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Assistant Editor at The Complete University Guide

You will probably have several questions about university open days. Here are some of the top questions that students ask – and our answers to them.

1. What is a university open day?

This is when a university open its doors so you can visit and experience it first-hand. They are there to help you make decisions on what and where you'd like to study. Open days show you what is on offer, and can usually tell you more about a uni than you'll glean from a prospectus.
You have the chance to see the what the campus and local area are like. You can talk to staff and current students and discover what your future university life could be like. You can use open days as a way to compare universities and courses to see which would suit you best. 

2. Who are university open days for?

They are mainly for hopeful university students. Open days also provide the chance for parents and guardians to visit universities, so that they can help young students make the right decisions.

3. What is the point of a university open day?

The main reason is so you can visit the university and be happy with the decisions you make when choosing a course and place to study.

4. What should I expect from a university open day?

There will be plenty of staff and student ambassadors on site to ensure the open day runs smoothly, and to answer any questions you may have about the university. You can attend talks and presentations about the university, departments, courses student finance and more. There will also be tours around the campus including visits to available student accommodation.
Many universities host workshops and taster sessions so you can have an idea of what the course will be like. Some have exciting things going on, such as DJs or displays and performances. There is normally somewhere for visitors to sit down and buy food and drink.

5. What should I wear to a university open day?

There is no strict dress code for open days, they are informal events. The universities are trying to impress you. You're allowed to wear whatever you want, but bear in mind you may be walking around for a lot of the day so make sure you dress comfortably.
Do try to be clean and tidy in appearance however, as you may be making an impression on future tutors. Also, if you are attending an interview on the same day as an open day it is best to dress suitably smart.

6. When are the most university open days?

Universities run open days throughout the year. The are lots in the summer as this is a good time for students to begin thinking about applying. There are several during the period before the UCAS application deadline. There are also open days after Results Day, for students who go through Clearing and Adjustment.
Open days can occur any day of the week, even on Saturdays and Sundays.

7. How do I book a university open day?

Search for (and book) open days on our open day calendar. You will also find information about open days on university websites. They should show you how to book a place – there is usually a button you can click to register, or an email address to contact.

8. How long are university open days?

They tend to run anytime between 9.00am and 5.00pm, but this varies with each university. Some have open events in evenings.

9. Are university open days scary?

No! They are there to make you feel comfortable about the choices you make for university.

10. Are university open days worth going to?

Yes! They can help make or break your university decisions. Don't believe us? Read some real student experiences.

How to manage your money

It can be expensive to be a student. Use these pages as a guide to help reduce your financial worries at university.
We suggest:
  • Looking at your personal situation and draw up an annual expenditure list
  • Looking at what your minimum income for the year when you have your financial support in place
  • Balance the two, work out what your budget should be and refer to it throughout the year to keep on track.
Sticking to a budget can be difficult, but it should help you to not overspend. It will also indicate how much the following years at university might cost you.

Income

On top of student funding, there are other possible sources of income to help with your living costs.

Gap years

Taking a gap year could help you earn extra money. Many students take a year out before starting university to gain money as well as experience.
Make sure you question your motives before embarking on a gap year. If money is an issue, consider how a gap year could boost your bank balance ahead of being a student. Read more about gap years.

Part-time work

There are plenty of opportunities for students to work during their studies. Income from working part-time should not affect your entitlement to loans and bursaries. Read more about student jobs.
Most universities have a student employment office that can help you find part-time work. Our university profiles also provide information.
Many universities also offer sandwich courses. This involves a placement year or industry programme integrated into your course. These can be great experience and good for graduate employability. Many include a salary.

Holiday jobs

Outside of term time there are opportunities to earn cash and develop skills for your CV.Several organisations offer placements or internships that can be sponsored and only last for a few weeks.

Banks

Banks are keen to help out students, because they are likely to bring in money in the future. They are sympathetic and can permit modest overdrafts to ease money problems. Make sure to be careful when weighing up different the offers available. Check out advice on sites such as MoneySavingExpert.com.

Expenditure

There are several different costs students have to face every day. It is important to think about what you spend. Students can underestimate their expenditure by as much as 50%.

Living costs

This is the biggest expenditure. Living costs include accommodation, food, and travel. We suggest:
  • Try not to be tempted by offers such as 'two for the price of one,' especially when you didn't want one in the first place
  • Use local markets for groceries, charity shops for clothes, and students' unions for stationary
  • If living with others, share essentials and buy in bulk if possible
  • Take time to look at different options, as there may be something cheaper available.

Studying costs

These are costs associated with your degree such as books, equipment, or certain fieldwork or electives. They can often be compulsory. You may be able to receive extra financial support for study costs.
For most students, there is a recommended reading list. Get to know the library at your university, and look for second-hand book sales from your students' union or online bookshops. Sometimes fellow students are willing to share!

Other costs

University isn't all about work. You will have other interests you may wish to pursue that come at a cost. Your students' union should offer a selection of shops, places to eat and drink and other services at minimal expense.
The social scene – whether it be the cinema, nightclub, eating or drinking out – can be a significant cost. Keep an eye out for student discounts and offers.
Phone bills can also be a sizeable item. Make sure to weigh up the options to find the best package available as a student.

Insurance

You should have insurance for expensive possessions such as TVs, laptops, mobile phones and bikes. Read more tips on how to stay safe at university.

How to budget

It is a good idea to estimate your annual budget. Do this by listing all your expected income. Include any savings you may take with you to university. See how this compares with your anticipated expenditure.
We suggest:
  • Don't be too optimistic in your first budget
  • Start by identifying bills that you must pay, and include this in a small contingency fund
  • Be aware of what you do spend. Try writing down everything you spend over a week or so
  • Budget for big events on the university's social calendar, friends' birthdays, and travelling back home
  • Consider having two bank accounts – one for essentials, the other for non-essentials
  • Keep holidays in mind as you may want to budget more for these
  • There are budgeting apps you can download for free. These can help with day-to-day spending, and saving.
Remember to keep track of your finances so money worries do not detract from your studying and enjoyment of university life! Take a look at our sample budget.

Project Tags

  • Higher education
  • Tuition fees
  • open day
  • Content

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