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5 tips for making the most of an Open Day

Date:24 October 2019
We'll see you there!
We'll see you there!

The Open Day is a chance for prospective students to visit a university they are interested in. At the open day, there are presentations about specific degree programmes to get a feel of what to expect from a programme, information fairs about extracurricular activities and city tours through Groningen. This all together is supposed to give you an impression of studying at the university and in the city. I highly recommend visiting an Open Day, as in my case, it really helped me decide where to study. Here are 5 points on why you should go to an Open Day!  

1. Get a feel for the university 

Each university has its own style. Some are traditional, others are more modern, and each person will have their own preference. Do you want to study on campus, or in a city? Would you rather live in a big metropolitan city, or a smaller, more student-oriented city? Visiting a university will give you a good impression of whether or not you see yourself studying there. I was torn between a few cities in the Netherlands, but after visiting the University of Groningen I knew that this was the kind of education that would fit me best. I attended a few presentations on programmes and talked to current professors and students. I remember sitting in the grand aula in Academy Building and thinking, ‘yup, this is where I’m going to study’. Next to programme presentations, there are also presentations about housing, admissions procedure, and student life. 

2. Learn more about the programmes you are interested in 

If you’re in doubt between a few different programmes, you’ll be able to make a better judgment after visiting an Open Day. The programme presentations take around an hour, where a professor and student will give an impression of the programme, explaining the contents, workload, and opportunities. After visiting a few, you’ll probably realize you’re more excited for one than the other. Even if you’re certain you want to study one thing, but not sure where you should also go to Open Days! I knew I wanted to study International Relations - this was certain. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to study in Groningen or Leiden, but in the end, the programme presentations and the Open Day in its entirety made the decision. 

3. Ask questions 

There is only so much you can learn from websites, FAQs or blogs. Each person has their own specific questions they want answers to before committing to a big decision like choosing which programme to study. The great thing about an Open Day is that there are so many people to whom you can ask questions - professors, students even other prospective students! When I visited the Open Day, I asked a current student of my programme all about what she thought about the programme. Below are a few sample questions you could ask.

How many hours of class will I have per week? 

How much self-study will I have to do? 

What are the exams like? 

What is there to do in Groningen next to studying? 

What kind of job opportunities would I have if I study this programme? 

While you can probably find answers to these online, it’s more convincing to physically hear it from someone else. Plus, you can ask further questions, which isn’t possible on an FAQ page. 

4. Discover student life 

Next to information about different programmes, Open Day also offers a view on student life at the University of Groningen. The biggest student associations are represented at the Open Day, where you can enquire about all the different sports, social and cultural activities there are in Groningen. From choirs to over 60 different sports, to debate teams or just social associations - there is something for everyone. Talking to the student association representatives can give you a better view on the social aspect of living in the city, and can help you craft an idea about whether or not you see yourself living in Groningen. 

5. Experience the city 

Knowing what you want to study is one thing, but where to study is another. While you might think “I don’t need to go to an open day, I know what I want to study”, experiencing the city you might be living in is definitely important when making a decision. During an Open Day, you not only learn about what the university can offer but also what the city can offer. When I visited Groningen for an Open Day, I strolled around the city with a friend, passing all the cafes where I now regularly get coffee with friends. The university also gives a free city tour all throughout the Open Day, where a current can tell you all about the city, and if you ask me - having a local tell you all about a city gives you the best impression! 

To conclude - an Open Day can be vital in choosing the next step in your academic career. Can’t come to the Open Day? You can also schedule a personal visit to the UG at a moment more suitable for you. Want more information about the open day? Email us at prospectives

About the author

Hey! I’m Danique, a Dutch/American studying International Relations and International Organizations with a mild obsession with coffee, cats, and rowing. If you can’t find me, look for the girl (almost always) wearing pink and writing blogs.


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