Monday, 24 October 2016

Why go to an Open Day?

It is that time of year again; the leaves are turning orange, the days are getting shorter and UCAS has opened its applications for 2017. That means that there will be lots of students about to embark on their journey into higher education, stopping at lots of open days on the way.

An open day is very basically a day that the University is open for prospective students to look around, talk to staff and students, see the facilities, and ultimately figure out if that is the place for them. They involve a fair amount of walking around, and a total barrage of information, but they are the best way to get a feel for the University and help prospective students make a decision. The bags of freebies make the trip more than worth it; you won’t need to buy pens for years!

Vice-Chancellor Professor Quintin McKellar gives a talk in the auditorium during an Open Day
© University of Hertfordshire

Going to university is a massive decision, and a big commitment, and deciding on the right one is very important. Going to an open day lets you see the University without the blinkers of the prospectus – you see all of it, the nice bits and the not so nice bits. You can talk to actual students, ask them questions and hear about their experiences. You are able to get a sense of how the university works, what the student experience is and see if that matches up to what you want from your degree and time at university.

As well as this, you can also talk to members of staff and ask them details of the course you are interested in. At the University of Hertfordshire, if you register for the open days letting the University know the course you are interested in, they try to make sure someone is on hand that you can talk to about your specific programme. It is really important to speak to the lecturers in your field because they know the ins and outs of the course and can give you an overview of what will be expected of you. There will also be subject talks which will help you understand how you will be assessed, how each year works, what modules you will be doing and if there is any extracurricular activities you can take part in. You can then decide if that is what is best for you. Yes – it is a lot of information, but really helps you make a decision because you know all the factors.

A student ambassador taking visitors on a campus tour. © University of Hertfordshire

At an open day you can also go to more general talks about things like accommodation, student finance, careers services, student well-being, and even the social venues on campus. This is very helpful for both students and their parents; it gives everyone a wider understanding of what goes on at university. You can also go on tours of the campus and tours of the accommodation so you can really see where you will be living and studying. That’s what an open day is about, really getting an understanding of the university and a sense of whether it’s where you want to be.

Regardless of if you decide it is the place for you or not, attending an open day really helps you with your decision making. So best of luck with your university journey, this really is just the beginning. 

Emma Pritchard
Placement Student
Office of the Vice-Chancellor

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