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Thursday, 6 January 2011

University prospectuses and open days

To help you decide where to study, all universities and colleges publish a prospectus and hold open days - and some have stands at higher education events. If you want to order a prospectus or book a place on an open day, it’s often possible to do it online.


A university or college prospectus gives information about a particular course and institution, covering facilities, tuition fees, scholarships, courses, accommodation, support services and more.

Universities and colleges generally publish two prospectuses each year:

  • an undergraduate prospectus for students taking a first higher education qualification, such as a batchelor’s degree or Foundation Degree
  • a postgraduate prospectus, for students who already have a degree and want to take a higher degree or other postgraduate course

Get hold of prospectuses by contacting the universities and colleges you’re interested in.

At some universities and colleges you can also get an 'alternative prospectus', written by students and giving an insider's view on courses, facilities and student life.

Higher education events

During the lower sixth or Year 12, it's a good idea to go to a higher education fair or event to get information on the universities and higher education colleges you are interested in.

At their exhibition stands you can pick up prospectuses and get answers to your questions – on everything from entry requirements to accommodation costs. You can also get careers guidance and information on student finance.

Higher education events are held in cities across the UK. Admission is free, but you may need to reserve a place in advance. Aside from exhibition stands, there may be seminars on topics such as the application process, gap years and student finance.

Open days

Open days usually take place in autumn or spring - when you may have offers from more than one university or college, but before you've made your final decision.

While you may get an impression about what a university or college is like from reading its literature, there's no substitute for seeing it for yourself. You'll have the chance to explore the site, see the accommodation and talk to staff. Many students say that an open day helped them decide which offer to accept.

You may be able to register and book a place through the university or college's website. If you can't get to an open day you may be able to sign up for a guided tour instead, or make an informal visit under your own steam.

If you want a closer look at a particular course, you may even be able to spend a day with a current student as part of a 'shadow' scheme.

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