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Top Tips to Make the Most of Your Queen’s Open Day

Current student Kathryn shares her advice to get the most out of an open day at Queen’s.

The Lanyon Building, facade of Queen's University Belfast

Coming to an open day at Queen’s is a great way to get a feel for Belfast, explore courses you might be interested in, and dream big about what university life could look like for you! But the day can be busy, and potentially overwhelming if you’re not sure what to expect - being prepared can ensure you get the most out of the experience.

First, my credentials to give you advice - I fondly remember my own in-person Queen’s open day a few years back, and will also be helping out at the one coming up in September. So, these are some top tips from someone who has been there and will be there again soon!

Student at open day 2018

Open Day 2018

Take the chance to talk

One of the best resources available to you at the open day? Other people. Plenty of current students will be helping out in a variety of roles across the university, and many of the academic staff will be on hand giving talks and demonstrations. Everyone is there with one goal - helping you to have a great day and learn more about Queen’s and what life is like here.

Lived experience is far more detailed than any FAQ section! Talking to academics can help answer your questions about the courses you’ve got your eyes on, while current students are more than happy to answer questions about their experiences in Belfast - I still remember chatting to an older student about her clinical placement when I was at a medicine at Queen’s open day, and that was the first time I could truly start to picture myself doing the same a few years down the line.

Student volunteering at an open day

Look out for red t-shirts - they're happy to help!

See the sights

Make sure you check out the most important parts of campus - the gorgeous Lanyon Building, the quiet shelves of the McClay (a place you’ll likely get very familiar with as a student here) and whatever building is likely to host your chosen subject area.

It’s great to see the lecture theatres, labs or tutorial rooms you’re likely to end up seeing a lot of as a student and exploring what Queen’s offers for the subjects you’re considering, whether that’s the state of the art Computer Science rooms, the impressive Sonic Arts Research Centre, or Intersim, the clinical skills department for the medics, nurses, midwives and dentists.

Computer Science Building

Computer Science Building

Get a feel for the city

With campus nestled across the Stranmillis and Botanic areas, open day is also the perfect chance to take in the surrounding area of Belfast and see what you think! Queen’s hosts food trucks and lawn games on site, leaving space for relaxing and fun as you explore the campus. There are also plenty of spots for a coffee or lunch in the middle of your busy day exploring, and seeing some of the local businesses can also give you a feel for the people and spirit of Belfast, if it’s not where you grew up. (Spoiler alert - the Northern Irish are famously friendly, helping you to feel at home even if you’re only visiting for the day).

The McClay Library from Botanic Gardens

Take a stroll through Botanic Gardens

Explore the practicalities

An open day also provides you and your family with a lot of practical advice on what the transition to university is like. I’m the oldest in my family, and my parents and I definitely found it helpful to attend talks on topics like student finance and careers services. This helped to put my parents’ minds at ease and explore the options we had - and may help you to get a clearer picture on what will suit you!

Queen’s also offers a range of well-being, disability and support services, as well as dedicated teams for GB students which are represented on the day - meaning an open day is a great time to explore what support is on offer and what works for you and your family to put your mind at ease.

Queen's student services

Queen's has a wide range of student support available

Find your home away from home

Queen’s open days also offer a tour of Elms accommodation, located about 10 minutes’ walk from the main campus and a popular spot for freshers to live. One of my favourite parts of my own open day was getting to see the accommodation on offer - the bright and modern rooms of Queen’s 3 main sites to live had me made me much less afraid of moving out, and more excited for future flat bonding and a taste of freedom. I recommend the trip if you’ve got the time!

Queen's student accommodation

Modern student accommodation in the heart of the city

Check out the clubs and societies

Located in One Elmwood (worth the visit in its own right - the new SU is one of my fave spots on campus), representatives of some of Queen’s most popular clubs and societies will be present to give you a taste of student life to come. From sports to music and everything weird and wonderful in between, there is a place for everyone - and if there’s anything you’re particularly passionate about, it’s a great chance to meet representatives of that club before you next see them in the chaos of freshers week.

Mini musical Queen's Musical Theatre Society

Queen's Musical Theatre Society

Take a step back and soak it all in

The open day offers you a chance to explore many aspects of university life, and with so much to see and do, it’s easy to focus in on the finer details.

While this is all helpful in making the decision of whether Queen’s is for you, don’t forget to take a step back - try and see the big picture of what your student life in Belfast might look like. Open day was my first taste of uni life and made me super excited to start that chapter as I walked around the gorgeous campus and imagined spending my days heading to lectures and anatomy labs. My biggest tip is just to take time to imagine yourself as a Queen’s student and get excited - before you know it, it might just be home.

Student's studying items in the McClay

Time flies - one day I was touring the McClay and then next I'm there studying!

Our next Undergraduate Open Day will be on 9 September 2023.

Find out more

Undergraduate Open Days

Queen's: The Student Experience

Study Medicine at Queen's

Kathryn Allen

Medicine| Undergraduate Student | Lisburn, NI

I’m a 21 year old student originally from Lisburn and starting my fourth year of Medicine at Queen's in September- I love my degree because it combines caring for people, learning fascinating things and working as a team. When I’m not busy surviving placement and exams, you can find me in one of Belfast’s great coffee shops with a friend, going to concerts to get my fix of live music, or curling up to read a book with a carefully curated Spotify playlist on in the background!

Kathryn Allen