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Friday, September 4, 2015

A students’ guide to making the most of freshers’ fairs

Hi I’m Lizzie, an intern at GTI Media (the parent company of TARGETjobs). This month marks the beginning of an exciting time for thousands of students across the UK; the start of university. If you are starting university this month, no doubt you will soon be attending a freshers’ fair. I’m about to go into my third year of university, so as someone who’s been to freshers’ fairs two years running I’m happy to share what I’ve learned and how to make the most of them!


Freshers’ fairs are a great part of introducing you to uni, and can help set you up for the whole year. The exact kinds of fairs will differ between universities, but there are usually at least two – one for companies to come in and talk to students, and one for societies and sports teams to enrol you into their groups if this is something that interests you. There are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most out of these fairs.

Get all the freebies.

Local companies visit to show you what shops and businesses are in town and promote themselves to their new potential customers. Don’t ignore them; they are great for handing out discount cards and freebies – both of which prove very useful as the year goes on! Plus there’s almost always free pizza on the way out, so lunch is sorted.

Don’t stick with your friends.

Turning up to the fairs with your friends might make you feel more comfortable, but you need to branch out on your own. Your friends won’t share all of the same interests as you, and you may feel embarrassed or awkward asking them to wait for you whilst you go to talk to people at various stands. Going at it alone means you can spend as long as you like walking round, you won’t feel embarrassed signing up to stuff they’re not keen on, and there’s no pressure to sign up to what your friends want to do.

Don’t be embarrassed.

At school it always felt crucial to fit in and try and seem ‘cool’, and not have any interests outside of the ordinary. University is so different. There’s no such thing as ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’ – you can literally walk around campus in a teletubbies onesie and people won’t even bat an eye. Don’t be afraid to sign up to a society you think people might judge you for, because genuinely no one will. Do you like circus skills? Disney? Anime? Hip hop dancing? Rock climbing? Acting? Writing? Computer games? Great, there’ll be societies for those – and about a hundred more options if you look for them.

Sign up to everything you think you’ll like.

Realistically you won’t have time to commit to more than a few societies, volunteering groups or one sports team if they meet every week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try a number of things out. Most societies have one or two introductory meetings which are free to attend, so you can see if it’s your cup of tea before you pay your joining fee. Don’t worry about attending the free meeting and then deciding against joining; the whole point of having it is to give you this choice!

There’ll be so many different societies to pick from, I definitely encourage freshers to sign up to at least one – it’ll open the door to making so many new friends and giving you some great new experiences, as well as gaining transferable skills to put on your CV. Societies are one of the most fun parts of being at uni, don’t miss out!

TARGETjobs will be attending a number of freshers’ fairs this autumn, so if you see any of the team make sure you say hi. You can get set up on the mailing list so you’re always in the know about job, placement, and internship opportunities as and when you need it.

This autumn, TARGETjobs will be attending the following fairs:
  • University of St Andrews Freshers' Fair: 13/09/2015
  • University of Edinburgh Freshers' Fair: 14/09/2015
  • University of Glasgow Freshers' Fair: 15/09/2015 - 16/09/2015
  • University of Strathclyde Freshers' Fair: 16/09/2015
  • King's College London Welcome Fair: 18/09/2015 - 19/09/2015
  • University of Exeter Freshers' Fair: 19/09/2015
  • University of Birmingham Freshers' Fair: 21/09/2015 - 22/09/2015
  • Cardiff University Freshers' Fair: 21/09/2015 - 22/09/2015
  • University of Nottingham Freshers' Fair: 21/09/2015 - 22/09/2015
  • University of Manchester Welcome Fair: 22/09/2015 - 23/09/2015
  • University of Reading Freshers' Fair: 23/09/2015 - 24/09/2015
  • London School of Economics Freshers' Fair: 24/09/2015 - 25/09/2015
  • University of Liverpool Freshers' Fair: 24/09/2015 - 25/09/2015
  • University of Bath Freshers' Fair: 25/09/2015
  • University of Bristol Freshers' Fair: 25/09/2015
  • University of Southampton Freshers' Fair: 25/09/2015
  • Aston University Freshers' Fair: 27/09/2015
  • University of Leicester Freshers' Fair: 28/09/2015 - 29/09/2015
  • University of Sheffield Freshers' Fair: 30/09/2015
  • University of Surrey Freshers' Fair: 02/10/2015
  • Lancaster University Freshers' Fair: 02/10/2015
  • UCL Welcome Fair: 03/10/2015 - 04/10/2015
  • University of York Freshers' Fair: 03/10/2015
  • University of Warwick Freshers' Fair: 03/10/2015 - 04/10/2015
  • Loughborough University Union Bazaar: 04/10/2015
  • Newcastle University Freshers' Fair: 05/10/2015 - 06/10/2015
  • Imperial College Union Freshers' Fair: 06/10/2015
  • University of Cambridge Societies Fair: 06/10/2015 - 07/10/2015
  • Durham University Students' Union Fair: 07/10/2015 - 08/10/2015
  • University of Oxford Freshers' Fair: 07/10/2015 - 09/10/2015

Article written by Lizzie Akass, TARGETjobs Editorial Intern. Connect with Lizzie on LinkedIn