and tours. 

Also, don’t forget to plan how you will get to the university, especially if it is in a location you are not familiar with. Know how many hours it takes to get there and the best means of transport to use. 

Have a List of Questions to Ask

Make a list of questions that came up as you were reviewing the courses at the universities. Write them down on a notebook or your phone – don’t assume you will remember. With so much going on that day, you are very likely to forget what you haven’t written down. It could be questions about anything; course content, career opportunities, employment and fun at the university among many others. During the open day, make sure you ask all the questions you have written down as well as those that come up during the day. 

Write Things Down 

Writing things down makes comparison easy when making the final decision. Thus, as you attend talks and take tours, jot down some points that can be helpful in your comparison. Where there are booklets, pick some up for yourself. 


Attending an open day gives you an opportunity to interact with lecturers, current students and other people aspiring to join the university just as you are. Take the time to interact with a number of people throughout the day. Talk to your lecturers about courses and the students about their experience at the university. It could be a good opportunity to create some networks. 

Learn More about Life on Campus

What sports can you play during your free time? Which are the best places to get nice meals? What about societies and clubs on campus? And what about the fun things to do on campus? Learn more about these from the lecturers, students and anyone else who may be of help. 

Tour the Area

Unless you will be taking your degree online, take time to tour the area where the campus is located and familiarise yourself with the town and nearby amenities. Some universities actually do offer town tours during their open day. If you attend one that does, take advantage of the tour. If the tour is not facilitated by the university, make use of maps and give yourself a tour. 

After visiting a couple of open days, sit down and analyse your findings. Go through your notes and highlight the places where you had the best experience. If you still aren’t sure about a university after attending the open day, do more research. You can also call the university if you need more clarity on some issues. You can use the contacts you got during the open day or look some up on the university’s website.