Blog post

Get to grips with university applicant days

So, you’ve chosen which five universities you’re going to apply to, you’ve got your offers, but how do you narrow those options down to one? An applicant day will help you make your decision.

By Anisha Johal - 2 January 2018

Applicant days are a great way of helping you to really get a flavour of the universities that you have applied to. You will be invited to attend these after receiving your conditional/unconditional offers.

It is important that you attend because it will help you to decide which university is the one for you.

What’s the difference between open days and applicant days?

Open days give you more of a feel of the university in general and an overview of the course, whereas applicant days usually have taster sessions tailored to your course. This means that you will be able to determine which university’s content, teaching style and assessment styles suit you best.

For example, you may have lectures, seminars and tutorials. Lectures consist of a lecturer giving a presentation to the class on a specific topic; you make notes while absorbing the content. A lecture is usually followed by a seminar; this is an open group discussion about what you learned in the lecture. This is your chance to ask questions about any parts of the lecture that you aren’t sure about and it helps you to form your own opinions on the subject.Tutorials are one-to-one appointments that you make with your lecturer where you can ask for help on anything that you don’t feel clear on. They are a great way of testing out your assignment ideas and improving your grades.

The most common forms of assessments are exams, assignments and seminar participation. You will be most familiar with exams as you would have sat these at GCSE and A-level. Assignments are coursework pieces which you complete in your own time out of class. They require a lot of research, analysis and evaluation. Seminar participation is the more practical side of assessment; you are assessed on your preparation and contribution during seminars – you may also have to deliver a group presentation.

Be prepared

Come prepared with any questions or queries that you may have about the course or university in general. This is the best time to clear up any uncertainties that you may have before deciding where to study. You may have questions about the teaching methods, nature of assessments or modules specific to the university.

It is also a great opportunity to meet staff; lecturers, tutors and programme leaders. Ask them questions, tap into their knowledge and ask them for advice if you’re unsure about anything on the course.

As well as meeting staff, you will also meet potential students who will be studying with when you start university. This is a chance for you to start making friends and begin to discuss the course with your potential peers.

Read up

You will undoubtedly be given lots of literature to give you more information about the course, so make sure to spend some time going over this after the Applicant Day. Also, make notes throughout the day because you will be absorbing a lot of important information and it will help you to compare the sessions that each university offers.

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy your day! Studying at university is hard work, but it’s also great fun, opening up a whole new world for you. Take time to savour every step of your journey.

About the author

Anisha Johal
University of Derby student

Student on Integrated Masters in English at the University of Derby. Freelance journalist, columnist and blogger