At University with a Disability

Prep for a Series of Undergraduate Open Days 2014

University ran in my family but it was a big decision to study for an undergraduate degree.

The next step in preparing for University is to look at their open days. My college suggested that I look into University and attend open days quite early on to know my options. Just for curiosity, I looked at dates for open days at the potential Universities I wouldn’t mind looking at for courses and cities.I didn’t want to rush such an important decision but was surprised to see how spaced out the dates were for the open days and made a note of the initial ones. 

I started off by researching the courses that piqued my interest previously, looking at them with a new eye in further detail to see what type of courses and modules I’d actually like to study. I also looked at how I would like to be assessed through practical models and theoretical modules. Alongside this research, I decided to branch out a little bit further to see what other courses I would like to study by searching UCAS for similar courses or maybe even new ones that looked interesting. Then next to this, I thought about which city I would most like to study in and explore outside of University. Then further to this, I looked at how the university is ranked by other students in terms of courses, student experiences and student satisfaction. Different Universities caught my eye and a few were ruled out based on my own checklist of things I was looking for, being very careful in the research I did. I can only describe it as window shopping, I glanced at the course outlines on the University websites but could only see so much. 

After shortlisting open days, I made a tailored checklist alongside questions to consider as I looked at the course details and took them to the Universities with me on the open days themselves. The lists and notes would also help me compare and contrast the courses when it came. Based on my research and details that I had found on the courses and Universities, I checked with my parents and pencilled in open days, spacing them out properly. 

I decided to go to five different University open days to see if I liked the course, the people and the campuses:

One of the first things I had to do was book a slot on each of the Open Days. It felt bizarre to do but I was excited to see what I would experience and find out. I received confirmation of my booking and reviewed the information that I would need to know about the open day for the university and its facilities. All this information was useful to have for the open day, but I needed more reassurance. 

The information was more generic than specific, but I needed reassurance to know that they were going to be more equipped for me and my disability on the day itself, making other personal arrangements such as travel, accommodation visits and speaking with certain members of the faculty and Disability inclusion teams at the Universities.

Unfortunately, the information that I also received was very early from the open days, so it was hard to plan things all up front. I had to improvise with the information I had and add new information to my plan as it came in. Initially, I did a brief mental walkthrough of the open day and everything that may happen during the day. From transportation to and from the open day, and possible accommodation to stay at if the University was too far. Then from here, locate each campus and figure out the best way to get to it either via car or train and to key buildings before check-in. 

From here, I knew I was likely to get information booklets, a map and an itinerary of all of the talks and events going on that day. I planned to explore as much as I could but also be sensible and realistic about the possibilities of what I had time for. As previously mentioned, I expected the information on the open days would be more generic and less specific to disabilities. I will say that as part of the booking on the individual open days, it did ask whether I had a disability and if so what type of disability. Therefore, it did send me a little extra information specific to disabilities but there wasn’t much there in the grand scheme of things. For my own reassurance, I made sure to get the contact details including email addresses prior to the open days and contacted the necessary departments, getting names of those in the teams to get more information or possibly set up appointments to have on the open day.  These were what I thought were important steps I needed to take so time was more utilised on the day itself. 

A busy, chaotic plan for these potential open days, and I only hoped that I could pull it off.


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