Can't go to any university open days?

Apr 9, 2019, by The University Guy

As we head towards the school summer terms, thoughts of students in Year 12 will turn to open days. Where do I want to visit, how far can I travel, can I get time off school to go? The university open day has become a rite-of-passage for so many students. However, for huge numbers of students, it’s not possible to get to an open day. Either they have commitments which mean that they don’t have the free time or they are applying to universities a long way from home – perhaps, even, on the other side of the world. How then do students make choices?


Online Research

As the digital world evolves, universities are rapidly expanding their digital offerings. It’s now really easy to connect with people from a university through all sorts of electronic means, whether that be a student ambassador via live chat or arranging a Skype call with someone so you can find out more. University Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube accounts have huge amounts of content so you can get a feel for the flavour of the university and whether you think you’ll fit in. There are even universities now offering VR tours, so that you can experience the sights of campus without ever having to go there.


Virtual Reality University Open Days

Using Data

On top of all the fancy digital stuff, some students will go on choices someone else has made: usually people who create university rankings. If you don’t know the difference between which of King’s London, University College London or Queen Mary’s is the best, there are all sorts of websites with overall or subject rankings which can help you choose. In many cases, this is all some students go on.

Career Guidance Professionals

Alongside this, it’s important that you make use of experienced guidance professionals, who may have experience of the universities that you are considering. If they know you, and they know the universities, then they can advise on whether it might be the right place for you.

It's Good to Talk

At the very least, make sure you try to connect with someone at the universities you are considering, so that you can get a real sense of what the institution is like. University websites give huge amount of information on how to contact them, so I encourage you to reach out.

No Rash Decisions

Ultimately, the process of shortlisting universities and making an application takes time. So you won't be making any quick decisions that you may regret at a later date. Take your time and weigh up all the evidence you can get your hands on to make a choice you're happy with.


This article was written by David Hawkins, The University Guy, helping students make applications to international universities.