Open Days are an opportunity to answer any questions & find out everything else you need to know about university before you enrol.
If you can’t go along in person to an on-campus Open Day, or the institution you’d like to check out isn’t offering one, online Open Days can be really valuable as well.
Here’s 5 top tips for Virtual Open Days that could help to make the most of these events.
Deep dive with Virtual Open Days
You might be feeling a little disappointed that you can’t get to the campuses in person, but there are benefits to online Open Days too.
You can explore more options than you might have otherwise since you won’t have to travel and you could even attend different events on the same day (as long you register for them), or event at the same time – although we don’t really recommend that option.
If you miss out on the actual day, realise afterwards that you didn’t get all the information you needed first time around, or you’d like to revisit part of the experience later on to help you make up your mind… well you can. Online Open Days often have lots of recorded information sessions and tours so you can watch the videos even after the event is over.
You won’t have to worry about early starts, traffic jams, navigating through cities, finding parking spots or what to wear.
What to expect from online Open Days
Online events are becoming better and better all the time, and thanks to CoVID Open Days probably offer a new and innovative way for universities and other organisations to showcase all the great things they can offer.
Information could include:
- A tour of the campus and facilities (maybe even the city or surrounding areas)
- Familiarise yourself with departments that you’re interested in studying with
- Take a look at the accommodation options on offer
- Find out about each university’s strengths and unique points
- Meet and chat to staff (teaching and admin), as well as current students
- Talk to experts about the courses you’re interested in, learn more about them and find out where to download information to read through
- Explore your study options and career outcomes
- Find alternative courses that might suit you better
- Learn about the application process
- Look at alternative entry pathways
- Get answers to all the questions you might have
- Understand the finance options available including scholarships, welfare, and more.
5 Tips for Online Open Days:
If you’re not sure where to start, then here’s our top tips to help get you started and ensure you get the most out of all that online open days have to offer.
Organise your schedule of events
Research which uni’s are having online open days and which ones you’d most like to attend. Make a note of the dates and register (you might not be able to get access on the day if you don’t).
Read through any introductory emails . These will ensure that you know which platforms are going to be used and how to access them. Plus, they could help you plan your days and be more prepared when the open day rolls around.
Note down the courses and departments you’re most interested in for each university, it could help you stay focused when the event starts and ensure you don’t miss the most useful bits.
Put time aside in your calendar for these events, so you double book yourself or skip them in favour of another offer.
Make sure you have the equipment you’ll need, including reliable internet connection, all set up before the Open Days start.
Prep the important questions
Write down any general questions you might have, these could be relevant to every university and you can ask the same questions at each open day. Then you’ll easily be able to compare the answers later.
If you have any questions about specific courses – make a note of those too.
You can ask questions about any aspect of university life, so it’s great to make the most of this opportunity (if you forget to ask something or you think of something later don’t stress – you can contact the uni afterwards).
Having a mental block about what you should be asking? Here are a couple of example questions that might inspire you:
- How many places are available on the course?
- How many hours a week are there of lectures etc., and what’s the recommended amount of self-directed study?
- What study modes are available for this course (on-campus, online, or mixed)?
- Will this course provide any hands-on industry experience e.g. work experience or internships?
- What exactly does the course cover and what are my career outcomes if I complete this degree?
- Can you recommend another course that might be a better fit for me and my goals?
- What assessment methods are used?
- I’m looking at similar courses elsewhere, so why should I choose your course over another university?
- Is there any academic support available?
- Are there part-time job opportunities available at the uni, or would it be possible to complete this degree whilst working part-time?
- What societies are available at university and which are the most popular ones?
- Is a place in halls guaranteed?
- What’s the best way to get around the campus and city?
- What student support services are available?
- Which is the most popular accommodation option and why?
- What’s the social life like?
Don’t be embarrassed to ask any questions you’ve got, that’s what this experience is all about.
Watch the welcome talk first
You might be tempted to skip the intro or welcoming talk and head straight off for the campus tour or find out more about the department you’re interested in.
But we’d recommend taking the time to watch this bit first. They’re designed to answer some of the questions you might have about the uni, let you know about their special features and qualities, plus they could give you some tips about the best way to get the most out of their Open Day, where to find more information and much more.
Take advantage of all that’s on offer
Deciding on a the right uni and course for you is an important step, so Open Days are worthy of your time and your attention.
Highlight talks or tours that could be the most interesting and informative for you so that you don’t miss out on them.
Do take the virtual campus and accommodation tours. No it’s not exactly the same as being there but with amazing technology like 3D and 360° footage you could get a really great sense of what the university is like. The bonus is that you may get to see some areas that you might not have had access to in person and you won’t get lost in the process.
Universities are selling themselves on open days so there’s bound to be some great videos, presented in a fun and easy to understand way, there may even be interactive segments too. Watch and participate as much as possible and you’ll probably get much more value from your experience.
You could even ask your parent / carer, sibling or friend to watch with you, then you’ll be able to discuss it with them afterwards.
Talk time is important too
Take part in any webinars, Q&A sessions, or sign up for other options like one-on-one zoom chats. Or, use the live chat features to engage with staff and current students. You’ll sign off satisfied you’ve got every ounce of information possible and that ticked off all your questions.
If you don’t get first-hand information you’ll at least be told where to find relevant information on their website (it’s not always straightforward finding exactly what you’re looking for).
You could take note of any phone numbers or email addresses that might be handy if you have more questions later on.
Once you’ve attended an Open Day – decide how you feel about what you’ve seen.
Love it? Great, add it to your list of preferences and start thinking about getting your application ready.
Hate it? That’s OK too, cross that course or uni off your list.
Still not sure? Put it on your maybe list. If you don’t fill up all your preferences, then you can come back to these options and reassess them later on.
Need more info?
At Study Work Grow we aim to make your life easier, so we’ve done all the research for you.
Check out out Open Days page, you’ll find online events listed and updated in our events calendar too, or you can download our Open Day Planner with all the universities, events, dates, times and links listed – it’ll be coming out soon.
Have a read of JCU’s FAQ’s about Online Open Days to get an idea of what you can expect from attending virtual events like these.