What is an Open Day?
An Open Day is an event run by universities for people who are interested in studying there. Usually they are held on campus but many have become virtual Open Days due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
To put it simply, an Open Day is all about you. It’s your chance to see the campus and meet staff, before you make a decision about which university is your first choice. So take the time to learn all you can and enjoy it.
You can also find out about the town or city where the University is based and look around the different accommodation options if you are thinking of moving away from home.
Good planning can make the day enjoyable and ensure you find answers to all of your questions. This guide is a good place to start your planning.
What is a university Clearing Open Day?
Clearing happens in August every year around the same time as A Level results day. It’s a process that allows you to search for available places across universities if you haven’t got a place or wish to change your course and/or university.
Most universities will run a Clearing Open Day for students who have received a course place through Clearing. It gives you the opportunity to see the campus, meet staff and ask any questions you may have before starting university.
Virtual Open Days
Many universities are now running Virtual Open Days due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
These will usually involve a live chat with maybe a webinar by the different departments in the university. For example at Huddersfield our academics run a webinar for each of our subject areas. These webinars involve a short talk by the academic followed by answers and questions. Other universities will most likely do something similar. It means you can still learn about a university and the course you’re interested in without needing to visit the campus.
When are Open Days?
Most universities hold their Open Days before the end of Summer term in June and then again in Autumn term between September and December.
You might find it useful to create an Open Day calendar to plan which universities you’d like to visit. A calendar is also handy to record which events you’ve booked onto.
When to start going to Open Days
The UCAS deadline is on the 26 January for courses that start in the following September. So we recommend you visit an Open Day before this date, however there is no limit to when you can start going to Open Days.
If you’d like to start your research earlier then you can. The first year of college would be a good time to think about which university you’d like to attend and book an Open Day.
Are open days worth it?
You may be thinking “Why are Open Days important?” and “Should I go to an Open Day?”
Choosing a University is a big decision and it’s important you get it right. By actually visiting the campus, speaking to the staff and students and having a look round in person you should then feel confident that you have all the information you need.
Your top choice uni might look really great in the prospectus but when you visit you might get a different impression.
Here are a couple of reasons that make Open Days worth it:
- It’s the only way to get a real feel for the place
- You can speak to current students to hear the truth about their experience
- You get to meet course lecturers
- You’ll see if the campus matches with what the prospectus promises
- You can check out the accommodation
How many Open Days should I go to?
You should go to as many Open Days as you’re able to, though you don’t have to visit any.
First of all, decide if location or subject is more important to you. Then narrow down your choices.
Next it’s worth looking at dates and locations – you may be able to combine Open Days at Universities in the same area into one trip. This could save you money and time.
How long should you spend at each university?
This is down to personal preference but as a guide you should aim to spend at least 2-4 hours at an Open Day in order to get the most out of the day and visit the town or city where it is located.
Most days will run talks and tours so it’s worth planning your day based around what you’d like to attend.
What to wear
The main thing to remember is to wear whatever you feel comfortable in and remember there’s no uniform required once you’re a student.
It’s probably best to go for smart casual clothing, for example wearing jeans is fine and keep in mind that you might be meeting academic members of staff so you’ll want to make a good impression. Remember you will be spending a portion of the day outdoors and may have to move between buildings, or different campuses in some cases, so make sure you have a coat and comfortable shoes.
Should parents to go university open days?
It’s a good idea to involve your parents when visiting Universities. They will be interested in seeing where you'll be spending the next three years and will want to feel comfortable with your final choice. Open Days also give parents the opportunity to get answers to any specific questions they might have. Plus, it’s often good to get a second opinion too!