Remember the three P’s of every UCAS fair, ‘Preparation, Prospectus, Pens!’. Do a bit of research on the UCAS website about the courses you might be interested in. Look through the UCAS brochure and circle the stand numbers you will target for the day.
What to wear? The fair will be packed full of people so travel light and wear layers so you don’t overheat. A technical rucksack is good for stashing your coat and free stuff and will go down well with those working in courses in the great outdoors, but less so with fashion lecturers! You don’t need to dress to impress, you just need to be comfortable.
Don’t be too distracted by all the marketing razzmatazz, shiny disco balls and bowls of sweets until you’ve visited every stand on your list.
Next, work as a duo to perform the ‘distract and sweep’ dash past the remaining stands, scooping as many sweets and pens into your university bags as possible. You don’t have to be sneaky about it, just ask the friendly staff for free stuff and they’ll be happy to oblige.
Sweets, balloons, pens, pencils will be at most stands along with piles of prospectuses. Don’t fill your bag in the first five minutes and have to spend the next few hours lugging them around. Take a big bag, check out the goodies and only take prospectuses of the unis that have a course for you, and that you can manage to carry. There’s nothing sadder for Mother Nature than piles of paper dumped at the end of the day by over-eager-prospectus-beavers.
Form a dream team of people who are interested in similar subjects and tackle it together. If you see an acting course with a difference that’s perfect for a mate, or a football degree for your Man United obsessed sister, be a ‘lad’ and grab them a prospectus (if you’ve got room in your 25 bags.)
“Do you have a business course?” is a good start, many unis list all the courses on offer but ask if you're not sure. Ask questions the prospectus or website won’t tell you, like: “What’s the night life like?”, “Will I get a room in the halls?”, “What sort of jobs could I do?”. Stay open- minded to learning something new about a place or course you may not have considered. Quiz people face-to-face about what you get for your tuition fees. (Save questions like “Do guinea pigs have whiskers?” for Google or for tweeting the uni later, just for bants, @marjonuni).
"Do most first years live in halls?", "What’s the best and worst thing about living on campus?", "Are there many jobs for students in your city?" are good options to get the inside track. You’ll get to speak to real life human beings, so make the most of them. Ask about travel times from where you are.