The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

Virtual open days: What are they?

What are virtual open days and how can they help you when you’re deciding where to study abroad?

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Why do virtual open days exist?

In previous years, you would visit a campus in-person before you decided to apply to that university. This way students could get a feel for what it would be like to study there; see all the facilities in person (including accommodation options); and speak to staff and students to learn more about the university.


However it’s not always possible to visit a campus in person, especially if you’re an international student living in another country. Flights and accommodation to visit a campus can cost a lot (especially if you’re accompanied by a parent) and it probably won’t be possible to do this for every university you’re interested in. Plus, there may simply not be enough time to take a trip abroad if you’re also completing high school exams at the time or have other commitments (similarly, your parents may not be able to take time off work to accompany you).



However now, you can try a virtual open day....

Thanks to the rise of virtual tours, live web chats, Skype and video content (as well as faster internet speeds), the virtual open day is fast becoming far more commonplace. These allow students to take a comprehensive tour of a campus from their home country, online through their desktop, mobile or tablet device. You can do it at home, school, work....wherever! Rather than be restricted by which campuses you would realistically be able to visit (and ultimately make the wrong choice), you have access to all the universities which interest you so you can make a more informed decision. Plus it’s free to participate!


Virtual open days might also be referred to as ‘virtual fairs’ too.



How to take a virtual tour

You will usually have to register in advance to gain access to the virtual open day. This is very easy and you simply have to provide a few details about yourself. Usually universities will promote their virtual tours months or weeks in advance if there is some sort of live, interactive element; this might include a Q&A with staff, academics and other students, with whom you can connect with, ask questions etc.


On the day of the virtual open day, you will normally have to go to the university’s website or click on a link which has been sent to you, to access it. Virtual open days will cover all aspects of your student life at that university and last a couple of hours (but you can leave and come back while it is in progress). Tours of campus will also be available for you to navigate and explore.



After the virtual open day...

Usually you can go to the university’s website at anytime afterwards and access this content on demand. This is perfect if you forget to ask something or check something out; you can go back as often as you wish to help you make your decision.

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