Researching & Visiting Universities

Choosing the right university is a complex and personal process, and it is important that pupils do as much research as possible before making a decision. For applications to UK institutions, the UCAS form allows five choices, and it is important these are used wisely, to maximise a pupil’s chances of getting good offers.  

The ‘Course Search’ facility is a good starting point, particularly if a pupil has an idea of the subject area in which they are interested. A university or college prospectus gives information about a particular course and institution, covering facilities, tuition fees, scholarships, courses, accommodation, support services and more. Prospectuses can be ordered or downloaded from individual university or college websites.

Open days usually take place in summer or autumn, with additional post application open days sometimes being offered after receiving your offer. Post application open days are more focused on the subject and department and can be very worthwhile.

While you may build up an impression from reading the university or college’s literature, there is no substitute for seeing a place in real life. Many pupils say it was visiting the place on an open day that helped sway them towards their first choice. An open day gives you the chance to explore the site, see the accommodation and talk to staff.

To book a place at an open day, you may be able to register online on the university website. If you cannot make the dates for the open days, you may be able to sign up for a guided tour instead, or you can visit informally under your own steam.

Before attending a university open day, you should ensure that the open day at your chosen institution covers the subject that you want to study? Some have specific open days for each subject, while others have a general open day that covers all subjects in all schools. This information can be found on the http://www.opendays.com/ website.

When researching or visiting Higher Education institutions, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. The handout below may be of help here:

What are you looking for in a university? | PDF