University Open Days
Research, research, research, it is what your teachers are telling you, it is what your parents are telling you and it is what we are telling you. Going to university is a massive decision and you need to make sure you are making the right choice for you. One of the best ways of getting all the information you need is by going to university open days. This way you will be able to see behind the scenes, as a universities prospectus is really going to show you only the best bits.
When you find yourself at one of these open days, what should you be looking out for? And what questions should you be asking to make sure this is the right university for you?
You will of course be taken on a tour of the best facilities the university has to offer, but make sure you take a little wander around on your own too. Are all of the lecture halls/ labs/ art studios up to scratch? Depending on your course you will be looking for different things, if you are taking art/design, what materials are supplied? How expensive is it to purchase from the university? If you think you’ll be in a lecture hall for most of your lessons, will you have one on one time with your tutor? How well will they be able to personally help you? These are all questions you need to have in your head before you arrive.
This may have already been outlined on the website and prospectus but it is a pretty important part of university. Are you really getting what you are paying for? It is always a good idea to ask existing students what they do for part time work. Are there a lot of opportunities for students to work in town? Find out if bursaries or extra financial help is available to you and how you can go about applying for this extra help.
Make sure you have checked out all the locations of accommodation and all the different rooms that are on offer. Check what is included in your rent and most importantly how fast is the WiFi! Take a look around the common room and launderette to make sure you would be happy living there.
Think about how close the accommodation is to the university, supermarkets and night life. If you think you will need to rely on public transport check out how frequent buses and trains are. Get talking to students who already commute to university to see how good/bad it actually is.
Student Union Activities
A good way to get a feel of a university is to take a look at the activities they offer. If you are a sporty person, do they have lots of different clubs you could get involved in? Likewise if you are into your music, are there band societies full of likeminded people? Grab yourself a copy of the university’s student newspaper and check out the events that are going on. Again, it is good to talk to students about how easy they found it to make friends and is the university at all cliquey.
At the end of the day, you are embarking on your degree to expand on your learning and get a good job at the end. Check out some employment figures, how many graduates from that university got a job at the end of their degree? How long did it take them? When you are speaking to tutors it is good to ask if they require you to undertake work experience as part of your degree. If you pop into the career department you can ask what opportunities they have for graduates but also if they receive any information about part time jobs you could apply for.
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