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?
Although Covid-19 restrictions are starting to ease in the UK, chances are most university open days this year will still be virtual events. But that doesn't mean they're no longer a valuable opportunity to find out if a university is a good fit for you - in fact, it's quite the opposite.
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.
So, 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
Instead of having to navigate travel arrangements and unforgiving British weather to attend a physical open day, you might have different hiccups at a virtual event - such as sluggish WiFi and noisy siblings.
But, just as students in previous years armed themselves with umbrellas and printed out 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'll be free from interruptions. Perhaps most importantly, sit as close as possible to your router to avoid any sudden drops in connection. If your internet is known to be a little temperamental, why not ask your family if they can 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'll 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 a virtual platform when you're sitting at home in your pyjamas surrounded by distractions can be difficult.
But that doesn't mean there isn't help available to point you in the right direction. Many virtual open days have an information point and even offer videos with welcome talks and helpful signposting 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 worried about speaking up in case we look stupid to our peers. On a traditional open day, in an imposing lecture hall packed with prospective students, the thought of doing that 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 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 explore 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.
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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 is taking to keep students safe.
Published By Newcastle University on 20/05/2020 | Last Updated 28/04/2021