Spring and summer are usually host to swathes of students heading out to uni open days. It’s an opportune time to travel around, check out your university options and try and chalk up some decisions on what to put on your UCAS application for next year. For students heading to uni this autumn, open days allow you to have a look around halls and accommodation and the facilities you’ll likely be using, as well as attend vital course meetings.
As we all know, Coronavirus has resulted in the mass cancelling of events including open days and it’s highly unlikely any will be running for most of the year.
This is very irritating for students who will be missing out on meeting their tutors, checking out their accommodation, even starting to meet new friends, etc. Going in blind to what may well be the next 3 years of your life may seem nervewracking – that’s totally normal!
Most importantly, it’s crucial to remember that you won’t be alone here. Everyone else is in the same boat.
Don’t give up hope! There are lots of things you still can still do to prepare for university.
Research Your Uni
There’s always more research you can do! Open up those tabs again, from WhatUni to The Complete University Guide, there’s tons of information out there on universities covering everything from individual course satisfaction, performance, teaching quality, drop out rates, everything!
Research your uni’s own website heavily too, delve into your potential courses, your modules, their reading lists and topics. You won’t regret it! The more prep you do, the better. It’ll help you avoid surprises when you’re there and avoid confusion and stress early on in the first term.
Research doesn’t just extend to the uni itself but to halls of residence also. Halls are a major part of uni life, you’ll be spending far more time there than actually in university. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting halls, read up on information and reviews and siphon through image galleries and virtual tours, which brings us onto our next point.
See if your Uni is Offering Virtual Opening Days or Tours
Virtual reality and augmented reality technology have really come into its own over the coronavirus crisis and it’s helping universities still offer open days in virtual form. From 360 degree footage to live Q&A, meetups of prospective students and much more, it’s still possible to look around your uni, talk to tutors and even introduce yourself to fellow students.
Virtual tours are not a new thing, though, most unis across the country have some form of virtual tour already that is designed for overseas students or long-distance travellers who aren’t able to visit open days. UCAS has a comprehensive list of unis that offer this here
These have been enhanced with video student stories and live video sessions. Unis from Staffs to Worcester, Sheffield to Nottingham and Du Montfort have replaced their standard open days with virtual open days on the same dates where interactive experiences will help prospective students engage with the uni and tutors in face-to-face sessions. They’re sure to be a great introduction and icebreaker.
Read up on Student experiences
There are two ways to check out existing uni student experiences, via review sites (like WhatUni, StudentCrowd and TheStudentRoom) and on social media. Review sites are an awesome way to check out structured reviews on unis, halls, courses and tutors. You’ll be able to search for people who lived in your halls, took your course, had your tutors, everything!
Obviously, it’s best to bear in mind that every year is different so don’t feel too intimidated about a bad review – it’s the awareness that counts.
social media is also great here and it’s likely that there’ll be new Facebook groups set up for your year. Many will be brimming with conversation surrounding Coronavirus and it’s 100% certain that you’ll find many people who share your trepidation, nervousness and of course, excitement!
Keep up to date
Every uni should have some up-to-date information on their provisions for coronavirus. Many will have detailed information on open days, whether they’ve pencilled in dates for rescheduled open days, whether you can talk to tutors, what happens if start dates are postponed, etc. It’s a challenging time for all and everyone understands this – with teamwork, we will get through it together and your time at uni is still seseo t to some of the most exciting times of your life!