Open day Top Tips – or at least an attempt at.

On a crisp cold day packing the family and myself in the car, including the duvet (Top-Tip. 1), and making the three hour drive to Aberystwyth, taking the obligatory stop off at McDonalds for a McMuffin breakfast (Top-Tip. 2), and counting how many sheep we can see (Not-so-Top-Tip-unless- you-have-all-day-in-Wales) can only signal the start of an open day.

To make this easier, let’s make a list, everyone likes a good list.

As parental as you may feel writing a timed schedule for a day out, it will make your day so much more efficient and enable you to see more. I relied on my list of talk times heavily, and it made the day go so much smoother. Also understand your university map so you can get to places on time.

Whether you’re a constant grazer like me, or you have three meals a day; it is a long day of walking. Food is available, I personally went to the on-site student café, but I brought some cereal bars (and fruit rolls, and starbursts, and marshmallows, and crisps… oops?) as well which kept me content between talks; and also acted as a bit on an ice breaker outside an accommodation talk when a single marshmallow mysteriously dropped from my bag in front of a group of fellow newbies…

Self-explanatory really, it’s nice to have a familiar face to walk around with and also offer their opinion. I’ve been to two open days, one with my mum, and the other on my own so #experience (they’re normally nicer to you if you offer them your snacks too – Top-Tip)

Everyone’s in the same boat (literally, if Aber have another storm) and the day is what you make it, ask the questions you want answers to, chat to current students, and get involved.

This is NOT just where you will be studying for the next three years (or more) but where you will actually live, and potentially work. Of course it is paramount that the department and the course cater to your needs and wants, BUT look at the environment also (- there’s the geographer in me coming out) can you realistically live here in Aberystwyth?

These are just a few aspects that made my open days go better, and I hope they prove useful to you too. Of course there are lots of other students there, both old and new, so really use this to your advantage, talk to people and get a real sense of what life in Aberystwyth is really like.

I finished my day off with a fish and chips on the beach wall (Last-Top-Tip) then the long trek home confirming that this is where I am going to spend the next three years of my life.
Have fun!

Bryony Fagan

So the open day is in 22 hours, 52 minutes and 17 seconds. But who’s counting?

I am!Untitled 1

I’m working with the marketing department here at Aberystwyth University this summer and open days are key dates in my work calendar with each one circled and highlighted. (as you can see in the picture)

The preparation has begun with extra prospectuses and departmental brochures being ordered and brand new bags and pens! Below are a couple of pictures of the stock rooms lastnight. But by tonight the two of them will be completely empty and everything will be set up on campus ready for tomorrow!

stafell stoc 2 stafell stoc

So make sure you remember to pick up your ‘goodie bag’ from the front desk at the arts center on Wednesday morning!

These are just a couple of tips for you to consider as you attend open days this year (especially the one here in Aberystwyth tomorrow – hint hint!)

1. Wear comfy shoes!sgidie marged

There’s a lot of walking on open days whether it be running to catch a bus,a tour of the campus, walking to a session or trying to find the University after you park!

2. Arrange in advance.

There is so much going on during an open day, I’d strongly recommend that you study your packages / order of the day in advance. Google maps is a great place to start to ensure you’re in the right place and if you’re unsure about anything just contact the University. Decide what workshops / discussion sessions / tours that are necessary for you to attend and make sure that you know when and where they are!

3. Do not be afraid!

llysgennadAsk questions! Talk to us (ambassadors) . Of course it’s important to talk with staff and lecturers but we are the people who are studying at the University. And we know what it is to be a student here at Aberystwyth University! So go ahead and ask us about anything – we wear yellow t-shirts and we don’t bite!

‘where’s the nearest toilet?’, ‘when does the library close?’ or ‘which one is the best pub?’ (Yr Hen Lew Du of course!) Those are just a few examples of some of the things people have asked me in the past.  So do not be afraid to pick your ambassadors brains – that’s what we are there for!

4. Make the most of all the information

pantyIt’s easy to forget the information you receive on an open day, mainly because there’s so much of it! But here’s my suggestion to solve the problem : make a note of everything! After you have finished your open day visit go and sit down somewhere (with your friends / parents) and discuss. It is important to do this because having a chat with other people will recall some facts that you may not remember. And have a go at noting things down e.g. on the accommodation package write a little note next to the accomodation you liked most (just like i did in my pack back in 2011)  or put a star next to the scholarship you would like to try for.

I hope that this has helped you a little.

Perhaps I’ll see some of you on Wednesday 🙂

When you usually reach 40, you would expect a pair of socks or a bottle of wine as a gift.  But when UMCA (Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth – Aberystwyth’s Union for Welsh Students) turned 40 last week, the celebrations seemed never ending!  As they say, life begins at 40!  Here’s a little taste of the celebrations…

Sŵn: Pen-blwydd Hapus UMCA!  (Sŵn: Happy Birthday UMCA!)

Sŵn, a night of Welsh music up in the Union, is traditionally held once a month and by now Sŵn is one of the Unions most successful events.  As we had already had our “last official” Sŵn of the year, it was nice to have another one thrown for good measure.  With everybody up for a party, it was a night to remember.  It was great to see the geriatrics or hasbins out as well – Miriam showing that Postgraduate students still know how to have a good time!


Gŵyl UMCA 40 (UMCA 40 Festival)

Where else would you find Geraint Løvgreen a’r Enw Da, Y Bandana, Vanta, Blaidd, Yr Eira, Catrin Herbert, Breichiau Hir, Gwyryf, Radio Rhydd, Tymbal and Y Banditos under one roof I would like to see a Welsh language gig trying to better that the line up!  Clearly Aberystwyth still has the ability to stage some of the biggest events of the Welsh Rock scene.  A day to remember!

Gwyl UMCA40

Cinio cyn-lywyddion UMCA a chyn-wardeniaid Pantycelyn*

(Past UMCA Presidents and Past Pantycelyn Wardens Dinner*)

* The current UMCA committee also received an invitation!!

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best nights I’ve had in Aberystwyth!  It was an honour to spend the night with people who have been so influential over the year.  On the other hand, I had no idea Cegin Pantycelyn could cook such posh food!  I even had to google “spicy ham hock terrine” – not quite your usual supper at Pantycelyn!

Cinio cyn-lywyddion a chyn wardeniaid UMCA40

Arddangosfa UMCA a Phantycelyn ar hyd y blynyddoedd

(Exhibition: UMCA and Pantycelyn over the years)

And what a better way to round off the celebrations that with an exhibition highlighting UMCA’s exploits over the past 40 years.  It was encouraging to see Pantycelyn comfortably full with everybody nosing and reminiscing about UMCA’s achievements.  It’s hard to believe the number of protests and rallies that have taken place over the years.  They include…

  • Establishing a Welsh Union
  • Ensuring equality from the Guild (now the Students Union)
  • The Queen’s visit (well… planned visit) to the University
  • Establishing the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol
  • Campaign to ‘Achub Pantycelyn’ (Save Pantycelyn)

John Davies - Cyn-warden Pantycelyn

There’s a lot of talk about people suffering from a Mid Life Crisis when they turn 40 … but I doubt UMCA’s planning on having a mid-life crisis in near future!

The open days are a’coming! There’s been loads of great advice for you this week here on Aber Insiders and my number one tip is – take advantage of it!

When I was open-day-ing, I knew immediately that I wouldn’t be able to take it all in and be happy with what I’d seen in one day, so I came to two separate open days. In terms of talks and information, on the first I went to and sought out course-related things, and on the second I focused on practicalities like accommodation, finances, scholarships and so on. I’ve been around other open days since as a student who happened to be on campus, and with others I knew who were looking around. So, here are my top six tips for open days!

  1. Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise! Once you’ve signed up to the open day, you’ll get a program of what’s going on where and when. Make time to look through it, and mark anything that sounds interesting or useful. Then see how many you think you can make it to and prioritise. If you’ve got others coming with you, you can delegate – for instance if there’s a really important course talk on at the same time as a general talk about bursaries, maybe you can go to the important one and the person accompanying you can collect information from the other. It can be daunting coming to a big new place though, so if you don’t want to split up there’s no worries. A lot of information can be picked up from the information fair. Either way, have a general idea of what you’re going to and where it is – check out the campus map so you know where everything’s happening!
  2. Don’t try to attend too many things because you’ll only overload yourself. Allow some things to be down to information fair browsing and booklets that you can read later on. And definitely make sure you have time to eat some lunch, as the day can be really exhausting.
  3. Must Do – the things I would recommend making sure you do are taking a campus tour, visiting your department, talking to current students, and taking a tour of some halls. Prioritise what things you most want to see though – there might be other things that matter more to you.
  4. Talk about the day with someone on your side Even if you don’t split up for anything, it’s helpful to swap notes with someone else at the end of the day, as a way of remembering and processing all that you’ve learned – and open days do throw a lot of information at you! While talking to everyone at the day itself is invaluable, their job is to be there for everyone – there’s no substitute for having somebody else who is exclusively thinking about how Aberystwyth will be a fit for you. The open day is the beginning of your decision – make sure you reflect on what you learn.
  5. Check out the scholarships table at the information fair. If you are thinking of taking the scholarship exam (and it is so worth doing!) then swing by the scholarships desk at the information fair. The people there are (like almost everyone in Aber) absolutely lovely, and can explain the whole thing for you. Also, if it’s like my open day, you’ll be able to pick up some past papers that give you a better feel for how the exam will be.
  6. Go into the town, even if it’s only briefly – because it’s beautiful, and few things can make you want to glue yourself down here more than the sight of the sea. While you’ll come here for the University you will be part of the town, so it’s good to soak some of it up.


At the end of the day, your open day experience will be unique to you, just like your university experience will. Open days are a buffet table of information and opportunities. What’s really important for one person to know before coming will be at the bottom of someone else’s list – so have a good think about what’s important for you. Know your criteria, and come to see if Aberystwyth fits them – or changes them! Some people know exactly what they want when they start looking, others just have an idea – and it can change for anyone upon finding the right place to be. Look to that feeling in your gut that says, yep, I can belong here.

Aberystwyth’s next open day is Wednesday 2nd July – maybe I’ll see you there!

For more info check out the other blogs on Aber Insiders and the University’s guide to getting the most out of an Open Day.

Wednesday the 2nd of July– remember the date.  Aberystwyth University’s Open Day.  If you’re considering or have already applied for a place at University, make sure you visit an Open Day at Aberystwyth.  For those of you, like me, who are glued to the Football World Cup, you’d be glad to know that there aren’t any games played on the 2nd of July– so there’s no excuse for missing the Open Day!

Diwrnod Agored2

Why would you attend?

Three years is a very long time, especially if you’re unhappy.  So it is important to make sure that you chose a University that fits your character and personality.  You could take my word that Aberystwyth is the best place in the world to be a student, but there’s no replacement to visiting the town and seeing for yourself.

What to visit?

A number of general and departmental talks have been scheduled during the day.  With so many interesting and informative talks taking place, it’s usually a good idea to plan your visit before you arrive.  You would benefit from visiting libraries, computer resources and laboratories (if you want to study a lab based subject) whilst you’re here – this would give you a better feel of the facilities and an opportunity to nose around!  The National Library has been like a second home to me this year!  Even if it does rain, I’d suggest going on a Campus Tour – this is a fantastic way to meet and chat with current students.  And if it’s sunny enough, make sure you get an ice cream on the Sea front before returning home… a great way to end the day.
Diwrnod Agored1

5 Points to remember

  • Talk to Current Students – this is the best way to get an unbiased opinion about the Courses and the University
  • Talk to the lectures – although this may seem a little scary, they are there to help and give advice.  This is the best way to gain in-depth information about the courses
  • Visit the town – this is the best say to experience the atmosphere of Aberystwyth
  • Attend a Campus Tour – Get a taste of the unique nature of the campus and you’ll soon find out that everywhere is just a stone’s throw away
  • Enjoy!


Useful questions to ask

  • Will you have to sit a lot of exams, write a lot coursework, or a combination of both?
  • What kind of cooking and washing facilities are available?
  • How safe is Aberystwyth
  • How much is the rent each week?
  • Is there a good social life to be found?

Have a safe journey, and I might see you around Aberystwyth on the 2nd of July!

Wandering about on campus at this time of year feels quite strange. This time last year, I had already left Aber and had headed home, having been kicked out of our student house. Now, my semesters don’t work out in quite the same way, so I am still out and about around campus. It’s a very peculiar feeling strolling through the corridors of the Welsh Department and going to the library and it being so quiet. It’s almost like frequenting a ghost town. Despite this, I am trying to make the most of it – Open Day season is just around the corner, and it won’t be quite so peaceful for much longer.


It’s quite likely that some of you are considering Aberystwyth as one of your options and you have already been to a few open days. Four years ago, whilst considering where I was going, I did the same. I had been to visit a few universities before visiting Aberystwyth, but hadn’t felt ‘That Feeling’. None of the ones I had visited felt right, somehow, and I just knew they weren’t for me. In Aber, ‘That Feeling’ hit me as soon as I had stepped on campus. I just knew that it was where I was going to be happiest – and thankfully, I was right!

It was, no doubt, a gut feeling. On the first open day I went to, I had a tour of the Old College, where the Welsh Department was at the time, (it’s up in the Hugh Owen building by now) and also went on a tour of the Parry-Williams building (a complete architectural contrast!) where the Film and Television Department is based. I also had the chance to visit Pantycelyn, the halls of residence where I later on went to live, and I remember being amazed by the unique character of the place. It sounds awfully unhelpful, but I just knew that Aber was the right choice for me. One obvious piece of advice I have to share with you, is that if you’re unsure or not happy with a place, consider other options. Take the time to visit a place again and again, because at the end of the day, you will be living there for the next three years. Explore every nook and cranny of the university, the halls of residences and the town. You have to be certain that it works for you. You are the most important one in the whole equation – don’t forget that!


Following my first open day, and after going through the whole UCAS process, I received an invitation to go to department specific open days (and once again, in other universities, not just Aberystwyth). I had the chance to ask more questions to ask about module choices and opportunities, so don’t worry if you don’t get the chance to ask about all your queries and concerns the first time.  I’m also going to repeat what my fellow bloggers have already said; don’t be afraid to ask questions. Lecturers and the guides in yellow t-shirts (you can’t miss them!) are very friendly and approachable, and are there to answer anything you want to ask. And, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

I don’t want to scare you, but deciding on which university to go to is an important decision. You don’t want to look back and regret it. You must find the right winning combination of deciding on the right course, the right living space and the right town/city for you. I always say you must go with your gut feeling and your instinct. Open Days offer a taster, of sorts, of what is to come, so make the most of visiting universities, and enjoy them as just a ‘day out’. I have to say, despite quite enjoying the tranquillity of a studentless campus at the moment, I am also looking forward to seeing prospective students coming to visit, gearing up for the next chapter in their lives.