University fairs are a great way to get your questions answered, check out the applications process, and find out more about courses and funding. Here are our five tips for making the most out of this opportunity:
1. Be prepared
Uni fairs can be busy events and there are often queues at the most popular stands. To minimise time wasting at the fair, find out which universities will be attending in advance and select maybe 10 to 15 institutions that you’re genuinely interested in researching further.
Preparing questions for both students and staff before the fair will ensure you don’t waste any valuable time trying to think of something on the spot. Don’t just stick to the obvious course questions; consider what is most important to you in your university experience.
Access to sport facilities, cost of living, career advice, nightlife, pastoral care, extracurricular activities, travel, accommodation: these are all things that will have an immense impact on your student experience and could be a deciding factor in whether you attend the university.
Tip: There is little point in asking questions that can easily be answered by a quick google search so save yourself valuable time on the day by reading the course website. This will allow you to use your time more effectively by asking questions that are specific to you.
2. Speak to the representatives
The main aim of a university fair is to get your questions answered so don’t just grab a prospectus and leave. Try to be confident when approaching university staff; they are there to give you as much information as possible. Normally each university stand has at least one student representative. Make sure you exploit this chance and ask their opinions on the student experience.
Tip: Consider what kind of people would be best placed to answer your questions. Current students will be able to speak honestly about the student experience whereas questions about admissions decisions and applications should be directed at tutors.
Example questions to ask:
On student life:
- Is it expensive to live at this university?
- How much does accommodation / a night out / travel cost?
- What’s the workload like in a typical week?
- How have you found the teaching / facilities / course so far?
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 is the university policy 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 quite overwhelming. Note down all your findings throughout the day so you can refer back to the experience later on. It’s also a good idea to pick up the free brochures on offer at university stands as these will provide more detail.
4. Be an individual
Often the students who gain the most out of uni fairs are those who go by themselves. If you go with a group of friends then it can become too 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, ensure that you are the one to ask the questions and decide who to talk to (as ultimately it will be you who studies for the degree.)
‘Even though none of my friends looked at the University of Birmingham, it was the best for my course and I loved it when I looked round. Now that I’m here, I wouldn’t change it for the world, and I’m still in contact with my friends at other unis!’ - Emma
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 ask any questions you have. You could find that a course which you had completely ruled out is perfect for you.
‘I had never considered looking overseas for university, however after talking to the rep from the University of Sydney, I loved how broad and flexible their courses were compared to England.’ - Charlotte