For aspiring higher education students the August/September period can only mean one thing: OPEN DAYS! Whether you’re in Year 10, Year 12 or even a mature age student looking to expand your qualifications, open days are a fun way to gain a taste of university life, find out the information you need and narrow down your options.
1. Make a plan
- With so many open days happening at once you will need to plan well in advance, especially if you’re considering attending multiple open days or need to book travel and accommodation. Note that a few institutions hold their open days earlier than usual.
- Narrow down your options to make a shortlist of the institutions you are most interested in so you don’t tire yourself out attending every single open day. Once you have your shortlist you can check out the relevant open day dates here.
- Note that some institutions’ open day dates will conflict, which may mean that you need to conduct more research to decide which open day you would prefer to attend. Also note that institutions with multiple campuses generally hold campus open days on different dates, so if your preferred course is available at more than one campus it is a good idea to check out each one to find out which environment you prefer.
2. Come prepared
- You will need to make a schedule for each open day so you know what time you need to be there, what you want to see and where you need to go. Print the institutions’ open day program from their website and add to your schedule any information sessions you would like to attend (such as course and entry pathway seminars), noting time and location. Also schedule time to check out facilities you are interested in (such as student accommodation).
- Find out parking and public transport information in advance.
- Bring a family member or friend to keep you company and give you a second opinion.
3. Talk to the right people
- Don’t be afraid to speak up at information sessions; this is a life-changing decision so make sure you don’t leave with questions unanswered. Write down important information and grab pamphlets so you have the information handy when you’re finalising your preferences.
- It might pay to write down a list of questions in advance for each information session and make a list of things you want to find out about, such as student exchange or clubs.
- Student guides will be milling about, so ask them questions too. Not only will they clue you in on all the best spots on campus, they will be able to honestly answer all your questions about what life at the institution is like from a student’s perspective.
4. Explore the campus
- Check out the facilities that the campus offers and explore the buildings you will most likely be studying in. This is especially important for students studying courses that require them to use special lab or computer facilities as an integral part of their studies, such as design, IT, health sciences or science.
- Check out the accommodation options available. This is a good chance to see what they actually look like and how close they are to the institution and the city.
- Look beyond all the hype and balloons. Ask yourself: can I really see myself here? You want the university to have an atmosphere that will make you want to spend time there, rather than just attend your classes and head straight home. Whether you’re after masses of landscaped lawns or on-campus galleries, gyms and cafés, it is important to choose a campus that suits you and will provide the experience you want.
- Check out your transport options and do a trial run. If the campus is within driving distance, is there plenty of parking? Is it free or does it require a permit? If public transport is the way to go, figure out which forms are available, how frequent it is and which route to take.
5. Enjoy yourself
- Make a day of it with your friends and family. Once you’ve found out what you need to know, enjoy the day!