As we’ve mentioned before, the few months of each year are the prime time for getting applications together for postgraduate courses. So if you’ve been thinking about doing a Master’s, now is the time to make some concrete decisions. One great way to help you do this is to attend a postgraduate open day.

Just as pretty much all universities hold open days for undergraduates, so too do they hold specialised open days for postgraduate courses. These offer a great opportunity to get a sense of if postgraduate studies would be right for you and if the university you are visiting would be the best place to do those studies.

One important thing to bear in mind, though, is that a postgraduate open day needs to be approached in a slightly different way to an undergraduate one. While your trip to open days as a young pup of a teenager was all about seeing how big the union’s beer garden was and what the city itself was like, here you’re going to be more focused on strictly study-related matters.

If you’re going to be attending a postgraduate open day, then, these are some tips that’ll help you get the most out of it, and in turn set you up for the best postgraduate study experience possible.

Ask lots of questions about the course to the people that run it

The postgraduate open day is generally a fairly intimate affair, during which you’ll have the chance to speak personally to the lecturers who run the courses for at least a couple of minutes. During this time you’ll have the chance to find out a lot about the course. By this we don’t mean factual information, but rather what your impressions are of the people who’ll be running the course and their ability to provide a stimulating teaching experience. Personal contact with your lecturers plays a much bigger role in postgraduate studies, and so taking the time to confirm you’ll get on well with the teaching staff will pay dividends later.

Find out about funding

A key element of postgraduate studies is being able to access the funding that will help you through your studies. Now, successfully applying for funding can be a daunting task, but many of its challenges can be demystified at a postgraduate open day. Moreover, your success in this area can often depend on the personal links you build with the people who work in your chosen subject’s department, and so creating a good first impression by asking insightful questions and showing enthusiasm for the subject (and perhaps also getting permission to email the person you speak to with follow up questions) at the postgraduate open day could really help you in your push for funding.

Get a sense of student life on the course

Whereas your social priorities as an undergraduate were probably based more around things like nightlife, for a postgraduate it’s all about being part of a course where you’ll have the chance to share your love of your studies with your classmates. This isn’t just because it’ll provide interesting conversation after classes–it’ll also help provide you with inspiration and insight that’ll help you in your current and future studies. You should be able to get a sense of the postgraduate community through the postgraduate open day–be on the lookout for current postgraduates who have volunteered to take part and seek out information on things like seminar series organised by the postgraduates.

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