One of the most exciting experiences for prospective university students is the university fair. University fairs give you the opportunity to join new societies, clubs, and learn more about the university as a whole. They are also a great way to get your questions answered, check out the application process, and find out more about courses and funding.
Here are our five tips for making the most out of this opportunity:
1. Make sure you are prepared
Uni fairs can be busy events. There are often queues at the most popular stands, or lots of students on a video call. To minimise time-wasting at the fair, you should try to find out which universities will be attending in advance and select maybe 10 to 15 institutions that you’re genuinely interested in finding out more about. For some lesser-known universities to have on your radar, check out our guide to hidden gems in the UK!
Preparing questions for both students and staff will help give you a better idea of what to expect at each university. When thinking of questions, don’t just stick to the obvious ones about the course; consider what is most important to you in your university experience.
Access to sports facilities, cost of living, career advice, nightlife, pastoral care, extracurricular activities, travel or accommodation are all things you could ask about. They will all have an immense impact on your student experience and could be a deciding factor in whether you attend the university.
2. Speak to the right person
Consider what kind of people would be best placed to answer your questions. Looking at the in-person or online schedule will help you find them. Current students will be able to speak honestly about the student experience, whereas questions about admissions decisions and applications should be directed at tutors. Don't be worried about approaching university staff - that's exactly what a fair is for!
Some students and tutors may be comfortable with handing out their contact emails if you have further questions, or sources of information you can follow-up on. Make sure you take these details down, as you may end up needing to contact a representative a little bit later down the line.
Here are some example questions you may want to ask:
On student life:
- What’s the workload like in a typical week?
- How have you found the teaching/facilities/course so far?
- Have you found it easy to meet people and make friends?
- How are you finding your accommodation?
- Is it expensive to live at this university?
- How much does accommodation/a night out/travel cost?
On the course:
- How many hours of teacher contact time will I receive?
- How is the subject examined? Coursework or written tests?
- What are the career prospects after finishing this degree?
- Are any particular subjects or qualifications favoured in applications?
- What do admissions tutors look for in an application?
- What are the university policies on gap years and deferred entry?
- Am I at an advantage if I send in my application early?
3. Take notes
At a uni fair, you will be given a lot of information in a short space of time, which can be pretty overwhelming. Keep a notepad handy, and note down all your findings throughout the day or online event so you can refer back to the experience later on. If you're at a fair in person, it’s also a good idea to pick up the free brochures on offer at university stands as these will provide more detail.
4. Focus on your needs
Often the students who gain the most out of uni fairs are those who go or join an online event by themselves. If you go with a group of friends, it can become tempting to follow what they’re doing, rather than going to the stands that are relevant to you. Even if you are accompanied by others, make sure that you are the one to ask the questions and decide who to talk to when it comes to the courses and unis you are considering - ultimately, you'll be the one who studies for the degree.
5. Have an open mind
Try not to bring any preconceived ideas with you when you attend the fair, as it could prevent you from learning anything new. Keep an open mind and keep asking questions you have. You could find that a course which you had completely ruled out is perfect for you.
It’s also important to keep in mind that, although uni fairs can give you a helpful insight into a university, it won’t ever be the full picture. Try not to read too much into interactions, and always follow up by doing your own research after the fair.
Good stuff from elsewhere
Uni applicant diaries: Uni fairs and how to squeeze the most out of them - Hannah Morton
Hannah takes us through the best ways to make the most out of your university fair experience.
Every important question you should ask at a university fair
Trying to figure out what you should ask at a university fair? Check out this guide here.
How to prepare for a university fair
Check out how you can prepare for an upcoming university fair.