“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
~ Dr Seuss
Attending open days can be super informative and helpful. But you need to go prepared to make the best of it. Here are some tips on making the best most of open days at all institutions.
An open day happens one day a year when universities open their doors to the general population and allow high schoolers to view the different faculties showcased, courses and to ask as many questions as their heart desires. So it allows you to get a feel for the campus and get an idea of what courses they offer.
If you don’t know what to study, you are only 3 steps away from getting an idea. Discover your career in 3 steps. From there, you can see which institution offers your course of study.
Identify which institutions you would like to attend, and do your homework beforehand.
Tips to Make the Most of Open Days
1. Speak to People
The best part about an open day is being able to speak to as many people as you possibly can. The people at the stands, students currently studying, lecturers and faculty heads. You have the opportunity to gain such incredible insight from people who have experience. You’re there to see what the institution has to offer, not only as an academic institution but to grow you in all spheres of your life.
Some questions you could consider?
- What is the anticipated work load per day/week?
- What is the ratio of practical work vs theory?
- How busy would you be with classes during the day? (Maybe you could squeeze in a student job)
- What APS is required?
- Is the minimum APS a guaranteed acceptance?
- If you don’t get those points, is there another way for you to gain entrance? Like a bridging course or alternative basic degree?
- How is the selection based? APS only or do you have submit a portfolio or be interviewed?
- Are career days held?
- Will all my courses be on one campus or one area of the campus? Will I be going between campuses and faculties?
2. Take a Friend
Taking a friend or even a parent with you could make it that much more interesting. You would each have different interests and would want to visit different stands. So you’d each be introduced to faculties or courses that you may have never considered before that could just be interesting to you.
Parents and friends would think of questions you may never think of, could help you think broader and not be too close-minded. Generally speaking, unless you get a bursary, your parents need to pay for your course or sign surety on a student loan. So they need to be happy too.
Garner up as many brochures and information pamphlets that you can. There’s no way you’ll remember everything. Sit down with your friend afterwards in the university cafeteria or somewhere on the campus, to get a feel for the place, and to go through everything you found out during the day.
3. Explore and Take it all in
Going to university isn’t just about the institution’s reputation and the quality of the course. University is a full-on experience. You’ll probably be living on campus, which means you can get involved in everything from academic societies to sports and social events.
Look around for the society stands and take brochures. Also, take note of the different residences and environment you could be living in. Can you see yourself living there? Would you be able to cope away from your family if the university is far from home? Here are some tips if you’re considering moving away from home. Consider absolutely everything when attending the open day.
Here are some questions to be aware of and to take note of:
- What cultural and sporting activities do they offer?
- What career guidance is available? Having some guidance can make the transition from university to the working world that much easier.
- Go check out the library and see what facilities they offer (like computers, printers, group work areas, etc.).
- What is on offer for the general student life? Cafés, bookshops, entertainment nearby, on-campus entertainment? This is the time to have some fun too.
- What are the lecture halls like? Where would your proposed faculty be? Go wander around the campus and get a feel for it. Or take a tour.
- Get a feel for the general vibe of the campus by walking around. Also, ask about the orientation week and how it would benefit your all-round experience.
Last but not least, ask yourself if this is an environment that you can see yourself in for a period of time. Can you cope away from home? Or is it too close to home? This is your life, and your parents will support you as best they can if they can see you have done your research, kept an open mind and explored many different options. If they aren’t too supportive of your first choice, you may need to ask your parents to keep an open mind and allow you to explore alternative options.
- Take note of the petrol you use getting to campus and back on the open day. If your plan is to drive in every day it’s important to factor in the petrol costs.
- Have a look around at the different residences and diggs available to you.
- If you want to stay there, take note of how far the shops are from where you’d stay and if you’d need a car.
- Tour the town and imagine yourself living there and settling into the hustle and bustle.
- Find out about the security on campus and what services they offer.
Related article: Why Education is so Unbelievably Important
This article puts all of the drama around tertiary education into perspective, for learners and caregivers. Although your education is important, like self-confidence, and personal character and integrity, it’s just another tool in your ammunition for adult life.