On the 28th of October I made my way to Manchester Central in the city centre (which, by the way, is a really amazing building, looks like something straight out of Battlestar Galactica…) to attend the good old Postgraduate Study Fair, ah yes I can sense the excitement drain out of you as you read, but wait! It was actually incredibly useful and interesting so bear with me.
The fair basically consists of stalls manned by representatives from every major university who hand out prospectuses and chat to people. There are also some stalls from universities in Australia and America as well as other universities in Europe. All in all a mind-boggling amount of choice, so I would advise arriving with some kind of idea about where you would like to study, even if it’s just an idea about the region. I’m interesting in doing an MA at a university in London so I focused my time getting prospectuses from the relevant universities, and saved myself from the permanent shoulder damage that I will surely contract if I’m forced to carry any more of those things. Alongside this there are also talks you can attend that provide general information about what studying for a masters or PhD actually entails. Maybe most importantly there are stalls and talks about funding, something which I’m sure is a concern for anyone thinking about postgraduate study.
Overall I felt the fair was geared more towards final years. To make the most of the day I think you would need to have a clear idea about what you want to study and where. I found I didn’t speak to any of the representatives from the universities I was interested in because I simply didn’t have anything to ask them, but I will definitely go again next year armed with a list of questions ready to ask. Also I think if your intention is to speak to university representatives then you should aim to get there as early as possible – I arrived at 1 pm and there were already tentative queues forming around the more popular exhibitors, particularly the ‘News Associates Journalism Training’ stall.
Having said this it’s definitely worth paying a visit whatever your thoughts about postgraduate study are, having all those resources just a Magic bus ride away is surely too good an opportunity to miss. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait a whole year before the next one, so in the meantime I’ve found the best way to get information about postgraduate study is to simply go to your university of choice’s website, and obviously drop by the Careers Service!