UCAS exhibitions and other HE fairs are great opportunities for you to meet current King’s students and members of staff and ask them questions about going to university, studying at King’s and living in London.
We’ve compiled our top 5 no-nonsense tips for getting the most out of UCAS exhibitions and HE fairs. Click each tip below to find out more.
Tip 1 - Subject first
With hundreds of universities on site at any one exhibition, it is important to narrow down the list of universities that you might possibly wish to interact with. The best way to do this is by making clear decisions about the subject you want to study at university.
Things to consider might be:
What do you enjoy studying?
What kind of career paths are you looking at?
What do you find yourself capable of studying?
Once you have an idea about your subject, you could use websites such as UCAS course search, Which? Univeristy or UniStats to help narrow down the list.
You should consider content and teaching style – subjects can sound very similar but can be very different in reality. Using the above websites to start picking these courses apart or using university websites, for example our King’s website, is a good place to start.
Other data can be useful but should be taken in context with other information, such as league table information, or KIS data from the UniStats website.
Once this list has been found, you could use other factors to narrow down further, such as:
Size of university
Type of university
Tip 2 - Get to know the exhibition
It’s important to get to know what to expect from each UCAS exhibition and to prepare well. Asking previous students and staff what the event is like or looking at the videos online can be useful to prepare mentally.
If your school doesn’t take students in groups to UCAS exhibitions, you should ensure that you gain permission and book online to gain plenty of pre-event information.
You should then view the pre-event information. This allows you to see which of the universities that you have narrowed down are at your chosen event. You might also be able to find where they are located in the event venue.
There may also be seminars available that day that would be of use to you – working out the timings of these gives your visit good structure. Booking early for these may be important or arriving early if booking isn’t required, as these can be very popular.
Tip 3 - Be prepared
You should think carefully about what you are looking for in a course and in a university and what might be important for you to know when making your decisions.
Prepare questions around these important area. It might include:
The course structure
These don't have to be academic questions, but can be broader if you feel the answers would be useful. There are no 'silly' questions - if you get an answer to a question that helps your decision making, it has been a good question.
For more information on how to prepare, UCAS Prep has some great materials to begin thinking about this topic.
Tip 4 - Visit the exhibition
You should take your time to visit all of the stands that are relevant to you and not just follow your friends. You should also try to visit all of the stands that you are genuinely interested in before just going to those that have freebies.
You should take along the venue plan with the universities that you wish to visit highlighted. This will help you easily seek out the universities and cross each off once visited.
You should ensure that you have your questions written down with room to take answers and pick up any relevant literature (taking along a bag may be useful for this).
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to attend any seminars on the day and take notes.
Tip 5 - Evaluate
Once you have been to the exhibition, you should take the time to evaluate your day. You should go back through the answers to your questions and the prospectuses and discuss with teachers, parents or friends what they thought of each university. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons from each to narrow down your choices as far as possible.
Once you have done this, you should delve deeper – attending open days, taster sessions and subject relevant events could help you hone your decisions even further.
Importantly, there is no secret code to crack in order to understand this process. Decisions can be very difficult, but starting early, taking your time, researching and asking questions can be very important.
And of course, you are always welcome to ask the Schools and Colleges Liaison Team any questions via email or on the phone - 020 7848 3044.