Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Newcastle University Open Day - What To Expect

 This post is based on our own experience of Open Day in November 2023. 

Newcastle University Open Day - What To Expect

I didn't attend a single open day before going to university in 2002. Looking back, I am really shocked by this! Imagine moving miles away to a city that you've never been to before by yourself. It feels crazy to me but it was kind of normal back then. 

I'm not sure if University Open Days are a bigger thing now or if it's because University is now much more expensive (or maybe a combo of the two) but I'm determined that Harry won't make the same mistakes as I did and we'll be attending a few Uni Open Days over the next year. 

Harry is in Year 12. Everyone is welcome to attend an open day and I would definitely recommend visiting your home uni as a starting point in Year 12. The whole day really gave us more of an insight into what was to come. 

University Open Days are free to attend and you usually need to sign up online to attend. You can find upcoming dates on their websites. The day was really busy, pretty full on and most prospective students attended with their parent / parents. 

You are sent a big itinerary/guide before attending which shares timings for tours, lectures, workshops, a map, where to register etc...... It's a good idea to have a read through this before you attend and have a rough idea of where you'd like to visit. 

On arrival, we registered our attendance and were given a branded tote bag with pens, prospectus, course guides, maps, student guides, city guides, accommodation guides and more. This was really useful and handy to carry all the bits and bobs we collected during the day too. 

Harry still isn't sure which degree he'd like to apply for (or even which University) so our first stop was to visit the subject stands that Harry was interested in. 

I will say, a subject stand can make or break a subject! Most of them were really interesting with engaging and enthusiastic staff and students sharing their honest experiences. I liked that they didn't just share the positives. We also picked up the course leaders business cards and they said we can email them at any time with questions which was brill. 

You can gain more in depth knowledge of the compulsory and specific modules in the course from the stands and they'll give you brochures to take away. 

Harry is interested in Combined Honours, Law, History, Philosophy, Psychology and Politics. We couldn't fit in every subject talk so will visit the ones we missed on the next open day. 

The Combined Honours lecture was excellent and really provided an insight into who this degree works well for and who maybe won't enjoy this kind of structure. Current students shared their experience and how much freedom they had - they also chatted about student life and the buddy scheme / importance of joining societies (especially if you're taking this kind of degree). 

I'm really pleased we went along. I do kind of think this may be the route Harry goes down as you can pick and choose modules you like from different degrees and we all left feeling positive. But we will see! The course tutors really emphasised the negative aspects about taking a Combined Honours course which I really appreciated too. 

Oh and I like that they shared some tips for your personal statement too. These lectures take place in proper lecture theatres by lecturers and students and last around 45 minutes. There's a chance for questions afterwards too. 

We also attended the Philosophy Course Overview Lecture. Harry doesn't take A Level Philosophy but has touched on it in his other subjects. I got SUCH a good vibe from this lecture. I think a real benefit from attending these lectures is that you get a real feel for the culture in the department and Philosophy seems like they have a really good one. 

We heard from lecturers and current students about their course, struggles and what they're doing for their final year. There was also quite a bit of discussion about the kind of jobs you can get with this degree. I really liked that they have long-standing staff in this department. 

Again, they did not shy away from the negative aspects of the degree and in particular the students chatted open and honestly about University life here which I appreciated. 

The final lecture we attended was Politics and this one also included a tour around the Politics department. We were introduced to the full teaching team who seemed like a really friendly bunch and there is a strong focus on International teaching/staff/relations too. 

We did book onto a campus tour but after 5 minutes left as it wasn't for us - basically walking around and pointing at buildings. As a local, I feel like we didn't need this and could just walk around and visit the bits we wanted ourselves instead. It was a good chance to speak with other parents and a real student though. 

If you do wish to take a self-guided tour as we did, it's really easy to do. There are loads of student volunteers around campus to help with directions and everything is well signposted. 

I like that they had a local food van set up as one of their lunch offerings - of course we had to sample. We also grabbed a coffee from the student cafe. 

We visited the Sports Centre and Gym on campus. Harry LOVES his gym in Cramlington and wasn't sure about joining a City Centre or Uni Gym when the time comes. You can book onto a Sports tour or just walk around yourself. 

We just walked around ourselves and we were really impressed with the facilities. The gym area is huge with lots of excellent equipment. It had everything Harry would need and more. We were also give pricing info and it was way cheaper than expected. I'm pleased we visited this area as it's a part of campus I hadn't visited before. 

We also had a good look around the student union - checked out their bar prices, their campus shop and had a peek in their basement bar / gig area. All seemed like pretty standard student stuff! 

And finally we took a self-guided tour of the library. The staff in here were just so lovely and just had a really nurturing and caring vibe about them which left a really positive impact. 

On arrival we were asked about which subjects we may be interested in and they let us know which floors we would find those resourses on. They offered a full tour or just a verbal overview of their facilities. 

The library is somewhere a student is likely to spend a lot of time and I'm so pleased we were able to have a good look around. 

We squeezed a lot in but still didn't get to do everything - there are sessions on applying for university/personal statement tips, contextual offers, including a year abroad/in a work placement, finances, student loans and more. 

We also really wanted to take an accommodation tour but couldn't squeeze it in so think we will make that a priority next time. 

And finally, we didn't manage to visit the Law department/take any Law lectures. Harry has said in the past he's interested in studying Law further (he's currently taking A Level Law with a predicted Grade A). However at the moment, he's veering away from this option. I still think it will do us good to visit and learn more as it will really help to make up his mind either way. 

I'm really pleased we attended. It provided us and Harry with loads more info about the courses he was interested in but also gave us an insight into student life, the university culture & welfare. 

You can keep an eye on upcoming Open Days here:

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Newcastle University Open Day - What To Expect


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