University Open DaysTuesday, July 21, 2015 12:00 AM
Emily shares her recent experience and offers advice
First off, I thought that I’d congratulate all students on finishing your exams. We made it! We survived! And now we have to anxiously wait for our results…
How to Choose Your University and Subject
I thought that I’d tell you all about my experiences with university open days. As I mentioned before, I started to request university prospectuses around March of this year and for each one, have flipped straight to the Chemistry courses. I ordered quite a few – from universities I’d heard a lot about and also some not as familiar. Also, because I am lucky to know the specific course I want to study, I checked out the university league tables for Chemistry (such as the Guardian rankings) in order to find out the best universities in England for my chosen subject.
Book Open Days
I looked at the requirements of the course and have chosen a range of grade requirements so that I’ll be able to have some higher ones and some ‘security’ ones to be more realistic. I then looked into booking open days. I found that a lot of uni open days that require booking open their booking systems around April/May time; some require you just book onto the day as a whole and others want you to register to each individual talk/ tour.
One problem that I came across only a few weeks ago was when I tried to book onto UCL’s open day I found that all entry sessions on both July open days were fully booked and waiting list only! And who knows how long that list actually is? So I have, reluctantly, booked onto the one in September, although I was hoping to get all my visits done this summer. So make sure to write down when booking systems open so you’re not disappointed, but also remember; it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get on the list!
I have found that it is much better to get to the university early so that you can take your time and not have to rush round (and actually find a parking space close to where you want to be!!). This can also allow you to add on any extra activities such as a tour of something you hadn’t considered originally, if you happen to have extra time.
Here are my ‘reviews’:
I found Warwick University to be very convenient: it’s a campus and everything was right there from all the subject departments, to a cinema and even an onsite GP. The Chemistry department was amazing with very good quality equipment and there was a huge Arts centre with the cinema and theatres etc. in. The downside was that it is just outside of Coventry and Leamington, and is essentially in a large field so is a bit detached from everywhere.
Imperial College London
Imperial was in an ideal location. Set in South Kensington, it is a two-minute walk to the tube station and essentially the whole of London; perfect for me as I love the city and it’s so easy to get anywhere. The buildings were so pretty and the accommodation was really convenient with great facilities. The labs looked a bit run down but they were currently under renovation – which is positive! Overall I really, really enjoyed it there.
I spent my Saturday in the beautiful town of Durham with the sun shining. I must say that the facilities here are amazing; the library is huge as well as the high-tech labs that can hold up to 80 people!! The downside here for me was the lack of opportunities to study abroad for chemists, specifically in N. America – although I went to the ‘study abroad’ lecture and many other departments have many links with American host universities. When I visited St Mary’s College, I was disappointed at the quality of the accommodation there; although the communal rooms were lovely, I felt the individual rooms and shared bathrooms were a bit run down and there are a lot better accommodation at other unis for cheaper prices.
Next up is a visit to Oxford! I wish you all the best with all of the open days you may have coming up soon and don’t forget to enjoy the summer.
By Emily, Student Blogger