When making a decision about which university is right for you, open days are one of the most beneficial ways to get an insight into a prospective location. All universities in the UK have open days, a day in which prospective students can visit the campus, see university facilities and meet some of the professors.
These days offer the opportunity to get a feel for the university itself, and to ask questions about areas of interest or concern in an informative, and face-to-face setting. Crucially, they also give you chance to visit the location of the university and get a feel if the campus or city is a right fit for you.
Why is visiting the university important?
An undergraduate degree in the UK generally lasts 3 or 4 years, so it is important to use these informative opportunities to gain as much information as possible, and to find the most beneficial fit. After all, you are going to be spending a lot of time there!
If you have a particular extracurricular interest, ranging from the arts to sport, take the time to ask members of the Student Union whether the facilities are on offer. For example, if you are an avid equestrian or golfer, The University of St Andrews in the Scottish countryside might be an ideal location.
Open days are a way to go beyond the generalities of a website, and to grasp the atmosphere of a place and institution. For international students, who will be moving far away from home, using these opportunities to feel comfortable and settled is extremely important.
A chance to sample where you will be living
Open days also allow you to preview the location of the university itself. The UK has a huge number of different universities, located in rural locations (such as St Andrews & Durham) or urban city-centers (LSE, SOAS & UCL). These offer very different student experiences.
Students in rural locations benefit from the close social connections made from living together in smaller settings. Whereas students studying in a city reap the benefits of vast cultural access at their fingertips. Both are fantastic, but it is important to the setting as well as the university itself to know whether you are an ideal fit.
What is a campus university?
Campus universities have most of their buildings close together in one place that is usually just outside a city. A campus has the same feel as a very small town with student accommodation, leisure facilities, lecture halls, libraries and teaching and research facilities very close together.
These universities were founded in the UK to help open access to higher education for students who found traditional city settings impractical. This is the benefit of a campus university – all facilities are combined. Campus universities are easy to access and create a community-type feel that can often be seen in small towns. Examples of campus universities include Warwick, Sussex, Nottingham, and Reading.
What is a city university?
City universities have their buildings and accommodation spread across the city or town where they are based. Even though it is slightly less convenient for students, the advantage stems from the availability of cultural resources at your fingertips.
City universities offer a well-rounded experience of living in a city. With student dorms usually located centrally, easy travel access and cultural experiences on your doorstep. Living in a city also means that you have more options when it comes to sporting facilities and socialising.
Which is right for you?
If you are undecided about which setting suits you, or potentially lie between both campus and city university, a good recommendation would be to visit some of the smaller cities in the UK.
Beyond the capital, there are a list of fantastic cultural hubs which each offer their own prospective list of cultural heritage. Examples include Edinburgh, with its beautiful architecture, or Newcastle with its growing arts and music scene. These cities are often overshadowed by London but offer a brilliant way to see another side of the United Kingdom. Examples of city universities include LSE, SOAS, Manchester, Edinburgh University and Birmingham.
Need help choosing between campus or city universities? Our team of higher education advisers are experts in finding the right fit for you. Get in touch to find out more.