Short of going on a whistle-stop tour, your best option for getting a feel for your new uni life is online

You’ve found some courses you like the sound of in clearing and need to create a shortlist, but you need to act quickly and trekking around the country to check out the universities in person is obviously out. This is where virtual open days and online videos of student life, facilities and accommodation come into their own – because websites and prospectuses give you loads of information, but they don’t really give you the atmosphere of a place.

Some virtual open days, such as the one on Southampton University’s website, rely on the street view function of Google Maps to give you an idea of the distance between places, such as your departmental building and your accommodation, or the lecture theatre and the sports centre. Other universities have interactive features that tailor the virtual open day to your particular interests.

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