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How to get the most out of a postgraduate Open Day

How to get the most out of a postgraduate Open Day

by Anna Brown

You may think you’re an Open Day pro, after all you probably attended university Open Days when choosing your undergraduate degree. 

But this year, when it’s likely Open Days will be predominantly online, do you really know how to get the most out of a virtual postgraduate event? 

Although the principles are the same – an Open Day is your opportunity to get to know a university better and speak to staff and students – how you need to approach a virtual event is slightly different. So, here’s a few things to keep in mind. 

Your internet connection 

Your Open Day experience will be hugely reliant on your internet connection – the better the connection, the better you’ll be able to move around a virtual platform and access talks, videos and live chat. 

Try to ensure your internet is as stable as possible and, if necessary, speak to others in your household and ask if they can avoid bandwidth-heavy activities for a couple of hours during the event. 

It’s commonsense, too, to set yourself up in a quiet area, so you can hear and concentrate on the online activities being offered. 

Understand the format 

Virtual events are shorter than the traditional full day’s experience, which means you’ll need to make the most of your time online. Knowing what talks, tours, videos, Q&As and opportunities for live chat are  being offered will be key to this.  

The university should explain the event’s format on its website or when it sends through your login information. If you’re in any doubt, once you’re online, head for the Welcome or Information booth for advice and make sure you know how to navigate the site. 

What do you need to get out of the event? 

Be clear on what you need to find out at a virtual Open Day. If you just want to get a sense of the university, you may be happy to browse the booths on offer, but it’s still important to check out all the basics, such as: 

  • facilities 
  • accommodation 
  • campus tours 
  • student support 
  • city tours and information about the local area (this is particularly important if you don’t know the area or are an international student)  

If your questions are more specific, for example, you may need advice on postgraduate funding, want to explore careers support, or talk to experts in the field you’re hoping to specialise in, then it makes sense to concentrate on these priorities first. A list of questions you’ve prepared beforehand will keep you on track. 

Remember, this is your opportunity to explore whether the university meets your needs – from how your degree will be structured, to how you’ll be supported to achieve your goals, both while you’re studying and as you take the first steps in your career. 

In-degree opportunities 

As you specialise through postgraduate study, opportunities to develop professionally are crucial.  

These could range from the chance to present your work at conferences, to accessing advanced skills training to achieve your career goals, or specialist support to realise your entrepreneurial ambitions. 

During a virtual Open Day, make sure you also explore how a university can prepare you for life after postgraduate study. 

Use the live chat feature  

Live chat can help you get the answers you need from the people who know the university best – the staff and the students. 

Don’t miss your chance to connect with academics – some of whom you may end up working with – or find out from current students what the university experience is really like. 

Get resources and updates 

During the virtual event you should be able to access and download resources and information to review later.  Make the most of this, as these resources will help inform any future decisions you have to make and, who knows, may contain the answer to that all-important question you forgot to ask! 

And sign up for any relevant newsletters, updates and connect with the university on social media. These are all great ways of staying in touch with the university and, during these unprecedented times, keeping you up to date on any developments that may affect postgraduate study. 

Don’t fixate on Coronavirus 

Although life isn’t back to normal yet, that doesn't mean the global pandemic is going to last forever. 

It’s important you know how learning is being delivered under the current Covid-19 guidelines, and what the university is doing to protect students and staff. But use the virtual Open Day to also find out about the university’s plans to deliver its learning and teaching as restrictions are being lifted.  

We hope you’ve found this blog post useful. If you haven’t signed up already, why not register for our Postgraduate virtual Open Day on Monday 8 February from 10am-noon and from 4.30pm-6.30pm GMT?