Virtual Postgraduate Open Days
If you can’t attend a physical open day, or you’re just starting to think about postgraduate study and you aren’t yet sure which universities to visit, a virtual open day can be a great way of starting to find out about the places you may want to study in.
Check when they are taking place
Most virtual open days are advertised well in advance and many will ask you to pre-register in order to participate. They are likely to ask you your subject area and some other details in order to help ensure that they have the right range of people available at the virtual event to support you.
What will happen?
Virtual open days can vary in what they offer, so have a good look at the programme in advance. Unlike an in-person open day, you’ll have the advantage of only having to attend the sections that are most useful to you.
Most will include a range of pre-recorded video material from both staff and students, blogs and ‘live’ sections, where you can ask questions and interact, either over video or via live chats. The live sections will be timed and you may need to sign up for them individually as well, so it’s worth checking these out in advance and planning ahead.
Pre-recorded sessions could include everything from videos of students and staff to sample lectures. These are usually accessible throughout the open day for you to access whenever you want to, but if they are linked to a live chat session they may only appear for part of the event, so it’s worth checking if you particularly want to see something.
The live sessions may be video sessions or live chats. You can attend those and observe what others say or ask your own questions as you like. If you do decide to answer questions, remember that other students will be listening and watching.
You are less likely to be able to talk one on one at a Virtual Open Day than a real one, with either students or staff, but these sessions will cover a wide-range of issues, and other students may ask questions you find useful but had not thought of asking.
One to one opportunities
If you do want to talk one to one but aren’t able to do so at the Virtual Open Day, you should be able to find out how you can do that in future, whether by phone, Skype, or email. Many universities offer this type of service in order to help provide potential applicants with the valuable information they need to make a decision.
Many Universities also offer virtual tours to help you get a sense of the facilities. These tours start to give you an idea of the physical environment, and in particular what is available to postgraduates, especially if there are designated spaces available for postgraduate study.
Ideally, a Virtual Open Day will give you enough information to decide whether you want to visit the university in person, and how to talk one on one with staff and students after the event. Although it may not be able to fully replace a face-to-face visit, it can give you a valuable starting point to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
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