Choosing which university you want to go to can be challenging - it took me months to come to the final choice. Open days are useful to help make the decision of where you want to apply for, but then you can find there’s a spanner in the works if you receive all five offers (congrats!).
That’s where applicant days can be a huge help. They run at the start of the year, usually from February to April time. Think of them as a more intense version of an open day, individually tailored to you. You’re able to find out a lot more about the university in general, as well as the course you applied for.
I attended an applicant day after receiving a mixture of conditional and unconditional offers which left me unsure on which one to pick. Visiting the university for the second time was what really influenced my decision to make Leeds Beckett my firm choice.
I’ve put together a list of why I recommend you do the same:
- Applicant days are a lot more in depth than open days.
You’ll receive a timetable of the day, specifically for people who have applied for the same course as you. This is likely to consist of talks about your course, and tours of the main rooms your course is based in. You can also book onto campus and accommodation tours – I did both and can’t recommend them enough! It’s great to be able to envision yourself somewhere before making the commitment of it being your firm choice.
- You get to meet your future lecturers, and current students.
This was the most useful part of the applicant day for me. I met my course director and a few of the module leaders – and was able to have a chat with them, being able to ask everything I wanted. It's good to see whether you actually like the people you’ll see a lot throughout your degree. Course ambassadors also attend open days, and it’s beneficial speaking to them to get an honest opinion from someone who was in your shoes a few years ago.
- You get to see more of the campus. As I said, at applicant days the day is timetabled – telling you where you need to be and when, with some gaps in between. This means you can have a look around, sit in the café and get a proper feeling for where you’re potentially going to be studying. This can be helpful come September – no stress of being late on your first day because you already know your way round!
- It’s nowhere near as hectic as an open day.
With only applicants attending, it’s a lot less busy than an open day, which provides for a more chilled out and relaxing day. This gives you the chance to speak to people such as student services team who can help explain general university queries like student loans and what to do on results day.
- Other applicants might be your future course mates. It’s likely that some of the people you meet on your applicant day will also make Leeds Beckett their firm choice. This means that come September, you've had a head start with making course mates. I recognised a girl from my applicant day in my first lecture, meaning I had someone to sit next to and it made the whole experience a lot less daunting.
- A day in Leeds.
Putting all the educational aspects to one side – applicant days also mean you get to spend the day in Leeds. If you’re unfamiliar with the city, an extra day looking around can really help you find your feet when it’s time to make the big move.