Top questions to ask at university open days

If you’re feeling a little apprehensive ahead of an open day for your potential university, don’t worry – you’re not alone. It’s natural to want to make a great first impression as you simultaneously try to gather as much useful information as possible.

When you’re getting yourself organised for your trip, consider the following key questions – it could help put those nerves at ease and allow you to have a day that’s as productive as it is exciting…

What is the university’s selection process?

You may be confident that you’ll achieve the required grades for your course, but if there are limited spaces and many promising candidates, how do they whittle it down and separate the successful from the unsuccessful? Each university will have its own methods and criteria when it comes to selecting students, and it’s good to know in advance what you’re up against.

What is something they always look for in a candidate?

It goes without saying that most students will do all they can to be the perfect candidate for their chosen university. Before you can make sure your choice is really the best path for you though, you need to fathom exactly what it is they want out of their students. If they have similar values to you, you may already carry all the skills and traits necessary to continue your education with them.

What have other students gained after completing your course?

There’s nothing like a success story to inspire you to be the best you can be. Ask the university where their past students are now. How did the course benefit them? What were the most valuable skills they gained? How will the course help shape you for the working world once you graduate? Getting a taster of what’s to come is sure to give you a gut feeling, one way or another, about the course.

What are the perks of living in the area?

The university is obviously a vital factor to take into consideration, but what about the city? If it has a vibrant community with plenty to offer, it will really make a difference to your overall experience. After all, you’re going to be living there for three of the most exciting years of your life. Don’t be afraid to ask about as much of the surrounding area as possible.

What kind of societies can you get involved with?

Societies are such a fun and uplifting part of uni life. They allow you to make friends, learn new skills and relieve yourself of stress. If you have a particular hobby or interest you’d love to expand on at uni, be sure to ask them whether there’s a suitable society for you to join. If there isn’t one, who knows – you may even be able to start it up yourself!

Are there good opportunities for placements and work experience?

One of the best ways to gain valuable knowledge that will be of genuine use to you when you graduate is to get work experience. If a university proactively encourages work experience, it understands the value of placements and is likely to be extremely supportive to students. Think about where your dream placement would be and pick the tutors’ brains as much as possible to make sure you’ll be able to get there.

Why should I choose this university over my other choices?

Finally, why not challenge them to sell themselves? Choosing a university is a daunting decision, so anything they can do to make it easier for you will be useful. Look out for universities that show real passion and offer exciting benefits for their students, as well as having incredible courses to choose from. You’re bound to get an accurate overall feel for the university when you ask them this one.

A place to start…

A great place to start on your search for a uni is the University of Sunderland. It’s in a thriving city and specialises in a wide range of subjects – not to mention the free transport across the North East available to many new students. Some courses even come with free accommodation in the first year and there are a range of scholarships on offer.

To find out more, head to Sunderland’s next undergraduate open days on Saturday 22 September and Saturday 13 October. It might just change your life!

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