Hi there! My name is Annabelle, I am a third year (moving into forth year) politics and social policy student. I am from the North of England, despite being born in Edinburgh.
When applying to Stirling I was first interested in English language, teaching and sociology. But after listening to students and subject lectures about employability and the modules covered, I knew I would find sociology and politics more interesting and would open my mind to career areas I had never thought of.
Before attending my first open day, I needed to know where the university was and how good the public transport links are, especially to home. I needed to know what sort of clubs and societies were available to join. During the open day I needed to ask: what modules were available to take and how this would change throughout my time in Stirling? I also wanted to know about the resources in the library. Would I need to buy all the books, or just a couple core textbooks? On the other hand, my parents wanted to know more about employability and subject rankings.
In hindsight, I wish I asked more about the learning support services and the disability services. I also wish I had done an accommodation tour during the open day. I left this until the applicant day to think about, but it would be wise to have a look at your potential home away from home. I wish I had asked about laundry facilities and rent instead of leaving it until the last minute. If this applies to you, do not overlook student finance, it is something which needs to be in the back of your head during the whole process.
I still remember my Open Day at Stirling, I met so many like-minded nervous applicants. I had prepared a list of all the lectures and venues I wanted to visit, this was my skeleton for the day. In the small breaks in between, I visited the subject show-cases in seminar rooms. Asking students about the course and assessments is really the best way to get answers about the student experience in my opinion. Academics and tutors were really helpful to talk to about the content of modules. I remember asking so many questions to the sociology academics and students, it felt like mastermind!
Open Days are probably the best way to get a ‘vibe’ of a university, and the surrounding city/town in general. After all, you won’t just be studying there, you also need to take into account the clubs and societies (a fantastic way to make friends with common interests) as well as supermarkets. During open days, all the academics and students in your areas of interest are in one place, ready and raring to answer any questions you may have, use this opportunity!
My top tips:
- Have a print out of the programme, and highlight the talks/rooms you want to visit- this would save you a lot of stress and running from one room to another frantically.
- Allocate time for a lunch break- This is a good time to get a feel for the university outside of lectures and seminars.
- Walk around the loch- even in the rain, Airthrey Loch is the focal point of campus, and is stunning to walk around.
- THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS!
Want to see the University of Stirling for yourself? Register for our next Open Day of the year on 9 June. Even if you can’t attend Open Day, we’ve got loads of other visiting opportunities you can sign up for. Coming to our Open Day? Make sure you share your photos by using #StirOpenDay!