Sometimes it’s just not practical to visit all the Universities you are considering before you make your choice. If you can’t, what other options are open to you for talking to staff and students and getting a feel for the University? Here are a few ideas:

Virtual Open Days

We are seeing these increasingly for postgraduate study – both general open days which last for a week, and specific limited time sessions focussed on specific subject areas and offering the opportunity to talk to both staff and students, with additional supporting information. You will usually need to sign up for these in advance.

Online Chat sessions

A number of Universities run these and if you can’t see one available for the University or Department you are interested in, ask if they are planning one for the future. Usually short sessions of an hour or so maximum, and again the opportunity to chat to staff and students – you usually don’t need to sign up in advance, you can just join in when they start. If you don’t want to ask questions yourself you can view the questions from other students and see what answers they get.

Student email schemes

Some Universities offer the opportunity to submit a question by email which a student from the University will then answer, but often not in real time, but if you do have a specific question about life at the University or in your specific subject area this can be very helpful.

Student Profiles and University videos

General email communications

We’d always recommend you contact the University and Department where you are considering studying – how they respond and the amount they have personalised the answer to your question will give you some idea of how they view postgraduates. If you are applying for a PhD it’s also really important to be in touch with potential supervisors before you apply to see if there will be a good fit and if you think you can work with them.

Social Media

Facebook and Twitter are great channels to utilise to find out more information as well as ask questions directly to your chosen university. Instagram and Snapchat will also give you a more visual understanding of the university, campus, student life and facilities. You can also look at The Student Room to see what other potential postgraduates are asking/saying about a particular University, or start your own thread if you can’t find the question you are looking for.

Next Steps