Planning your day | University of Oxford

Planning your day

Most visitors spend the whole day in Oxford, sampling events from across a timetable that runs from 09:00 through to 18:00 in some colleges. If you can, visit your subject department and at least one college on the open day. This will give you the best chance to find out what it’s like to live and study in Oxford.

Prepare in advance

Which course?

The most important decision you have to make about university is which subject or subjects you would like to study. If you haven’t decided yet, we strongly recommend that you read all you can about the courses you’re interested in before you come to Oxford. There are details of these in the course pages. At the open day, you can find out more from subject departments and any colleges that offer that course.

Which college?

If possible, draw up a shortlist of colleges to visit before coming to the open day. For help with this, please see our advice on choosing a college and which college offers my course. All undergraduate colleges will be open to drop-in visitors during our open days; many running programmes of events and student-led tours. There will also be lots of opportunities to talk to college tutors and staff, but do check if you need to book for specific events.

Which questions?

Read about the application process and have a look at the Alternative Prospectus produced by students in the Oxford University Student Union. This will help you to come up with a list of questions to ask staff and students at colleges and departments on the day.

We hope you will find all the information you need in the colleges and departments, but if you have any more questions, please come and visit us in the Open Day Information Centre in the High Street, open from 09:00 until 17:00.

How to get here and where to stay?

See our travel advice page to plan your journey. If you are travelling far, and it will be difficult for you to make a return journey in one day, there are opportunities to stay the night at one of the colleges in Oxford. This is often free of charge. Each Oxford college is linked to a region of the UK, and some colleges prioritise places for students from their link area – to find out which college is linked to your area please see our Link colleges page. Unfortunately colleges are usually unable to accommodate parents- for alternative accommodation options, it may be useful to visit the Conference Oxford or Experience Oxfordshire websites.

Plan your day

It is easy to feel that there is just too much to do and see at our open days. In our experience, people who plan their day in advance often feel they have made the most of their visit.


  • You do not need to register to attend our open days, although some events may require advance booking.
  • Unfortunately, in order to give priority to potential applicants, it may not be possible for parents and/or other companions to attend events in colleges and departments where places are strictly limited. However, they are very welcome to come visit the Open Day Information Centre at any time.
  • There are many other drop-in events and opportunities which everyone is welcome to attend, including all afternoon talks and events at the Open Day Information Centre.
Check whether or not you need to book!
Some departments and colleges hold specific events for which booking is required, so to avoid disappointment, do check the details for the departments and colleges you want to visit. There is no centralised booking for our open days so you will need to book directly with the college or department hosting the event you want to attend. Colleges may also offer lunch (and even accommodation if you have a long way to travel), which is a great way to experience a little of Oxford life for yourself. There is no need to book at the libraries, museums, sports centre or the Open Day Information Centre.

 What to bring

  • Details of any events you have booked to attend.
  • Your shortlist of colleges.
  • A copy of the Open Days Guide which includes a map – highlight the events you want to go to and the route between them.
  • A raincoat, sun cream or both!
  • A pen for taking notes.
  • A bag to carry all your papers.
  • Comfortable shoes.

Don’t bring

The car, if you can avoid it. Parking in Oxford isn’t always easy... especially on open days!

See our travel advice page.