Posted on November 9, 2020
#UKuniversities #internationalstudent #studentaccommodation #universityfair 

With over 395 universities and higher education colleges in the UK, narrowing down which institutions to apply for can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with different towns in the UK and how the UK university system works.

From the comfort of your laptop you can discover different universities, courses, and speak directly with universities to find out all you need to know before making a decision about your next steps in higher education. You can find out information about different universities through virtual university fairs, open days, tours and webinars.

Virtual University Fairs.

Virtual university fairs are a fantastic way to explore all of your options in one place at the same time. They have everything you’d expect from an in-person career fair, but also take advantage of the fact you will be at your laptop. Universities will still have their individual stands where you’ll be able to ask questions about entry requirements and course material, but instead of receiving a leaflet, you’ll be able to download a document containing all the information you need, straight to your computer - no need to carry all those heavy prospectuses around all day!

They will also still be webinars on a variety of topics such as UCAS Applications, Student Finance, Subject Specific Information, and Studying Abroad running, but instead of having to choose between seminars running at the same time, you can view the webinars live or recorded after the event.

Choosing the University you’ll be studying at for the next three years is not an easy decision, and you'll be bound to have a range of questions you’ll want to ask, which you’ll be able to do via the live chat function. This will allow you to chat to not just staff, but also current students, who would have been in your position just a few years ago, so don’t worry about asking ‘stupid questions’ - there’s no such thing. Remember to have a few questions prepared in advance, and take to notes.

In November UK University & Apprenticeship Search are running two virtual fairs where you can meet with over 100 Russell Group, red brick, modern & specialist universities along with colleges and apprenticeship providers from around the UK. You can live chat with exhibitors and take part in 10 interactive webinars, from the comfort of your own home. Register now for your free space by clicking on the date you’re interested in below.

Online Open Days.

Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of universities you’d like to find out more about why not attend a specific university’s virtual open day?

Open days are free events where universities invite prospective students to look around campus and get an insight into what it would be like to study there. Online open days consist of virtual campus and accommodation tours, interactive webinars, Q&As with students, photo galleries, presentations, and live chat functions which allow you to speak to current students and staff members. As you don’t have to worry about transport costs and logistics, you’re free to visit as many universities as you want (virtually!).

While it’s not a direct replacement for viewing accommodation in person, the university will run virtual accommodation tours of the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and communal areas in the halls you could live in. The accommodation team will also be on hand to answer all of your questions.

The university will host workshops and taster lectures and sessions throughout the day, they can be subject specific such as a sample lecture for your course, or university wide on a subject such as student finance. They will be in the format of a presentation followed by a Q&A session. Make sure you plan out your day in advance by making a note of the times the sessions you’re interested in are running, and any questions you want to ask to make the most of the open day.

Make the most of the live chat functions and speak to student ambassadors to get the lowdown on what life at that university is really like. It’s useful to have a think about what you want to find out before the open day and come prepared with a list of questions such as the following:

  • Is accommodation guaranteed for all first year students?
  • What are the teaching and assessment methods?
  • What’s your favourite and least favourite thing about the university?
  • Is there any extra financial support such as scholarships, bursaries, and grants?
  • What clubs and societies do you have?
  • What is the typical monthly budget for studying here?
  • Is there the opportunity to study abroad or do a placement year?
  • What have past students gone on to do?
  • Is it easy to find a part-time job in town?
  • What support does the university give international students?

Universities run general and subject specific virtual open days regularly throughout the year, you can browse through a list of virtual open days and book your free spot here.

Virtual Tours.

An increasing number of universities now offer virtual tours of their campus and facilities. The tours are either a pre-recorded video of a current student giving a tour of campus. Or, you can go on a virtual tour by ‘walking’ around the campus and buildings yourself using interactive maps. Virtual tours are really helpful as they help you to picture yourself at the university. You can find virtual tours on universities’ websites.

Take yourself on a virtual tour of the town you’re going to be living in and surrounding areas through Google Street View & Google Maps. You won’t be spending all of your time studying so it’s important to consider if you’d be happy in the town. Quite often students choose a university based on the course alone and then find that living in a small town or large city makes them miserable. Consider the facilities in the town and public transport links - are there lots of shops, cinemas, restaurants, museums and clubs? Look at the wider region you’d be living in - can you easily explore beaches, national parks, theatres, and other towns? You can find the answers to these questions through a combination of virtual tours, universities’ websites, speaking to students and from YouTube videos.

Webinars.

Webinars are a brilliant way to find out more about how applications, studying and student finance works. Universities and admissions teams deliver presentations on a variety of topics such as admissions to give you tips and further information. Webinars can be led by just one university or with a panel of speakers from multiple UK universities. Webinars are usually followed by a brief Q&A session where you can ask presenters specific questions or to clarify anything you’re confused about. Throughout the year universities will stream webinars on their website/YouTube account. If you’re interested in finding out more about how student finance and UCAS applications work head on over to UK University Search's YouTube Channel, they regularly host webinars with universities from around the UK.

It’s important to remember there’s no pressure to accept a university place before visiting the university in person. Virtual activities make it easy to find out all you need to know about the university but are not a direct replacement for visiting the university yourself. In person open days and applicant offer holder days may resume next year, but for now, universities are working hard and constantly improving their online offerings to ensure you have all the information you need to make the right decision about your future.

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