There are many different sources of information on university courses, from student forums and organisations, to newspaper articles; some universities even have their own I-Phone Applications. Two of the more traditional, and still highly popular ways of really finding out about a course or university are through prospectuses and open days.
Just like any other brochure, the prospectus is designed to sell the university and its courses, and can prove very helpful to prospective students. There are normally prospectuses for undergraduate students (those entering university for the first time), and postgraduates (those already with a higher education qualification). Some universities and higher education colleges will also offer details or evening classes or short courses they run, which are normally open to a wider spectrum of people.
Delve inside a university prospectus, and you’ll find information on the university, its campuses, the town or city it’s located in, and of course all the facilities on offer on-campus. There’ll usually be pictures and key information connected to social life and activities, student learning and resources, and accommodation, along with guidance on student issues such as finance. Course details will normally be listed under subject or faculty area, with a list of the different types of qualifications on offer, entry requirements for each, and details of any fees payable. Also look out for the so-called ‘alternative prospectuses’ given out by some universities, for a valuable insiders view of life as a student.
Once you’ve browsed through the glossy pages of a prospectus, why not visit a higher education event. Held all over the country, these fairs can be a great opportunity to meet fellow students, ask for advice and careers guidance, and find out more about the courses from university staff. You may also be able to attend seminars, and learn more about applying for university, gap years, and student finance.
A glossy brochure and leaflets from a student exhibition is all very well, but once you’ve filled in your UCAS form, and had some offers come in, you’ll want to see the university for yourself. Most places will hold several open days, traditionally in autumn or spring, usually before students have made their final study decisions. Many colleges and universities will hold both general open days, and course specific events. At both, you will have the chance to meet university staff, including those delivering your chosen course, find out more about all the clubs and societies on offer, and get a chance to take a tour of the university campus and accommodation.
University websites will have details of all their open days and events, so it’s always worth having a look, especially if there’s something specific you need to book a place for. Always remember that you’ll be spending the next few years (at least) of your life at your chosen university, and open days can and do help with making this important choice.
To find out more about open days and events, check out the links below:
Site detailing open days: http://www.opendays.com
Info on higher education events: http://www.ucas.com/students/exhibitions