Making the most of Open Days
Are you planning to attend some open days but not sure how to go about it?
Here are my top ten tips for getting the most out of your open day-experience…
1. Be informed!
Do some surfing to find out when open days will take place in your area. Most tertiary institutions advertise their open days on their websites, but sites such as www.educonnect.co.za can also prove to be useful. Visit more than one campus so that you can compare the experiences!
2. Book your spot.
Not all open days are open to everyone (yes, really :). Certain universities and other institutions might require upfront bookings (most of it can be done online or via email). Make sure that your space is booked to avoid disappointment.
3. Take someone with you.
A second pair of eyes are always valuable. You might also feel more comfortable if you have someone familiar to talk to, and someone who can help you carry all the brochures, water bottles and pens you are going to collect 🙂
4. Wear something comfortable.
Select clothes which are comfortable, but presentable. (You never know who you might run into at an open day.) Chances are good that you will be required to do a bit of walking, not only on campus, but to and from your car/bus stop. Which means that heels might not be the best option…
5. Getting around.
If a schedule or programme is available, find one as soon as possible and identify places or sessions you would be interested to attend. While making your way around campus, really pay attention to the layout, distances between different buildings and the available facilities. Take a lot of pictures! This will help you to compare the different campuses you will be visiting over this time.
6. Courses, courses everywhere!
Browse through the yearbooks beforehand so that you at least have an idea of the courses you might be interested in. Career guidance or advice from a professional might also point you in the right direction. During open day you need to visit the faculty stands on your list. Ask questions, not just about the courses, but the subjects for each course.
7. Get a feel for the vibe and culture.
Every campus has a unique atmosphere. You have to choose the one which makes you feel the most at home. Trust your instincts and talk to some of the existing students to get an idea of the campus vibe. Also watch out for notice boards around campus, it may give you a good idea of the type things that go on there…
8. Clubs and Societies.
This is especially important if you are not going to be living on or close to campus. Getting involved on a social level contributes to your campus experience and widens your social circle. While academics should be your top priority, this is the time to meet new people and to broaden your horizons.
If you are moving away from home, it is very important to check out the accommodation options. Find out whether you will be sharing a room and if catering/laundry options are available (and the costs thereof). It is also worth your while to explore the area around your lodgings. Pay attention to where the closest supermarket/pharmacy is, and if there are noisy bars close to your residence 🙂 Safety precautions should also be in place, especially if you are planning to leave and arrive late at night and on your own.
And last but not least…
10. Don’t try to remember everything you see and hear on open day!
You are guaranteed to feel anxious, over-exited, lost, overwhelmed (or all of the above) on open day. Remind yourself that most people around you are feeling the same way. Pay attention, but don’t get stuck on remembering the everything – that’s what the internet and career center (which exist on most campuses) are for. Rather focus on enjoying your day!
ATTEND OPEN DAYS WITH AN OPEN MIND!!!