All you need to know about university open days

An open day is the best way to get a real taste of university life and one step closer to finding your ideal course and uni. Here’s everything you need to know to plan and get the most out of your visit.

How to find and book an open day

Most unis and colleges will run more than one open day, but it’s a good idea to start looking and book your place early so you don’t miss out. 

Use our open days search tool to check dates and sign up to visit the unis and colleges you’re interested in most.


Before you go: 10 essential tips 

  1. Decide which tours and talks to attend – the uni will have lots of activities running throughout the day. Check what’s on so you know where to be and when. 
  2. Think about what you want to get out of it – which departments do you want to visit and who do you want to meet? Make a note of people to speak to and places to visit. 
  3. Write a list of questions – what do you want to find out about the uni, course, facilities, accommodation, and its location? Think about what’s important to you.
  4. Get a feel for the campus – download or print a map from the uni website to familiarise yourself with it before you go.
  5. Find out what to take – the uni will let you know if there’s anything you’ll need. Our advice – bring a bag to take away things like prospectuses, and wear a comfy pair of shoes!  
  6. Plan how to get there – if you’re going on public transport, check timetables and how far the uni is from the station or bus stop, and pre-book tickets to save money.
  7. Make plans to explore the area – it’s not just about the uni. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the city and potentially living there, so find out what it has to offer.
  8. Bring company – it’s your decision, but it’s always useful to have a friend or family member with you, to think about questions or point out things you might miss.
  9. Reach out if you have any special requirements or disabilities – contact the uni or college disability support team in advance. They’ll make sure you have access to everything you need. You may also find our advice for disabled students on preparing for open days useful. 
  10. Can’t visit in person? You might be able to attend a virtual open day instead – search and find out more about virtual open days.


Questions to ask at an open day

This is your chance to explore the uni, get a feel for the place, and most importantly, meet students and staff who can answer all your questions.

To help you come away with all the answers you need, download and take a copy of these questions to ask on the day. Make sure you take some notes and photos too – they’ll help you remember the day. 

Remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question and there will be lots of people on hand to make sure you get all the info you need and enjoy the day.  

If you have any special requirements or disabilities, here are some more suggested questions to ask.

Top tip

Make a note of useful contacts at the open day. You’ll probably think of more questions when you get home. 

Things to consider after your visit

After you’ve found out more about the unis and their courses, it’s time to compare them. Choosing the right course and uni is a big decision, and what’s important will be different for everyone. Where do you think you would be happiest studying and living? 

Here are some suggestions to help you shortlist your options and make the right choice for you. 

  • Ask yourself if you could imagine studying there for at least three years – look through your photos and notes to reflect on the uni and course. Are they both the right fit for you? 
  • Think about the location – how did you feel being there? Was there a good atmosphere and would it accommodate the lifestyle you want? Think about both the campus and city.
  • Make sure it’s somewhere you’ll be happy living as well as studyingUse our accommodation search to research your options and find both uni and private student accommodation. 
  • Compare what you liked and didn’t like – writing it down can help make your thoughts clearer. Make a list of pros and cons for each uni and course. 
  • Talk through your options – discussing your ideas and plans with family, friends, teachers or advisers can help you think through what would be best for you.
  • Get student reviews chat to students who are currently studying there. They know the uni, courses, accommodation, and nightlife better than anyone and can offer their opinion on anything you're unsure of. 
  • Keep in contact – if you have unanswered questions, call or email the uni to find out what you need to know. You might even be able to book another visit.
  • Attend a UCAS exhibition – another great opportunity, with the chance to meet and compare lots of different unis and colleges in one place.

Start your search now

Get your UCAS Hub

Your place to discover your options and research your future.

Sign up today