Going to a UCAS fair can be a pretty overwhelming experience with the myriad of stands, hustle and bustle, heaps of prospectuses and free stuff you can pick up. Before you know it, it’s time to go so it’s important to make the most of your time there. Here are my top ten tips for visiting a UCAS fair:
- Plan what Universities and stands you want to visit and prioritise which ones are most important to you. You can use the Exhibition Guide which is often available from the UCAS website especially in the run up to the event, but you may also receive one at the entrance. Plan your route and take into account the time it takes to walk to each exhibitor as some of the larger events can take several minutes to get to where you need to be. This will help you manage your time so that you don’t miss out on one of your key stands.
- Make a list of questions to ask based on what’s important to you. Do you want to incorporate an Erasmus year into your study? Are placements useful to you? What are the University’s graduate employment statistics like? Are you interested in specific societies? Are the sports facilities important to you? Do you want to know about the academic facilities?
- Don’t be a sheep! You don’t need to stick with your friends if they’re all interested in different things. Branch out and make sure you get what you want from your time at the exhibition. Arrange to meet up with friends later to chat about what you’ve seen and done.
- Take a pen and paper to make a list of Open Days and make notes on the questions you ask. Don’t rely on your memory only. If you’re just gathering Open Day dates or a specific detail from each stand then take a snap of the information at the stand to collate and digest later.
- Take a bag. Most people pick up a prospectus or 10. However, most Universities have online prospectuses so save the planet and only pick up the ones you really want to know about.
- Talk to a UCAS Ambassador. They’ll be around in red t-shirts and can help with anything from directions to advice on applications.
- Check out the workshops, seminars and presentations going on. They offer a wealth of advice in a short period and are well worth scheduling into your plan.
- Get connected. Find the event or your key universities on social media who may be posting and tweeting before and throughout the day about what’s going on. Be the first one to know and head over if there’s something interesting about to happen.
- Bring some water or some money for a drink as the halls can get hot especially if you’re laden down with prospectuses!
- Know what time you’re leaving and where you plan to meet the group you came with. With so many people in such a large space, it’s important to know where exactly you’ll meet later especially if you need to catch a bus on time.
Ysabelle Graham-Smith and Georgina Guest
Education Liaison Officers, RGU