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?