University open days: plot your course with open questions

Published in The Daily Telegraph, 6 Apr 2013

Open days are brilliant opportunities for prospective students – just make sure you know what you are looking for, says Jon Cartwright

A normal coach tour of Bristol might start at the harbour, swing past the Gothic cathedral on College Green and then meander through Clifton to witness the famous suspension bridge. On the University of the West of England (UWE) open day, however, the route is a little more prosaic. “It tells you everything from where the pubs and clubs are, to the price of a pint,” says Sue Fox, head of UWE’s corporate relations and events.

Fox’s job is to oversee a day that will sell UWE to the current generation of school leavers. And it’s a demanding one: each of the 7,000 prospective students who registered for the open day last month had specific ideas about what being an undergraduate ought to be like. That means the open day is not just about quality of teaching, but about practicalities, social life and the university’s ethos. “These open days are invaluable,” says Fox. “They give people the chance to see where we are, and what we’re about.” […]

The rest of this article is available here.