Virtual Postgraduate Open Days
If you can't attend a physical open day, or you're just starting to think about postgraduate study and you aren't yet sure which Universities to visit, a virtual open day can be a great way of starting to find out about the places you may want to study in.
Most virtual open days are advertised well in advance, just like 'real' open days, and many will ask you to pre-register. They are likely to ask you your subject area and some other details - this will help ensure that they have the right range of people available at the virtual event.
Virtual Open Days can vary, so have a good look at the programme in advance. They have the advantage that you can dip in and dip out, attending the sections that are most useful to you. Most will include a range of pre-recorded video material from both staff and students, blogs and 'live' sections, where you can ask questions and interact, either over video or via live chats. The live sections will be timed and you may need to sign up for them individually as well, so it's worth checking these out in advance.
Pre-recorded sessions could include everything from videos of students and staff to taster sessions or sample lectures. These are usually accessible throughout the open day for you to access whenever you want to, but if they are linked to a live chat session they may only appear for part of the event, so it's worth checking if you particularly want to see something.
The live sessions may be video or live chats - you can attend those and observe what others say, or ask your own questions as you like: when you do, remember that other students will be listening and watching. You are less likely to be able to talk one to one at a virtual open day than a real one, with either students or staff, but these sessions will cover a range of issues, and other students may ask questions you find useful but had not thought of asking.
If you do want to talk one to one but aren't able to do so at the virtual open day, you should at least be able to find out how you can do that in future - whether by phone or Skype if you want to talk to a member of staff, or by email if you want to talk to a current student on your course - many universities offer this type of service.
Many Universities also offer virtual tours to help you get a sense of the facilities - these start to give you an idea of the physical environment, and in particular what is available to postgraduates - if they have particular postgraduate spaces these are likely to be included in the tour.
Ideally, a virtual open day will give you enough information to decide whether you want to visit the University in person, and how to talk one to one to staff and students after the event. Although it can't really replace a face to face visit, it can give you a valuable starting point or enough information to decide on if you aren't in a position to visit yourself.
Search postgraduate open days on MastersCompare. You can add those you decide to attend to your account on MyPostgradApps which will then send you automatic reminders that the open day is coming up so you don't miss out!
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