Student Blog Squad

Top 5 tips for when you're visiting a university

Hi, Abi here, and in this blog I am excited to be letting you lot into some good tips on visiting universities and the best way to make the most of your Open Day.

Open Day

1. Know what you are going for before you get there

One of the biggest tips I can give anyone is to know what you want to get out of the day and plan it so that you know what you are going for and what you want to see and find out. You may not know what exact course you want to be on, or you might not even know if going to university is your thing yet but that’s what these days are for, to help you find out.

Make sure you don't waste your day by walking around the uni without a real goal or purpose. Have a plan in place of what you want to do and see. 

The first Open Day I went to near home I was still adamant that I didn’t want to go to uni, but my mum (who had the joy of taking me) made sure that we went with a list of what sessions were on at what times and made sure we got on a tour of the facilities. I went along and kept open minded. Then, as that first Open Day was a positive experience, the idea of uni started growing on me and so for future events, I made sure I made a note of which sessions I wanted to be in and what I wanted to see when there. This always helped the structure of my own day and it’s something I recommend everyone to take on board because it will really help you get the best feel for the uni.

2. Get to know your space

Getting to know your space is hugely important as people can sometimes just click with a place and exploring this place on your Open Day gives you opportunity to do this. Get to know where you will be studying. Can you see yourself there studying in all scenarios like group work in your seminar rooms and working until silly hours of the morning to finish an essay you’ve been given? Uni does have ups and downs so you need to give yourself opportunity to fall in love with the space and it will make that whole experience easier.

I knew that LBU was the uni for me when I was at my Open Day. I went up to Headingley campus and I stood on the end of the acre, in front of the James Graham building and I just clicked with it and totally saw myself studying there. 

As well as the campus you should try to get to know the city because whether you’re planning to live in the centre or not, you will spend time in the city. I recommend you spend some time doing day to day things, maybe just catch a bus into town or have a walk around, see how you feel in the city. Does it have the student buzz? Do you enjoy the vibe? Do you feel as though it’s a safe city? I can assure you that Leeds is all of these things and I love it but it’s so worth checking out for yourself.

Students outside the entrance of James Graham building

The James Graham building

3. Meet the lecturers

In my opinion your lecturers play a big part in your university experience and getting your degree, so go to the sessions that your subject is hosting and meet the lecturers – you will find timetables on the website for most uni's and the leaflets that you get on the Open Day too. This really helps as they are then a familiar face when you start in September and it makes you feel more comfortable. It certainly did this for me as at some point in my induction week I ended up in the wrong room and I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be, the lecturer who was there showed me where I was meant to be then went ‘Hang on, I recognise you from the Open Day, really nice to see you’ and we had a bit of chat before she sent me to the right place. That little bit of a rapport that I built really helped me feel so much more comfortable, and now, we always have a good chat each time I see her. So, it’s always worth getting to know your potential lecturers and let them be a friendly face.

4. Explore resources and facilities

As well as getting to know the space around uni and your lecturers, use the Open Day to really explore facilities like the library, get to know where your subject books are in it, check out the gyms and see if they’ve got any cheap starting offers on. I remember I quizzed them about starting a membership in the gym in September and they had some amazing deal on for September to Christmas that I just couldn’t refuse, and I think it was one of the first things I signed up to in my first week. Another good thing to explore is the cafes/pubs around and about, go and grab some lunch from the on-campus cafés and then head for a drink in the local pub before you go. This is what I did and again it just made me feel that Leeds Beckett was totally where I wanted to be.

New sports building cafe

Spaces to eat and hangout with friends in one of the new cafes on campus

5. See accommodation options

One of the most important things for me to see at the Open Days was accommodation as I am not the type to just settle for anything, I had a criteria that I needed to know that the accommodation rooms would meet, so this was really important for me to go and see. However, even if you don’t feel like you need to check them out, I think it’s important that you do, especially if you are moving out because this is where you will spend a lot of your time so you need to make sure you know that it’s somewhere you can make this transition. At the end of the day, moving to uni, no matter what your previous living situation was, is a lifestyle change. So, where you can, you need to check that this is the type of place that can help make that lifestyle change a positive one. There are so many different halls to choose from so think about where you want to be in the city – inner city, in the hustle and bustle, outskirts of the city where it’s very possible to get everywhere but just a little quieter, on campus where you can roll out of bed into your lecture…there are so many different places, so have a think about what suits you best.

The vault at kirkstall brewery

The student bar, The Vault at Kirkstall Brewery, the halls that I stayed at

When visiting universities, make sure that you look for opportunities to go and see and do all the above-mentioned things, and the easiest way to do that is to go with a plan of the day so you can work your way around tours, meeting people and exploring. Open Days in my opinion are the best way to get to know universities and a Leeds Beckett one is where you will fall in love. 

More from the blog

All blogs