Over the next few months many prospective students will be attending university open days, travelling up and down the country, and even abroad, inspecting many different institutions.

Selecting the right university is an intricate and often stressful process. After all you will be spending three (or more) years here and unfortunately racking up a large student debt in the process! Consequently feeling comfortable and happy in your new study and living environment is essential.

Over the next few months many prospective university students will be attending open days, travelling up and down the country, and even abroad, inspecting many different institutions.

To give a helping hand we have compiled a list of ways to get the most out of a university open day.

Check out the accommodation


Your student digs will be one of the most important aspects of university life. Ending up stuck in a tiny room 10 miles away from the campus not ideal and could leave you isolated from course mates and activities available on campus.

The cost is also an essential factor. Look at not just first year accommodation but average rent costs for the area. Rates vary hugely across the UK, in Leeds you could be paying £75 per week while London prices can be more than double this. Weigh up how far your finances will stretch, and is this a worthwhile expenditure…

When looking around the university ensure you take time to take a trip to 1st year accommodation. It’s not worth chancing it!

Transport links


Look into important features of local transport links including; how much does it cost? Or are there any student discounts? For example, in Brighton students are eligible for free travel on many bus services and in London student Oyster cards provide huge savings.

Some open days may clash

Most universities hold their main open days in September and October (see list below). As a result there may be clashes between two universities you wish to view. But don’t fret! Almost all UK universities accommodate for this and extra tours can be booked simply by contacting their administration office.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions


At many of these events current students are charged with escorting prospective 1st years around the campus. It is their job to answer questions so ask away! After all who knows the university better than the students themselves?

Look at as many different universities as possible


No university can be accurately explored from a computer keyboard. While their websites will contain a plethora of information on courses, accommodation and fees; you will only be able to make a proper judgement by visiting in person.

Although this could eat up a lot of your weekend, it is worth putting in the hours!

Pay particular attention to the relevant subject department


So the university has a great history library, state of the art Physics lab and an impressive drama theatre. However, this is of little use if you are not planning to study science, history or dramatic art. Although these are fantastic additions to your university experience, ensure you concentrate on your own subject department’s facilities as this is where you are likely to be spending most of your time.

Night life


Okay, so the main point of university is to get a good degree, after all it’s costing you £9,000! However, the social scene is an important aspect of the university experience. Make sure you take the time to check out the night life and weekend activities. Unwinding after a week of lectures is a student essential.

Dates for the diary

UCL open day: Saturday 10th September

Sheffield: Saturday 22 October 2016

Bristol: 9th September

Leeds: Saturday 10th September & Saturday 8th October

Oxford: Friday 16th September

UCAS last submission: 15th January 2016 – Deadline for receipt at UCAS of all applications, including the UCAS reference, for all courses except those with a 15 October deadline, and Art & Design courses with a 24 March deadline.



Photos: Shutterstock/ Jorge Salcedo, Alexander Raths, Jorge Salcedo, Photographee.eu, Anna Omelchenko, Robert Kneschke