If you’re preparing to visit a university open day, it’s important to ensure you have prepared in advance. From making a list of questions to ask students and staff to planning your travel – here are the things you can do ahead of attending an open day.
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The reason you’re attending the open day is to learn more about the Medicine programme. However, from experience, you’ll often gain more from the day if you already know some information about the course.
Have a look on the university’s website to find out about the length and structure of the course, as well as the size of the intake. These are all factors which can impact your final choice of medical schools. Of course, if you already know something is important to you, such as early patient contact, then check to see if that’s something they offer.
While you’re researching, don’t forget to have a look at the admissions requirements to make sure they’re within your reach. If you don’t think you’ll be predicted, or even achieve, A*AA, then don’t bother travelling hundreds of miles to a university that requires those grades.
The location of the university is another big factor to consider when choosing a medical school. Some people love the idea of spending five years in the capital, or by the coast, whilst others prefer somewhere more rural.
It’s okay if you’re not sure where you want to study yet. Having a quick look on Google of locations can help you work that out. Research the main attractions of the city and find out where most students end up living when they’ve left student halls.
Make a note of any places or attractions that catch your attention, that way if the open day finishes early you can go and check them out!
As well as looking into the general location of the university, make sure you look at the accommodation options. Make a list of the options you like the best (and that fit within your budget!), so you can see them in person on the open day.
Most open days offer specific sessions, such as ‘Medicine Admissions Information’, ‘Medicine Student Perspective’ and ‘Financial Support at University’. These often require advanced booking, as the lecture halls can only accommodate a set number of people.
Carefully read any information sent to you about the open day in advance, as it will often link to the timetable and booking options. Make sure that you have booked the sessions you are interested in because, if not, you might not be able to attend on the day.
As well as booking talks and sessions, download a map of the university, or an open day app if there’s one available. These will help you navigate your way around an unfamiliar campus, and make sure you can actually find any sessions you’ve booked.
Open days usually start early in the morning, and they are often in locations you’ve probably never visited before. For this reason, it’s important to ensure you’ve planned (and booked) your travel in advance.
If you are driving, look up the parking options for the open day. Some universities offer a ‘park and ride’ off-campus with a shuttle bus taking you directly to the university.
If you are using public transport, then make sure you’ve booked your tickets in advance. That should hopefully make for a less stressful journey, and also some savings on the ticket price!
Open days can be really tiring, both physically and mentally. You’ll do a lot of walking, exploring a new university and city. You’ll also spend a lot of time listening to key people talking about your future.
Make sure you a prepared for a busy day by getting a good night’s sleep and wearing comfortable clothes and an even comfier pair of shoes.
Good luck choosing your medical school, and enjoy the open day experience!
Words: Kirsty Morrison
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