Private Housing vs Halls of Residence
You’re in your final year of sixth form or college and hoping to get the grades to attend university next year. Great! All you need to do now (aside from pass your exams) is to choose a uni. There are so many to choose from though, this can be easier said than done.
Should you select the one closest to home (or furthest away!), the one with the best sports facilities, the one that specialises in your area of study, or the one with a strong LGBTQ+ community? Well, that is up to you — you need to consider your priorities, think about what you want to get out of your university experience, and choose a few universities to visit for open days.
However, open days can end up costing you a small fortune. Missing them isn’t an option though, as your future really shouldn’t be determined on how much petrol money you had (or didn’t have) one month, years ago! So, how can you save money on attending open days? Keep reading!
Planning your trip in advance means you’ll be able to organise your transport sooner — and if you’re travelling by public transport, you’ll be able to bag some cheaper tickets. Don’t forget your 16-25 railcard if you’re travelling by train, to instantly save a third off your journey! If you’re not travelling far, the bus is a great option, as it is cheap and universities will always have a bus stop nearby.
Before your visit, it is also worth planning what you’d like to see when you get there — university campuses can be huge and overwhelming, so decide what you’d like to see, and head straight there when you arrive. If you’re interested in studying art, there’s no point in viewing the science labs! However, most people will be interested in viewing the student halls or housing options, alongside the key uni buildings.
The chances are, you’re not the only person at your sixth form or college who wants to attend the open day at a certain university, so why not travel together in a car and save money on transport by splitting the fuel cost.
It‘s also worth speaking to a tutor at your school or college, as they might put on a coach for you if enough people are interested in one university or city — if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
If you’re interested in multiple universities in the same city or county, visit them on the same day if you can, saving yourself a return trip at a later date. This could save you a lot of money, particularly if you’re looking at studying far from home.
With so much going on, it could be tempting to buy some lunch — and perhaps even breakfast and dinner too, if it turns into a long day. Cut your spending by planning ahead and taking food with you — if it’s a warm day, you could have a picnic outdoors on campus. Don’t forget to pack your water bottles, too.
Many UK universities now offer virtual open days, such as this one by the University of Liverpool: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/open-days-and-visits/virtual-open-day/ You can attend any time, from the comfort of your bedroom, so it costs you nothing and requires zero effort! Of course, this isn’t quite the same experience as if you were to attend in person, but it might be enough to help you make your decision — without spending a penny.
Find a university open day today using this handy open day finder tool.
Looking for more blog posts aimed at students? Check out this one on how to get prepared for starting university.