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Open days: making the most of your visit

On the 1 and 8 October this year, we welcomed tens of thousands of prospective students onto campus as part of our open days. These days are a fantastic way to visit The University of Manchester and universities across the country; they offer a chance to see the facilities, meet the people and get to know the place that you could spend the next three or four years of your life. This blog will offer some points to think about after our open day, broken down across the key areas that you might have encountered.

The University

There are a number of different styles of university campus; predominately broken down into city-based and campus-based. These can offer a number of different benefits depending on where you are. It could be the community feel of a campus based university or the benefit of being in the centre of a busy and exciting city. It’s also important to consider the feel of the institution; does the campus feel welcoming on open day, are the facilities available to support your time there?

Key Question: Does the university and its campus appeal to you?

The Course

Our open days include subject specific talks for every course that we offer; these give you the detail about the course and the department you would be joining at The University of Manchester. They can include information about the department, its research and teaching focus, specific course pathways as well as additional information on the application process. For us, they’re the most important part of a student’s time at an open day – talking specifically about the course with the people who teach or study on that programme. These sessions help to identify if the course covers the content you’re interested in, if it will lead onto the career that you’re aspiring towards and if it has any special features.

Key Question: Does the course match your interests and aspirations?

The City

If you’re moving away from home to study at university, then chances are that you’re not just picking a new institution but also a new town or city to live in. This means it’s important to consider what life in that new place might be like, as well as what the university might offer. Manchester has a great deal to offer beyond the University as the home of one of the largest student populations in the country; from sport to arts and culture to nightlife and beyond the city to the great outdoors, Manchester is a great place to live. Hopefully when you visited the University, you also had chance to go and explore the city – both in Fallowfield, the thriving student hub of Manchester, and the city centre.

Key Question: Would you like to live in the city that you’ve visited?

The Student Experience

University is an academic experience at its heart; your open day experience is about choosing where you want to study. However there are a number of additional elements to consider outside of your academic life; we often describe these elements as contributing to your wider student experience. This can include clubs and societies, studying abroad or university support services, such as the careers service. These are areas that you might not have considered before an open day, when the focus is often only on the course, but can make a big difference to your university experience. It’s good to consider these elements and how they might affect your decision about university. For example, The University of Manchester has a broad range of study abroad options as well as being the most targeted university by graduate employers – points that could make a difference to your wider experience at university and beyond.

Key Question: Does the university offer additional services, support or opportunities that you’re interested in?

Next Steps

After visiting an open day, there can be a lot of information to process and consider and it can be difficult to remember all of the things that you’ve been told but it’s important to think about that information. Talking to your friends about what you liked and disliked on the journey home or writing a list of your favourite things can be good but simple ways to reflect on your day. If you’ve learned something about your course or the university then we’ve done our job and now the decision lies with you; bringing together all of the elements discussed here and possibly more.

Key Question: Would you like to make an application to the university you’ve visited and what course might that be for?

Hey! Hello! Hi!

My name is Adenike (pronounced: ‘AH-day-nick-air’) which means ‘crown to be cherished’ in the Yoruba language. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, but left with my family at age 5 and have been a Londoner since. So, how exactly did I end up in Manchester?!

Sometime during Sixth Form, I met a girl at church who was applying to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at university. I had never heard of the course before, but in the end it intrigued me enough to apply for it myself. The University of Manchester was the only university at which I applied to study PPE, it was the one around which I tailored my personal statement as I knew it was where I wanted to study. There is also the fact that I am a Manchester United fan, so I needed to fulfil my dreams of visiting Old Trafford somehow.

Prior to being a student here, I had only visited the city once when I was going on holiday via Manchester Airport. So my first time in Manchester was the weekend just before the first semester of my first year. It was far less daunting than I had worried it might be. It proved to be quite an adventure. In hindsight, I recommend doing your research thoroughly: the more informed you are, the better the decisions you will make and the more satisfied you will be. Thankfully, although I took risks, I made the right decision and have never once regretted it.

So, what am I studying exactly? Well, PPE is often referred to as ‘the politician’s degree’, owing to the fact that many prominent political figures have studied PPE, including David Cameron and Ed Miliband. That’s not to say that all those and only those who study PPE will become politicians. You can still become a politician even if you haven’t studied PPE (or any degree for that matter). Likewise, you do not have to become a politician if you study PPE. I am hoping to become a lawyer, which is what makes my degree so great – the possibilities and opportunities are endless! PPE is for those who, like me, are curious about everything all at once. Truthfully, it is not a degree for the faint of heart as the workload can be quite heavy, especially in second year but the challenge is complimented by the content – it is all so very interesting! For instance, I am learning the difference between government and governance (and what that might mean for the state of democracy), as well as the complexities surrounding developing economies and the causes and effects of the 2008 Financial Crisis. At the same time, I get to explore questions such as ‘what does it mean for something to be a law?’ and ‘does the way in which we ordinarily use language convey what we actually mean?’ thought experiments galore!

Studying aside, being a Senior Student Ambassador and playing basketball are some of the ways I wind down and take my mind off academic work.  I am also a social member of the University’s Basketball Club, which is open to students of all abilities (I have almost zero hand-eye coordination, so don’t worry – if I can play, you can play). Team sports are great ways to relieve yourself of stress because they require you to be fully focused and in the moment, which can teach you some useful life lessons.

That’s all for now folks, but keep your eyes peeled for more posts from me throughout the academic year. I hope you are as excited as I am!

Hello – welcome to my blog!

Hello! My name is Madeleine and I’m a third year student at The University of Manchester. For my first and second year I have been studying Politics & Philosophy, and have absolutely loved my course! During my degree so far I have focussed on Politics, taking more modules each semester than I did in Philosophy, so I’ve made the decision to move onto just studying Politics for my final year.

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Decisions, decisions …

Choosing what you want to study at university can seem like a daunting prospect. How are you meant to know what you want to dedicate three or more years to studying? One important thing to remember is that choosing what to study at university is not necessarily going to restrict what you end up doing in the future. Whilst studying for a degree, you gain many transferable skills that are highly valued in the workplace; therefore the majority of graduate employers are looking for applicants that simply have a degree.  Of course, this is not true for those wanting to go into professions like Medicine – but for the majority of degrees, your future career options are kept open. I am currently studying Politics, and my degree definitely does not restrict my options. Whilst studying this subject I have developed strong independent research skills, as well as a confidence in written and oral communication. These are skills that are highly valued by graduate employers and will well prepare you for the world of work.

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