Open Days are heaps of fun and, apart from getting there, they’re free.
So while it’s not a bad way to spend a day out of your weekend, you might as well do yourself a favour and really milk the experience.
Here’s our top tips.
- Get organised
You might be fed up of hearing the words “get organised” but honestly, a little bit of preparation really can make a huge difference to how your open days pan out and what you get out of them.
There are bound to be conflicting dates for open days and we don’t recommend trying to get to more than one a day. Spending some time studying the Uni websites and reading about the courses you’re interested in could help you decide which open days are the must-dos.
Find any dedicated Open Day web pages or events pages, some have planners you can download and mobile apps are getting popular.
Print out the Open Day programs and highlight the info sessions and events you’d like to attend (unless you can download an app that will do it for you). You won’t be able to cram every single talk and info session into your itinerary, so prioritise sessions that align with your interests.
Sort parking or public transport options before the day.
Consider taking a friend or family member along for support, second opinions and seat saving and re-caffeinating duties.
Use the time between information sessions and tours to speak to lecturers and students, check out clubs, get a feel of accommodation options, cafes, shops, etc.
Be prepared for a big day! You may have to find your way around campuses or around the city to attend different sessions. So wear something comfortable (including footwear). Also have a map handy (even if it’s the walking directions bookmarked on your phone).
- Ask the right questions to the right people
There’ll be loads of people on hand to help at open days. Academic staff, administration staff, researchers and current students. They’re not there to make the place look pretty, they’ll want to answer your questions and help you choose the best options for you.
Try and find the lecturers and faculty staff you might thinking about working with and ask them about the courses you’re interested in, as well as any options you’ve not come across that might suit you.
Here’s some example questions that might help you out:
- What are the core units / modules?
- What are the majors I can choose from?
- How is the course taught and assessed?
- How satisfied are current students with the course?
- How many hours of teaching are involved each week?
- What are job outcomes like for graduates?
- What opportunities are there for work experience placements or internships?
- Is it manageable to have a weekend job and study full-time?
- Are there scholarships I can apply for?
- Are there any overseas studies opportunities?
- If I’m struggling are there any learning support services available?
Talking to current students is the best way to learn what university is really like. They’ll be able to tell you about their first-hand experiences and provide some insider tips (from where to get the best coffee, to the best accommodation and the cheapest food places).
Between students and the administrative staff, you can probably find answers to all your questions about Uni life. Here’s some example questions:
- Are there social facilities on campus and in town?
- What sort of student support services are available?
- Are there part-time job opportunities available for students?
- What sort of financial help is available if I run out of money?
- How does FEE-Help work?
- What types of accommodation are available?
- What’s the most popular accommodation option?
- What are some of the events throughout the year I could look forward to?
Don’t be shy, there’s no such thing as a silly question. Having a list of pre-prepared questions is a great way to guarantee you remember all the questions you’ve got.
Open days allow you to see where you’ll be studying and really familiarise yourself with the campus and facilities, as well as the surrounding areas and the city it’s located in.
Lecture theatres, labs, libraries and other learning spaces will all be open.
You might even get to participate in some activities or workshops that’ll enable you to have a hands-on learning experience using the technology and facilities available.
Sign up for a campus tour if it’s on offer; a guided walk will allow you take it all in without getting hopelessly lost.
Between all the scheduled bits and bobs you might attend, you can also get a peek to see if the Uni has cafes, bars, restaurants, gyms, sporting facilities, internet access, computer labs and any other areas that you might be able to use.
- Enjoy yourself
Most importantly, open days are a great day out.
There’s bound to be entertainment, goody bags, free activities, food trucks (sometimes food is free), and competitions with some great prizes.
Get amongst it all, find out if the vibe gels with you, and experience all that the Uni has to offer.
Open days are hands down the best way to find out if a Uni is going to be a good match for you.
If you’re pretty certain you already know the Uni and course you would like to go to, we’d recommend attending a couple of other open days too.
You’ll have something to compare your preferred choice to.
Either it’ll confirm your choice, or it could open your eyes possibilities you hadn’t considered.
You could create a checklist of the most important aspects of Uni to you. It’s a simple way to compare the differences between Uni’s.
After all, you’ll be spending a few years and significant amount of money on your Uni education, so it’s important to get it right.
For more information about Open Days and list of Open Days happening in 2019, you can download the Study Work Grow Open Day Guide 2019.