Getting the Most from a College Open Day

November and December are busy months for college Open Days. Prospective students are lured out of school to the dazzling expansive university campuses for a glimpse into their future classrooms and the promise of accelerating careers. . . or not?

Here’s the low down on college open days and a few tips to keep it real!

Firstly why should you even go to an Open Day? It is strongly advised that you make the effort to see the colleges that you are applying to. The prospectuses and websites are limited in how much they can reveal about a college. There is nothing like seeing and experiencing a college in all its glory by walking through it and experiencing it first-hand.

Most colleges host Open Days on Saturdays so there is no need to be bunking off classes to do some research on your future plans. Don’t neglect your studies to sip a latte and indulge in the freedom a college lifestyle has to offer. If the college hosts their Open Days on Friday and Saturday, go on Saturday!

Before going to the Open Day it is essential to put in the ground work first. Begin by researching the courses. You may have a preferred course in the college but I would advise you to be open minded. Look at the other courses on offer and if something interests you then follow it up – even if it isn’t your favoured course. When you hear lecturers discuss subjects they are passionate about it might spark enthusiasm in you and ignite a curiosity you thought you only had a fleeting interest in. Be open minded!

Download a map of the campus. College campuses are vast and can be overwhelming for many students. It is a good idea to get an idea of the layout of the campus before arriving. Find out where key buildings are such as the library, gym, canteen and where the different educational buildings are located such as Arts block, Engineering block etc. When you get to the college explore the campus and find your way around it.

It is a good idea to travel to the campus in the same way as you expect to be travelling as a student. Therefore if you think you will get the bus or train then travel that way to the Open Day. It will give you a sense of how long the daily commute will take.

Colleges usually host lectures and presentation for prospective students on Open Days. It is essential that you research when and where these talks are taking place in advance of the Open Day so you know exactly what talks you want to attend. Be independent of your friends. If you would like to attend a talk that your friends have no interest in then go alone. You can arrange to meet your friends after the talk. Be Brave. This is your first step into the world beyond secondary school.

There are opportunities to ask questions and talk to lecturers and current students. You should prepare a list of questions in advance of the Open Day and have them with you to glance over when talking to lecturers. It is important that you make the most of this opportunity and get the information you are seeking.

Take time to relax in the college. Find a spot to sit down and soak up the atmosphere. Try to imagine yourself as a student in the college. Pay attention to gut instincts. You could potentially be a student here for 3 or 4 years. Make sure the college has an atmosphere and a feel to it that sits well with you.

Finally take a few pictures of the college to remind you of it in the coming months. The pictures will reinvigorate your interest in the college and may even act a visual goal to motivate you in your studies. Keep an eye on college websites to ensure you keep abreast of the dates of the college Open Days and enjoy the experience.



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