Find out what to ask, who to bring, when to go, and how to maximise open days.

Open day tips



First, shortlist open days you want to attend.

Once you determine which colleges to visit, sign up quickly because spots are limited.

Universities hold events year-round.

Taster days, summer residentials, and Clearing open days are examples.

We asked students, parents, and university officials for open day tips.

What should I do for open days?

Preparation is key to a successful open-day trip. By:

Bookmark, download, save offline, or print a campus map to get oriented.
How far is the university from the station if you’re taking the train? Will there be enough parking at the university, or should you arrive early?
Making a basic plan for the day and booking whatever you need in advance, such as university-provided overnight accommodations.
Buying train tickets on the day of travel is more expensive.
Check out our guide to cheap train tickets for several trips.
Contacting the university if you have specific needs so they can accommodate you.
See our top queries for suggestions.
If you have time, explore the surrounding area to acquire a sense for living there for three years.

What should I bring to a fair?


The university may give you an open day bundle including an agenda, instructions, parking permit, and address/building.
Someone else’s portable charger, bag for extra prospectuses, documents, or objects Another opinion can assist. Who should attend an open day?

Day-to-day activities


topic talks, sample lectures, taster sessions, or department visits
Finance seminars or workshop tours of pricey and typical student union venues and other public facilities.
City tours

Open day follow-up

When you leave campus, things continue. Make sure these memories don’t vanish with additional open days.
Browse images and videos.
Visit again. If you’re undecided, this may assist.
Contact everyone you met. Whether it’s an admissions tutor or fellow student, it can help you stay connected.

Open day attendees


Students usually bring one or both parents on open days. In the Which? University Parents Survey 2019, more than half of parents claimed they have attended open days with their child.

They know you best and have your best interests at heart.

Their practical questions about campus security or how far you’ll need to go to and from your accommodation will come in handy later.

If they’re supporting you at university, they’ll want to be part in your research (although ultimately you should have the final say on what and where you study).

Several hours with mom and dad may sound like a nightmare, but it’s a free ride there and back.


If you have an older sister in college (or who recently finished), they’ll know what to look out for, from contact hours to union services.

Balance serious and amusing questions.

Open days welcome younger siblings. Long days with lots of talking and walking may not be optimal for young children.


You shouldn’t attend a school because a friend does.

If you’re both interested in the same place, plan a road trip. Their parents may give you a ride.

It’s a great chance to spend time together if you’ll be in different states next year.

Make sure you don’t miss anything by taking selfies or conversing.

You don’t want to squander the trip by compromising if you’re applying to various courses or have different objectives. If necessary, split up so you can both enjoy your day.


Grandparents can be wise, too. Generational differences will likely affect their thinking.

Grandparents aid many students financially, we found.

If yours sends you money each month, it might not be a bad idea to involve them in your schoolwork.

Open days might be tiring, so don’t bring frail grandparents.

Going alone

If you’re not afraid to visit a campus alone, do it.

This may be easier than coordinating with others.

If you’ve been told what and where to study, travelling alone can help you establish your own perspective.

Plus, practise initiative and independence before college.

You may find your first university friend there.

Without a companion, you lose a sounding board.

Five open-day activities

Don’t leave your open day before doing the following.

1. Photograph (lots of them)

Open days offer much more than the glossy photos in the pamphlet.

If you’re not allowed to take photos or films, someone will tell you.

Preload your phone with photos before you go.

Taking photos will help you remember what you saw (particularly if you visit multiple open days in a short time – things can blur).

Open days can drain phone batteries quickly. You can use it to take images, find your way, stream music, and look up information.

Bring a portable charger (or conserve your battery and put your phone away).

2. Private tour (if allowed)


Private tour

While the university will schedule most of your day, explore campus on your own.

You’ll get a better overall picture of the university, even portions the school may prefer you to avoid.

The official tour will show you the greatest amenities and accommodation, which may not reflect student life.

3.Would I be happy here?

Ask yourself this question throughout the day.

Imagine being a student there. We know it’s hard to predict the future, but trust your gut.

If it helps, wander away from your parents to collect your thoughts.

Remember, you’ll be here for at least three years.

4. Talk to pupils

Try to talk to students who aren’t giving you a tour or volunteering that day.

While they won’t uncover anything shocking, they will offer a different perspective on the university than professional assistance and guides, who have presumably conducted the same tours many times and may be stuck in a rut.

All the students you meet should know you’re a tourist and be willing to answer questions; they’ve all been in your shoes.

5. Localize

Depending on the day’s schedule and university location, you may or may not visit the nearby area.

If you can, delay your trip home so you can dine and wander in the city or town centre.

You can see what the area has to offer if you choose to study there, since you won’t spend every minute in lectures and will likely live off-campus after your first year.

Learn how much it may cost to live there, what the transport links are like, and what there is to do for fun, from shopping to nightlife to local culture and community.

Our student budget calculator gives you a monthly breakdown based on the university you’re considering.

Five open day mistakes

1. Dress appropriately

We recommend wearing something that gives off a favourable impression and feels appropriate for the event you’re attending.

Relax. Open days involve lots of walking, so wear comfortable shoes.

If the university is far away, check the weather forecast before leaving.

2. Be punctual

Universities work hard to organise open days for hundreds of students and their families.

They’ll tell you where to be and when, plus activities.

So you may plan your trip with enough time for delays.

Many institutions have multiple campuses, some in the same town (and some not), which can be confusing.

3. Be confident

An open day isn’t just folks yapping.

You can meet university members face-to-face and ask questions.

They won’t recall every name and face, but a smart question and rapport will help you stand out if you contact them later.

Try to be outgoing and sociable, even if you’re nervous or intimidated by your circumstances.

4. Come prepared

What do you need to know to decide if this is the correct university and course for you?

Look up the university and course to see what other students think about the amenities, nightlife, and course material and modules.

5. Leave late


Leave late

By afternoon, the early start to get there on time, all the speeches, and the campus visits will have felt interminable.

Resist skipping the day’s last events and stay until the conclusion.

This may be your only chance to visit the school before applying (or even move there).

Local region may assist you decide what you desire in a college town.

If you’re taking public transportation, book an open ticket so you don’t miss anything.

What should I ask at an open house?


What grades do you need, and can you still get in?
Which qualifications do they accept/prefer?
Will Ucas count all your qualifications?
Do many applications make sense?
How do they choose offer recipients?

Personal declaration

What should your application and personal statement include?
Can they suggest personal statement reading or activities?

Ucas form

Interviews or Ucas application?
Do they like gap years and deferred entry?
Is early application advantageous?

Course content

A jobs counsellor explains what the course will be like.
What’s taught?
How many timetabled hours will I have?
How do you evaluate?
What’s the cost?
Learn how?
How do lectures, tutorials, and self-study compare?
Group tutorial sizes?
When are deadlines?
Has the expected amenities?
What chances do you have to learn more?
Are placements or study abroad available, where, how, if paid, how do they effect tuition?
What’s the deal with joint or integrated courses?

What happens after college?

How does the course boost employment? Offer placements?
What have graduates done?
How many pursue graduate degrees? Do jobs require postgraduate degrees?
Do they know what former students are doing now?
What career counselling is available?
Job fairs?


Guaranteed hall space? Off-campus accommodations?
If you chose the university for insurance, would a place be guaranteed?
Cost and what’s included
Each term, must you move?
What’s better: catered or self-catered?
Which rooms are larger?
Can you hang things?
Most students weekend on campus?
Two and three years?
How far must you commute to university and around town? Are cars allowed?
What if I don’t get halls?

Learn about university housing.


What opportunities exist to improve your employability? Exist local employer connections?
Student jobs on campus?
Academic support?
What sports and societies exist?
How’s the transport? Everything on campus?


This is another topic to tackle with pupils who already manage their money.

Cost breakdown What’s your budget?
How much part-time work will you need?
How do you apply for bursaries, scholarships, and fee waivers?
How do placements, a year abroad, or an industry year influence tuition?
What student discounts/nights out/restaurants are available?

Check out our budgeting recommendations, including the best student bank accounts and ways to cut living costs.

Use our student budget calculator to estimate your university’s living expenses.

2020 university holidays

Find open day dates in our A-Z directory.

This list is alphabetical. Find your university’s open days using the search bar.

THIS LIST WAS UPDATE 18/11/2019. If a university’s open day dates aren’t provided, the information is currently unavailable. Check the university’s website for open dates.