Author: Holly M
4th Year Medical Student
What to ask at a University Open Day?
Applying to university is entirely different to any other year. Moreover, trying to find out which university is the perfect fit for you could feel like a daunting or even overwhelming task.
In this article, we will cover;
- the main things to sign up for/do,
- what questions to ask during virtual tours of the university,
- and during talks specifically for applying to medical school.
Try to be comforted by the fact that everyone is in the same boat as you. If you’re really struggling or worried about it, please reach out to your friends/family/teachers who are all there for you.
What to sign up for
This might seem like a really obvious thing to sign up for – but don’t disregard it because of this. This may be your only opportunity for you to see the campus.
Make sure you sign up early before spaces fill up, and keep a note of the date in your diary, so you don’t double book. Also and make sure your wi-fi connection is good enough!
What could be really helpful, is doing the virtual tour with a family member/friend, in the same way, you might do a ‘real-life’ tour. That way you have someone who might notice things you’ve missed, and also someone you can bounce ideas off and talk things through with afterwards. This will be especially helpful when it comes to you deciding on universities later on.
Pro tip: Check out this article to see how to make sure your online call/tour/interview goes smoothly and without interruption!
Visiting the city in real life
It is tough to get a feel for what a city is like without visiting. Due to Covid restrictions, it might be impossible and even illegal for you to visit another city. However, if guidelines and rules change, it may be worth visiting a city you are potentially interested in studying at. Whether the university is running an open day or not, you will at least get a feel for what the city is like.
Remember that you have to live in the city you choose for the next 5 / 6 years of your life – so you need to make sure you like it there!
This might sound strange, but it is worth searching for study/university lifestyle YouTubers based at the universities you are interested in. Their videos may give you a more honest and rounded look into life at that particular university, and also an idea of what student life there is like.
Additionally, they might also have helpful tips on applications to that particular university, which is always helpful!
Pro tip: Check out our YouTube Channel where Olivia (2nd-year medical student) offers many tips and tricks on how to get to medical uni and much more!
Ward Round Live – The UK’s only virtual hospital ward experience
What questions to ask
Questions to ask about university generally
This is a list of questions I would recommend you make sure are covered during a virtual tour. If they haven’t covered them by the end, don’t be scared to speak up and ask – no one will remember who you are and are probably all wanting to ask the same questions too. This isn’t a definitive list, so if there are questions you want to know the answer to, ask them!
- What are the university accommodation facilities like (you can ask specifics about the distance from campus/single-sex/ensuite/catered etc.)?
- How many libraries are there/what is access to libraries like?
- Are there any good/enough study spaces?
- Does the university have counselling/crisis mental health/GP services?
- What kind of societies does the university have (what are the fees for joining these etc.)?
- Where do most students live when they move out of student accommodation?
- Are there grocery shops close to the university campus/accommodation?
- How does the mitigating circumstances protocol work?
- Are there options to study the course completely online?
Questions to ask about COVID-19 response
Because of the current situation for students all around the country, I would ask some questions specifically about the COVID-19 response of the university. If this doesn’t bother you, then don’t feel like you have to ask these questions. Equally, if you do, make sure to ask them in a friendly manner (not in a way that could unintentionally come across as confrontational or accusatory)
- What support have they provided to students isolating in student accommodation?
- Did this include food parcels (how much did they cost/what did they contain), concessions/allowances on rent, refuse removal, mental health support services, additional academic support/mitigating circumstances?
- How were placements affected/how do they plan to manage future placements if another pandemic happens?
- How were students prepared for starting/re-entering clinical placements?
- What academic support is there for medical students who miss teaching sessions/clinical experience due to COVID-19?
- How have exam formats/passing criteria changed?
Questions to ask specifically about medical school
- Are the required entry grades confirmed, or may they change depending on the pandemic?
- What UCAT score, is usually required to achieve an interview at the medical school?
- What kind of format is the interview?
- What questions are typically covered in interviews?
- How do medical students on the course find it?
- How far do students commute to placements?
- Do students receive travel bursaries?
- How much clinical experience do you receive, and when does this start?
- Is there a mandatory intercalation year?
- What support does the medical school offer academically and also for students’ mental and physical health, and well being?
Ward Round Live – The UK’s only virtual hospital ward experience
Take a look at our previous blog posts
Author: Holly M 4th Year Medical Student Best practice for medical school interviews Medical school interviews are now in full swing, and they can be a very daunting prospect. There are lots of articles on our website covering different aspects of medical school...
Author: Edward 4th Year Medical Student Can you get medical work experience during lockdown? In attempts to reduce the number of people in hospitals, medical students have had placements cancelled, the number of visitors to hospitals has been reduced, and...
Author: Holly M 4th Year Medical Student What textbooks and resources should I get for studying medicine at university? It can be difficult to know what textbooks and resources you need to get before starting medical school. Especially if your university doesn't...