Events and fairs
Going to a Higher Education (HE) Exhibition isn't about coming home with a tote bag packed with prospectuses. You can get all of that information online.
Instead, this is your chance to discover more, get your questions answered and start to decide what's right for you.
The big benefit
Instead of having to attend every single open day in the country, you can find out about different universities, colleges and even employers – all in the same place. So if you're not quite sure what you want to do, it's a great place to explore.
On the other hand, if you're already set on what you want to do, you can use the day to get as much information as possible to help with your application.
What's on offer?
In the exhibition, you can:
- Speak face-to-face with people from the colleges, universities and employers you're interested in
- Ask all about the courses or jobs they offer, what they're looking for in an ideal candidate, and what life's like on campus
- Make contacts who might be able to help you after the event
- Attend seminars on everything from gap years to UCAS applications.
Being prepared will help you make the most of the day.
All the dates
How to prepare before the event
No matter what event you're attending, preparation is important. A little bit of organisation will help you make the most of the experience.
First, think about what you're actually looking for from the day. Check out who will be attending. Find out if there are any seminars or talks you can go along to.
Decide in advance who you most want to talk to (check out the quesitons below for tips on what to ask about!), and which seminars you'd like to attend. Make a list of things you don't want to miss. Then, you can plan out how you'll spend your time.
Three ways My World of Work can help you prepare:
- The strengths and about me sections of your account will help you find job profiles and courses which would suit you. This can help when you’re making a decision about what course to do
- The Learn and train search lets you find a huge range of courses – including UCAS information. This will give you an idea of who to talk to and what you want to focus on at an event
- The college and university page gives you information about college and uni, what the differences are, and how to pick a course that's right for you
What to do during the event
When you get to the event, make sure you:
- Visit all the stands and seminars you want to (even if it means splitting up from your friends). Go back to the list you made. Have you checked off everything you wanted to do?
- Talk to people! This isn't about picking up freebies - it's your chance to learn some really useful information. The college and uni reps and employers are there to see you, so make the most of it. Don't be afraid to ask questions
- Take notes. You'll be getting a lot of details at once. Jotting things down will help you when you're thinking back on the day
- If it’s an HE Exhbition, make a shortlist of the unis and colleges you really like and find out when their open days are happening
Ten questions you should be asking
Whether you’re at an open day, college fair, HE Exhibition, or Skills Scotland event you’ll want to prepare some questions in advance.
This starter list will help you get the information you want from an event – but don’t forget to think about any others you could add.
How is the course taught?
If you’re a practical person but the course is mainly lectures, it may not be for you.
Is there a work placement?
This could be good if you’re hands-on. It’ll also help you make contacts for when you graduate.
Can I choose my other subjects?
Find out what you can pick outwith your core subjects. It might help you choose between similar courses.
How do I stand out?
That is – are minimum entry requirements enough or do you need to show relevant work experience or extracurricular activities.
What are the deadlines?
Some courses have earlier application deadlines and you don’t want to miss them.
What about accommodation?
Find out if there’s guaranteed accommodation for first year students and what costs are involved.
Is it easy to find a student house?
Good to know if you're moving away from home. Even if you’re in halls in first year, you'll need somewhere to stay for the rest of your course.
How are the campus facilities?
Ask about lecture halls, labs, workshops, the library, cafeterias, and shops.
What’s the social life like?
It’s about more than classes. Ask for information about societies and clubs, the union and local night life.
What have graduates gone on to?
Knowing where your course can lead helps when you’re making decisions.
After the event
When you get home from an event, it's time to think through everything you've learned.
Three useful things to do when you get home:
An open day is your chance to properly explore a campus and get a proper taste of what that university or college is really like.
Don't just spend the day wandering around. The benefit of being there is that you can attend lectures and talks which will give you a feel for student life. Lecturers, teaching staff and current students will be there, so make sure you ask them plenty of questions. The answers you get will help you decide if it's the place for you.
Another useful part of your visit is seeing the other side to student life. Take a look at the student union and find out what else happens on campus. If you're moving away from home, an open day is your chance to explore halls of residence and find out what your living situation could be like.
Looking for information on careers? Or just want to know more about where your school subjects might take you?
Skills Scotland is for you.
- Try hands-on activities for a taste of what different careers are really like. You could change a wheel, mix a mocktail, tile a roof, try virtual brain surgery or test your fitness
- Find out about a huge range of different career and training options and talk through what might suit you
- Speak to a careers adviser, check out college courses, find out about Modern Apprenticeships, or talk to employers about vacancies and training.
All of this is under one roof – and entry is free. Interested? If you're aged 14-19, go along to a Skills Scotland event and see for yourself.
* Of course we did the math! Depending on what course you're studying, and where you study, the amount of actual class time will vary. But even if you're not in lectures, labs and seminars through the week, you'll need to be studying. Adding together classes and independent study, this should average out to about 35 hours of uni or college work per week for full-time students. Then, assuming there's two 11-week terms and a shorter six-week term, we multiplied 35 by 28 weeks and got 980 hours a year.