Student Blog Squad

Things to think about when attending a university Open Day

Hi, I’m Bridget, a second year Filmmaking student. In this blog I’ll be sharing my experience attending a Leeds Beckett Open Day and talking about some of the key things to think about and look out for when you’re there.


Deciding which university to go to can be a massively overwhelming experience and I sometimes got close to tears with how much information I had to take in and the decisions I had to make. Therefore, it can be really helpful to know what to expect when you attend an Open Day, and know what you’re looking for, so that you can feel more prepared and know what you want to get out of it on the day.

Plan your day

Open Days have all sorts going on - from campus tours, accommodation tours, mock lectures and Q&A sessions, I found that I struggled to find time to do and see everything that they offer.

MY TOP TIP: Look at the things on offer ahead of time, this can usually be found on the university’s website. Choose what you will prioritise and what information is going to be important to you when making your decision on which uni to apply to. 

Personally, I knew that the accommodation would not affect which uni I ultimately went to – so on most Open Days I skipped accommodation tours in favour of other events and additional course talks. It’s completely down to what you are personally looking for, and this is something you should definitely think about before turning up to the Open Day (or logging on if it's an online event) so that you don’t have to decide what’s more important to you on the spot at the start of the event.

Chat to student ambassadors

Another thing to keep an eye out for is current students. Student ambassadors are current students who work at Open Days to talk to prospective students. At in person events, they will usually be wearing colourful t-shirts and may lead things such as campus tours, information points and course talks. At online events you can identify them via their profiles. As well as being great people to ask questions to and get a more realistic response (while tutors know the more technical details, students will always be more aware of what it’s like to actually study there), it can be useful to see the attitudes of students at the university you are considering. Do they seem like they enjoy being there? Do their answers to your questions seem genuine? Obviously just because someone enjoys it there, doesn’t mean you will too – but it’s a good place to start.

Student ambassadors

At in person events student ambassadors can either be found in purple tops like this is or sometimes green. They are always clearly labelled on the front and back of their tops so you can see who they are.

It's so important to ask questions, to both student ambassadors and tutors and staff. 

Ask questions

If there’s something that hasn’t been covered in a talk/tour, something you didn’t fully understand, or something you want more information about, just ask at the end. I was too shy at Open Days to ask any questions, and there was so much information I wished I had asked about. It’s always better to talk to people about your questions in that moment, as you get the response straight away, can easily ask for clarity or more detail, and get a more personal response. That being said, if you do think of more questions afterwards you can easily email the relevant person. Sometimes emails of tutors can be found on the university website, or you can simply email the generic university enquiries address and ask to be forwarded to the correct person. Or, if you’re feeling super organised, at the Open Day itself you can approach a tutor and ask for their email in case you have any questions later on.


Speak to tutors

On the topic of speaking to tutors, another thing to be aware of is how the tutors interact with you and with other students. Does it seem like they want you to come to their university? Do they seem to respect you? I’d definitely recommend going up and speaking to at least one tutor – even if there’s nothing you particularly want to ask them, make something up (a good one is asking about the content of a particular module) as an excuse to have a conversation with them. At one Open Day (for a different university) that I attended, I really liked the look of everything – the facilities were great, the employability rates were high, the course covered everything I wanted it to. However, I had a conversation with some tutors, and instantly changed my mind. They didn’t seem that interested in answering my questions and I didn’t feel like they particularly cared whether or not I liked the course. So, speaking to tutors is a good one to remember to do if you can.

Tours around the campus and facilities

I found that guided tours are great for getting a sense of the general atmosphere of the university and are especially good if the course you’re interested in requires specialist facilities. However, remember these tours only cover key places on campus so if you are at an in person event, it’s always worth going for a wander by yourself after this, to get the full picture of the uni and see what it’s like around the places that were not included in the tour.

New Leeds School of Arts building

New Leeds School of Arts building where my course is based in city campus

Explore the city

It’s also really important to use the Open Day as an opportunity to spend time in the city too. While the primary reason you make your decision on where to go is usually based on the uni itself, remember that you will (usually) be moving to a whole new city, where you will spend the next three/four years of your life. On each Open Day I went to, me and my mum spent the late afternoon and evening wandering around the city, which definitely made me feel more confident in my decisions. Not only is it important to know that you like the city you are moving to, but it was also a massive benefit as when it came to actually moving to uni I (almost!) knew my way around the city, and to knew what to expect from it.

Leeds city centre drone view

Leeds city centre

Trust your instincts

Most importantly, trust your intuition. If somewhere doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. Just keep going to Open Days (whether in person or virtual if you aren’t able to make it to many in-person ones), and eventually the right one will come up. I had gone to all of my Open Days, and was trying to decide between two options – I had enjoyed both Open Days, and both seemed like good courses, however something about both of them just didn’t feel quite right. On a whim, I ended up taking a day off work and coming to Leeds Beckett’s Open Day, and I instantly knew that it was where I wanted to go. There were similarities with the other uni's but there was something different about Beckett and something about it just felt right for me.


I hope this has helped you to feel more prepared and excited about the upcoming Open Days. 

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