By: Orla Hadjisophocleous
UCAS exhibitions can be the perfect starting point when researching Universities, courses and opportunities. They can also a great help when trying to decide which University you should put down as your firm or safety option! While the UCAS fair are really helpful they can also be extremely overwhelming. So here’s a list of my top tips for attending a UCAS fair:
- Familiarise yourself with the floor plan so you know where each University is and you only speak to those you want to.
- Before you attend, take a look at any talks or workshops that will be taking place at the fair. Some UCAS exhibitions have speakers on University subjects or advice sessions regarding personal statements, clearing, adjustment andstudent finance etc.
- Bring a pen and paper and make sure you note any questions you want to ask or anything you found useful. Here are a few things you may have questions about:
- Your course – content, how flexible it is regarding elective modules and if you can choose ones beyond your school of study or discipline, number of students, nationalities, how diverse it is in terms of age, gender, religion, nationality
- Assessment – when it takes place, how you are assessed (coursework, exams, presentations, practical work, group projects)
- Industrial Experience opportunities or Study Abroad options
- Teaching practices – how many contact hours, seminars, lectures
- Diversity of the university and the area
- Accommodation – prices, locations, characteristics of each area (for example at Manchester there are three main accommodation areas and one is considered to be more of a party area than the other two), proximity to things like supermarkets
- Facilities (including both buildings like football courts and facilities for student wellbeing such as counsellors, wellbeing rooms etc.)
- Student Union – what societies do they have, opportunities it can provide you with, how to get involved, do they have student support services? Living costs
- Transport links
- Dropout rate of your course
- Also, use your pen and paper to take notes; your memory can’t absorb all that information!
- Talk to as many people as possible from the Universities you are interested in and remember they’re there to help you! Many times, staff or students available are willing to provide their e-mail to you so you can follow up on any queries. This can be a great point of contact in terms of support but can also work in your favour as showing further interest in the University. They may also be able to put you in contact with someone directly related to your course (staff or student) if no one is readily available there.
- Pick up any leaflets with information and note down things said to you so you can take home and think through it again or get opinions from friends, family and teachers/academic advisors/counsellors
- Plan your time to make sure you speak to everyone you want to (keep in mind there is a waiting for each representative!)
- Explore alternative courses to the one you applied to; there may be something out there you’re not aware of that is more fitting! Even if you have sent your applications in, you may still be able to change courses if you contact your University.
- Don’t sign up for any e-mail lists or pick up prospectuses from Universities you’re not interested in; you will just become a spam magnet!
Hope these top tips help you at the fairs!. Wishing you best of luck with all UCAS fairs, application processes, potential interviews, decision making, and finally, the amazing University experience which will inevitably come!