What to Ask at a Virtual University Open Day


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What Are the Benefits of Attending an Online University Open Day/ Information Session?

As with most life-changing experiences, if you are only going to do something once, it’s wise to make it count and put all your effort into it.

Selecting the right university course can significantly impact your future career and personal development. One of the best ways to get a feeling for a university and programme is to hear and speak to the actual academics and tutors delivering the course as well as current students and alumni.

Most universities run regular information sessions or webinars for prospective students. We strongly recommend attending these to get a feeling for the course and university.

What Exactly Is an Online Information Session?

A typical webinar will be presented by an academic and an admissions team member and provide an overview of the university, course and online learning experience, followed by a Q&A session. A standard webinar lasts around an hour. Some faculties run a series of webinars around a particular course with different academics discussing the module they teach in more detail.

As well as covering the learning experience and outcomes, there can be segments around the application process and entry requirements, as well as what student support services are available while you are studying, such as access to career advice and library resources.

A really useful part about registering for a webinar is that even if you cannot attend, the university will typically send you a link to a webinar recording after the event to watch in your own time. So even if you miss the event and cannot put your questions to the academics, you can benefit from the questions and answer given to the attendees.

Questions to Ask Universities Before Applying

The opportunity to speak directly with the academics as well as current and past students can give you invaluable insight into the university and whether it’s the right choice.

We have broken the questions into topics to help you collate your own questions important to you and your situation. You can use these questions or as inspiration for your own queries.

Questions About the Course and Student Experience

For most students, these are the most important questions when deciding if it is worth applying.

  • Are the reading lists available before I start the course?
  • How much time should I allocate for studying each week?
  • How will my assignments be graded?
  • What assessment methods are used?
  • If I fail a core module, can I retake it?
  • How much feedback can I expect during in-person meetings or tutorials?
  • What teaching methods are used in this course?
  • How much time is dedicated to lectures versus independent study or research?
  • How much contact time will I have with the tutors?
  • What have previous students based their research on?
  • How will I be evaluated, and will I be required to make any presentations?
  • What feedback will I receive on my work?
  • What resources are available for use in this course?
  • Are there guest lecturers on the course?
  • Which course materials will be provided, and will I need to purchase any?
  • Are there any fixed timetabled teaching I need to attend?
  • How much flexibility is there in the course?
  • What methods are used for assessment?
  • How will I learn in this course?
  • What is the typical size of tutorial groups?
  • How many students are currently enrolled in the course?


Questions to Ask About the Application Process

Understanding what the admissions team and professors are looking for can make writing your personal statement easier and help you prepare for the interview where required.

  • How much preparatory work is required before starting the course, and are writing or research samples necessary?
  • If my undergraduate degree was more generalised, how much knowledge of the specific subject matter is expected?
  • What attributes do you seek in potential students for this course?
  • How can I make my personal statement stand out from others?
  • In evaluating my application, what criteria do the admissions officers prioritise?
  • What kind of work experience is considered relevant to the course?
  • What characteristics are sought in an application and personal statement?
  • Can the university suggest any recommended reading or activities to inform my personal statement?
  • Are interviews a component of the admissions process for this course?
  • How much emphasis is placed on personal statement and interview performance in the admissions process?
  • What are the academic requirements?
  • How long does it take from application to university offer?


Questions to Ask About Student Support

The student support provision you receive, while you are studying can have a hugely positive impact on your university experience and learning outcomes. When comparing programmes, understanding what types of support are available and how to access it can easily be overlooked.

  • When are student support services available?
  • How can I access the student support team?
  • If I require assistance with my coursework and assignments, where can I seek help?
  • Will I receive support if I’m struggling with my workload?
  • Does the university offer extensions on assignments for exceptional circumstances?
  • What types of academic support are provided?


Questions to Ask About Career Services and Graduate Employment

Completing a postgraduate course does not automatically mean you will walk into high-paying, rewarding roles, but understanding the career outcomes of past graduates and the employability skills you are likely to gain can help you identify which course can boost your potential the most.

  • What resources are available to university students seeking employment after graduation?
  • Does the university have a network of employers with whom they collaborate to assist students in finding a new role?
  • What career paths have previous graduates of this program taken?
  • How much assistance is provided to postgraduate students in securing employment after completing their studies?
  • What services related to careers are provided by the university?
  • How does the course enhance your employability?
  • Is there information available on the career paths of alumni a few years after graduation?
  • What resources or services are available for career guidance?
  • Are there any virtual or on-campus job fairs open to attend?


Questions to Ask About Funding and Fee Waivers

Understanding when payments need to be made and if paying in instalments affects tuition fees needs to be planned for and budgeted. Asking about financial aid and scholarships are valuable questions to ask at a university open day.

  • By what date do I need to pay the fees?
  • Are there any scholarships or bursaries that I can apply for?
  • Does the university have partnerships with any research councils or organisations that offer financial assistance to students?
  • Do I need to pay a deposit to confirm/ reserve my place on the course?
  • Can I pay the fees in instalments?


Next Steps…

After the event, you will get a recording and can listen to all the questions and answers again. This is really useful if you could not attend the live event after registering or had to leave halfway through.

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