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Going to uni this year? Booked on to an open day yet?

If you’re applying to university this year, we hope that you’re already using Propel to research courses, universities and the support on offer to you. But have you booked yourself on an open day yet? Our Projects and Evaluation Officer, Sarah Young, explores why you might want to go along.

Open days are a great opportunity to ‘try before you buy’. Choosing a uni is a massive decision – it’s not just about the course you want to study, but the place you’ll be spending a lot of time. A visit can tell you a whole lot more than shiny brochures or websites.

University open days take place throughout the year, although loads are taking place now, over the summer months, when most people are thinking about applying. Some open days also happen after results day, for students who find places through Clearing.

Usually on an open day you’ll be able to chat to current students and staff, tour the campus and see the facilities. You can often do taster sessions, or attend talks, events, or workshops. It’s a chance for you to really get a feel for the place and the people, ask lots of questions, and see if it’s somewhere you think you’d be happy.

Ask your Personal Adviser if your local authority can cover costs associated with attending an open day, such as travel or accommodation as these are expenses relating to your education. If your local authority can’t help, contact the university directly, to see if they can support your visit.

Using Propel, you can find out the name and contact details for the person who has responsibility for working with and supporting care leavers at each university. Call or email them and introduce yourself – they want to hear from potential students, and they want you to choose their university. Propel will also tell you about specific support the university offers – for instance, bursaries or grants you can apply for, or whether they provide accommodation all year round.

Get out there and see what universities and higher education institutions have to offer. You won’t look back!

You can find out when universities are hosting their open days by checking on their websites, or looking at the open day search tools at the Complete University Guide or UCAS. Most universities will ask you to book in advance, usually just by sending an email or clicking on a button their website.

Visit Become’s Propel website to compare the support on offer at different universities and higher education institutions around the UK.

For advice on any aspect of being in care, leaving care, access to education and finances, please contact Become’s Care Advice Line.