First off, if you are someone thinking of going to Staffs and have somehow stumbled upon this blog, please go check out the open days page on the site to book your spot. The next dates coming up are the 25th March and 10th June, just FYI.
I can not express how important it is to go to an open day. Seriously. Obviously it is important to make sure you are going to the university that can offer you the best course for you, and factors like how far away from home come into play too. That being said, reading about the university and actually being there are two completely different things.
4 years ago I was going through the process of applying and visiting universities, and while I vividly remember the amount of stress I was under at the time (I feel for you guys right now!), I also remember my experiences of actually visiting them. It was a lovely distraction from all of the A Level stuff going on, and I spent some quality time with my Mum and Dad away from home.
The reason why I make a point of going to open days is because you get an actual feel of the people and the place. I mean duh, right? But while as obvious as that sounds, experiencing it will give you that reason to either apply or drop that university from your options. Refraining from dropping any names, but while at an open day at one university, me and my Mum went to one of the talks ahead of time, and decided to go get some good seats and possibly talk to the staff. When we got there, as soon as we walked in, the lecturers were very dismissive, told us that we shouldn’t be in here yet, and that we needed to leave. That stuck with me, and while before then I was on the fence about the course fees and location of the university, afterwards I was ready to leave and not come back.
Going to Staffs on the other hand, I found that everyone there was very welcoming and open, and happy to answer any questions that I had. I mean, you think you would expect that, but apparently not… The student ambassadors taking us on the tours seemed to be genuinely passionate about the university, and the staff were informative, but not condescending. I also remember it just feeling right. Like that feeling where you just know that everything is going to be ok, and your mind is put at rest. The campus was nice, the nature reserve and nearby park was pretty, and I could really picture myself fitting in.
Getting that experience really helped me to decide where I wanted to go, and what to put as my first and second option on UCAS. I would highly recommend that you go to an open day, wherever it is you think you are going, to see what it is like and whether you feel it is a place you can see yourself being for the next 3-4 years. Have fun and good luck!