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How to get the most out of an Open Day

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“I wish I’d asked that!”

We’ve all done it; arrived home from an open day and suddenly remembered that killer question that would have made the difference between choosing a university and looking elsewhere. Don’t worry though, there’s a sure-fire way to avoid this happening to you: planning ahead.

Open days are jam-packed with talks, tours and opportunities to meet your future lecturers and check out the facilities. To make sure you get the most from the day, some simple forward planning is key.

Open Day campus

First of all, make sure you register! We’ll then send you a link to the programme via email so you know exactly what is happening on the day and you can plan ahead in three areas:

  • What questions should I ask?
  • What sessions should I attend?
  • What do I want to see?

Questions, questions, questions!

Write down the questions you have about the university, location and course. These will be different for everyone but some examples are:

  • How far is the university from home?
  • Do you like the city?
  • What is the cost of living?
  • How is the course assessed – coursework? Exams? Practicals?
  • What will your timetable look like?
  • Does this change as you progress through the course?
  • Are there any placement options?
  • How big are the class sizes?
  • What careers are open to graduates?

Our friendly staff and students will be happy to help you and will spend as much time with you as you need. If you can’t get the exact information you need right away, we’ll be happy to take your contact details and get back to you with an answer as soon as we can.

You still might think of some questions when you get home, so make sure you take a pen and pad to jot down the contact details of the people you speak to. Still want to know more? No problem, hit us up on live chat or social media.    

Which sessions to attend?

There’s so much to see at an open day, we recommend that you go to the talks that interest you the most to avoid information overload.

Our Open Day programme details every talk, tour and subject session. The subject sessions are delivered twice – once in the morning and once in the afternoon, so you don’t have to worry about the media talk clashing with the important student finance and scholarships talk.

Is there a secondary subject you’re interested in? If you want to study psychology, for example, you might also want to check out the sociology and criminology talks. You never know, you might just fall in love with a subject you hadn’t considered before.

If you can’t go to every session you want to, you can always grab a prospectus and more detailed course information at the many information stands – there’s one for each subject area. 

See beyond seeing

You’ll potentially be spending at least three years at the university you choose, so you need to know you feel at home there and are happy with the facilities. Many of our subject sessions include a tour of the teaching spaces, so you can check out the Design studio, Informatics Centre, Media Centre and many more of our excellent facilities. 

There’s more to university than your course as well. What do you really want from your university experience? If you want to stay in halls, then an accommodation tour is essential. At Sunderland, we run the tours several times a day and give you the opportunity to get a feel for the accommodation options available. You’ll be shown around by a Student Ambassador so you can be sure you get the low down on what it’s really like.

If you’re focused on getting as much experience as possible, make sure you visit the Careers and Employability stand, so they can fill you in on the many ways we help you become more employable – masterclasses, mentoring, internships and much more.

Don’t forget to visit the Library too. There’s a quiet study zone, modern group working areas, areas to practice your presentations, smart boards, PCs and Macs and even coffee for those long study sessions.

Into fitness and wellbeing? Don’t forget to have a look around the CitySpace gym and fitness facility. It has a sports hall and a 70-station fitness suite, so all your fitness needs should be covered.

"I attended a University open day which had a welcoming feel, and I was able to meet lectures and current students. The day gave me all the information I needed and ultimately made my decision to study at the University of Sunderland. "

Connor Smith
BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching graduate

Bonus tip

Bring your parents. They can chill out in the Friends and Family Zone with free tea, coffee and Wi-Fi, or come with you too on the various talks and tours. Parents can give valuable insight and a second opinion, so ask them for their thoughts on what you’ve seen on the day. Best of all? They’ll pay for lunch.

So there you have it. With a bit of planning, we’re sure you can maximise your Open Day experience.

Published: 4 March 2020

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