College Life Blog

Search all blog posts

Open Day Tips

Written by Eleanor Sanger, posted on Friday, June 8, 2018

Open Day visitors in Tom QuadWhen I was applying for university I went to what seemed like hundreds of Open Days. One of the main things I learned (other than to remember to bring a bag for the mountain of leaflets I was given) was to make sure I had a plan for when I got there, so that I would get as much out of the day as possible. So this article is intended to provide a few tips and pieces of advice for those of you heading to Oxford for the Open Days this summer. 

The next Oxford University Open Days take place on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th June 2018. There will also be an Open Day in September (this year it's on Friday 14th), and many of the departments also hold their own Open Days at other points in the year. 

You can find out more about what's happening at Christ Church on the Open Days on our website,

Visiting Oxford on an Open Day is a great way of getting a feel for the place and finding out if it's for you. It gives you the chance to look around, meet current students and tutors, ask questions about life in Oxford, and hopefully find out a lot more about whether studying at Oxford is something that you should consider. 

All of the colleges and departments will hold their own events on Open Days (details for Wednesday are available here, and for Thursday are available here), and there will also be central talks and workshops held at the University's Examination Schools, which will give you some excellent advice on the application process and what Oxford is looking for in an application - so these are not to be missed! 

At Christ Church, as with all of the other colleges, there will be a range of sessions throughout the two days that will give you an insight into college life: 

  • Workshops on applications
  • Talks for parents on subjects such as finance, welfare and the admissions process
  • Tours of Christ Church with current students, giving you a chance to look around and ask a student about their experiences of Oxford and the college
  • Talks on admissions, complete with demonstrations of mock interviews
  • Meetings with tutors in subject groups so that you can ask about teaching and the application process
  • Plus you can book for lunch in Hall if you'd like to get an idea of what the food's like! 

As you can see, there's a lot going on during Open Days, and it can feel like there's just too much to fit in to one day, particularly if you want to look around a lot of the colleges or attend talks in a number of places at the same time! So here are a few tips for making the most of your day: 

Christ Church Student Ambassadors1. Plan ahead. There's plenty of information on both the University website and the individual college websites rearding what's on where, so you may need to do a bit of research before you come to Oxford so that you can work out which things you particularly want to do. Sometimes making your own rough timetable for the day can give it a bit more structure, and means that you should hopefully spend less time just wondering where you should go next. You might also want to take a look at a map of Oxford's colleges and departments, so that you can work out the most efficient way of getting to all of the places you want to visit. 

2. Prioritise. There's no way you're going to get to absolutely everything in one day, so you're going to have to make some decisions about what your priorities are going to be. If you're still trying to pick a subject, you might want to spend some time in the various departments you're considering so that you can find out more about the courses on offer and chat to students and tutors in those subjects. If you'd like to find out more about the college system and see what different colleges feel like, you might want to spend more time looking around colleges and chatting to students there to get some tips on choosing a college.

A sub-point to this is that often, particularly during the summer, colleges are open for you to look around - and if you tell them that you're a potential applicant you'll probably get in for free. There may not be any current students around then, and there are likely to be some areas of colleges that are closed (you're unlikely to see any of the rooms inside college, for example), but this can be a good way of visiting colleges if you can travel to Oxford and you don't think you're going to get chance to see them on an Open Day. However, departments are unlikely to be open for you to visit other than on Open Days. 

A tour at Christ Church3. Think of questions to ask. You might come up with some more questions on the day itself once you've started to meet people and find out more from sessions such as talks and workshops, but it can be a good idea to write down a few questions to bring with you so that you remember to ask them when you come to visit. If you've got any burning questions, or particular worries or concerns, that you'd like to get answered, this is the perfect time to ask them! Students, tutors and members of staff are really happy to give you information, so don't be afraid to ask them things. Whether you want to find out more about the intricacies of your course or just get an idea of what the food's like, no question is too serious or too trivial - so ask away! 

4. Take a break! Open Days can be long and tiring. You're sitting in talks, walking for miles across the city centre, and taking in so much information that you can start to feel your attention waning and your feet beginning to hurt. But many of the colleges and departments will be offering food and drink (including ice cream!) to keep you going, and there are plenty of cafes in Oxford where you can have a sit down and gather your thoughts. 

 

These are just a few things that it might be worth bearing in mind if you're visiting Oxford on an Open Day. There are some more tips available on the University's website, and they've even produced an Open Day Guide to help you make the most of your day. The main thing is to enjoy the day and really think about whether the place you're visiting is right for you. Ask questions, get to know the students and staff, have a look around, and find out as much as you can so that you can make an informed decision. We can't wait to meet you!