If you can’t visit the University, how can you chose?

Sometimes it’s just not practical to visit the University you are considering before you make your choice. If you can’t visit, what other options are open to you. Talking to staff and students and getting a feel for the University? Here are a few ideas:

Virtual Open Days and webinars

These are very effective for raising awareness of postgraduate study. Open days take one day and as many as five, including specific limited time sessions. Focussed specific subject areas offer the opportunity to talk to both staff and students, with additional supporting information. Registration for university virtual open days is required. Agree to opt in to receive information which is related to your interest. If you can’t visit the University because you are overseas then its no problem.

Online Chat sessions

Some UK universities are using an online chat tool that features students. Currently studying at postgraduate level with experience in the course you are looking for. These are a brilliant way of hearing from someone who was in your position perhaps only a few months ago. They may also have family connections to your country of origin. This is a great way to answer any questions you may be worrying about regarding study away from home.

A number of Universities run online chat sessions regarding admissions or student life questions. If you can’t see one available for the University or Department you are interested in, ask if they are planning one for the future. Usually short sessions of an hour or so maximum, and again the opportunity to chat to staff and students. You usually don’t need to sign up in advance, you can just join in when they start. If you don’t want to ask questions yourself you can view the questions from other students and see what answers they get.

Student email schemes

Universities encourage applicants to submit a question by email which a student from the University will then answer, but often not in real time, but if you do have a specific question about life at the University or in your specific subject area this can be very helpful.

Student Profiles and University videos

Universities spend a lot of time and effort encouraging current and former students to write or record videos about their experiences, so make time to read and or watch these. There will usually be links to them from within the University profile on Postgraduate Studentships or Masters compare, and of course within the university course page on their website.

General email communications

We’d always recommend you contact the University and Department where you are considering studying – how they respond and the amount they have personalised the answer to your question will give you some idea of how they view postgraduates. If you are applying for a PhD it’s also really important to be in touch with potential supervisors before you apply to see if there will be a good fit and if you think you can work with them.

Social Media

Facebook and Twitter are great channels to utilise to find out more information as well as ask questions directly to your chosen university. Instagram and Snapchat will also give you a more visual understanding of the university, campus, student life and facilities. You can also look at The Student Room to see what other potential postgraduates are asking/saying about a particular University, or start your own thread if you can’t find the question you are looking for.

Next Steps