5 Tips for Getting the Most out of a Virtual Open Dayby Newcastle University
Many prospective students are well versed on the ins and outs of ‘traditional’ university open days: what to expect, whether to bring parents, things to ask. But, how can you make the most of a virtual open day?
If you were in the middle of researching universities and whittling down your top choices before COVID-19, it's likely your calendar is now rife with virtual open days as opposed to physical ones. Virtual open days are a valuable opportunity to really get to know a university and whether it's a good fit for you.
From live chat functionality, insightful talks from finance and accommodation teams, subject fairs and even virtual tours of the campus and city, a virtual open day is about as close to a real experience as you can get.
Below, we’ve listed five tips to ensure your virtual open day is as informative, insightful and inspiring as a real-life one! Read on to find out how you can get the most out of a university virtual open day.
There’s no doubt your teachers have stressed to you the importance of preparing questions ahead of an open day - but it’s with good reason! Virtual open days are no exception to this cardinal rule of university research.
Make notes of the things you’d like to ask ahead of the open day. Your questions and areas of interest can help you prioritise which talks to go to, and how you can structure your day. What’s more, preparing your questions ensures you won’t forget anything.
You can ask anything, from how many lectures there are per week for a particular course and how your courses are assessed, to what gigs and parties happen in the Students’ Union each month. Also, be sure to ask what each university is doing to keep their students safe during COViD-19.
If you’re attending lots of virtual open days, you can ask these questions multiple times and compare the answers to see which university overall wins you over.
Allocate a quiet space with good WiFi connection
From having to navigate travel arrangements and unforgiving British weather to laggy WiFi and noisy siblings, you’re faced with entirely new potential hiccups than your predecessors. But, just as the students before you brought umbrellas and printed out Metro maps, you too can ensure a smooth open day experience in your own way.
Make sure you’re seated comfortably, in a quiet space where you will be free from interruptions. Perhaps most importantly, sit as close as possible to your router as to avoid any sudden drops in connection. If your internet is known to be a little temperamental, why not kindly ask your family to avoid bandwidth-hungry activities for a couple of hours?
Online activities such as watching videos on YouTube, enjoying video calls, or playing online games with friends can really slow down the internet for everyone else! A better signal means you will be able to clearly hear each talk and get all the information you need.
Take advantage of the help that's available
Much like a physical open day, virtual open days are jam-packed with lectures, introductory talks, tours and more. But finding your way around when you're sat in your pyjamas surrounded by home distractions can be difficult for some.
However, just because you're at home doesn't mean there isn't help available to point you in the right direction. Many open days have an information point and even offer videos with welcome talks and helpful signposts suggesting where to go next.
It's natural to want to dive right in and figure your own way around, but engaging with the welcome videos and stopping by the information point are great ways to maximise your time on the virtual open day, and make sure you get the answers you need.
Take advantage of live chat
We’ve all been in group situations where we have a question but feel self-conscious or worry that we’ll seem stupid to our peers. On a traditional open day, in an imposing lecture hall packed with prospective students, the thought of speaking up can be particularly intimidating.
However, a bonus of a virtual open day is that that stress is actually taken away. Live chats are a safe, judgement-free space to ask all of your burning questions - no matter how silly you think they may seem. Speak with lecturers, students and more to hear directly from those who know the courses and university inside out.
This is a great opportunity to feel out whether your chosen course is right for you, or perhaps be directed into another area by someone who shares your interests and feels an alternative degree is a better fit.
Get a head start and chat with current Newcastle University students now.
Sign up to any newsletters and connect with universities on social media
Many of us are guilty of walking away from a talk or open day and suddenly realising we didn’t ask that all-important question we’d been sitting on for days. Fortunately, many universities (including Newcastle) feature Q&A sessions across social media channels.
Keep an eye on our social channels to stay abreast of any upcoming opportunities to speak with faculty and students again.
Finally, with all that’s going on at the moment, keeping yourself informed on university policies and the steps your potential university are making to keep students safe is very important.
By signing up to relevant newsletters and following social accounts, you can receive advice on how to manage the approaching academic year during this uncertain time, as well as hear what the University is doing to keep our staff and students safe.
We hope you have found this blog useful and look forward to seeing you on our open days on 26th and 27th June!
If you're already attending, you can expect to virtually explore our campus, the city and our accommodation. You'll have the opportunity to attend live subject fairs and get an in-depth insight into the courses we have on offer. Attendees will also enjoy informative talks from subject leaders, our finance team, accommodation team and more. You can even interact with current students, careers staff, lecturers and more via live chat.
If you’re interested in studying with us but would like to find out a bit more, why not sign up today for your place on our virtual open day?
Published By Newcastle University on 20/05/2020 | Last Updated 07/10/2020