So many courses, so little time to explore the options…yet now you've committed yourself intellectually to the idea of postgraduate study, you know that your choice of course is critical.
And it's not just about the course, your overall quality of life for the next few months or years depends on where you'll be studying and who you'll meet. Congenial study buddies and a supportive supervisor will make a difference when you hit that research wall.
It's vital to get the right match of PG course, university and supervisor – so just how can virtual PG open days help?
Virtual open days offer you the chance to find out your options from the comfort of your desk or sofa. You can not only access courses online, but also really get a taste of what it would be like to study in that location. Many universities offer virtual tours of their campus, and UCAS, the UK's university admissions portal, has a list of universities offering virtual tours to prospective students.
Virtual PG open days take you deeper into the university experience, allowing you to explore the topics that are essential for postgraduate life: the courses, accommodation and funding. You'll have the chance to chat to academic staff online and get the insider's view from students who are already there. This is also critical if you're planning to do a research PhD, so add "virtual open day" to your PhD checklist.
The really great thing if you are hoping to study overseas is that you're not constrained to a one-off annual open day. Many universities, such as the University of York, now hold regular virtual open days throughout the university year. This means that each faculty or school has a better opportunity to discuss the individual needs of prospective students in greater depth.
A good way to look at the virtual PG experience is that it lets you start to build a relationship with an academic institution before you begin your course. As a student this has great benefits of course and it also means that universities are more conscious of the need for international outreach to meet the precise needs of postgraduate students. This helps them to constantly improve their students' experience.
In summary, virtual PG open days extend your choice of courses so that you can get a global overview, while also giving you the opportunity to examine the detail of each course. You get the chance to chat with students and staff, often in real time, but there's no cost involved and you don't have to leave the comfort of your home. You can contrast the benefits of living in a city or a small town and compare the costs of both. Finally, extending your search gives you a much better chance of matching with the ideal supervisor for your studies.