Most education institutions, from preschool through to higher education institutions, have open days. While an open day theoretically is focused on assisting prospective students, is it practically going to be worthwhile? Are you trying to decide if the benefits of an open day are worth it? Yes, they are. Even if you know where and what you want to study, it can still be beneficial to attend an open day.
What is the point of an Open Day?
The purpose of an open day is to get more information on a specific institution, explore its campus and meet staff members. As well as meet current students and other prospective students you may end up in class with. It’s essentially an investigative information gathering exercise. Designed to help you make decisions or confirm the ones you’ve made.
What can I do at an Open Day?
An open day programme varies from institution to institution. Most campuses have on-campus open days and some schools now offer virtual open days.
7 Potential Open Day Activities
- Tours around campus (which may include potential residences).
- Q & A gatherings.
- Information relating to specific courses and their prospective career opportunities.
- Access to student, career and course advisors.
- Opportunities to meet and talk to lecturers and course convenors.
- Time to chat to current students.
- Financial Advisors to discuss potential funding options.
A timetable of events and where they expected to take place is often ahead of time and always on the day. Use it to plan out your day before you get there so you can maximise the benefit of attending it.
Who should go to an Open Day?
The most important attendee of an open day is the prospective student. It’s always nice to have company when you explore a new horizon. It could be a parent, relative or friend that you get along well with and whose opinion you value. They can also point out things you missed along the way, ask questions you might not have thought of and afterwards be your sounding board.
A University may have different open days for undergraduate candidates and postgraduate applicants. Sometimes a faculty will hold their own smaller open day or course specific session. Therefore, check ahead who an open day is focused on and what options you have available to you.
How Do You Prepare for an Open Day?
To get the most out of an open day, you need to do some preparation. Look at what course you want to take, as well as the various subject options within it. Make a list of your questions. If you’re wondering or unclear about something – ask. Don’t be shy and think you can figure it out later. This is an opportunity created for questions and answers. For example, if you’re not sure of a course’s prerequisites then ask and get as much detail as you can. Remember, if you don’t have a specific subject requirement, many institutions have bridging programmes or ways of catching up on a subject. It’s worth knowing all your options just in case you need them when it comes to applying.
Usually there is an event timetable with information on the open day that’s released ahead of time. Therefore, check to see if you need to pre-book any tours or information seminars.
Decide if you want company when you go. Choose someone that’s supportive of your wanting to study further and understands why further educating yourself is a great idea. Ideally, they should be someone whose opinion you value.
You want to look great. Just remember most campuses will require you to walk quite a bit. So, take this into account when you pick out your clothes. Make sure that you can stand, sit and walk on different surfaces for extended periods of time. It’s advisable to take along some water and potentially a small snack if you’re not sure what’ll be available. Having a small bag to carry any hardcopy information handouts and prospectuses could also make things easier for you.
What to do Afterwards?
Go over all the information you received during the course of the open day. If you need to, then reconsider your options in light of what you have discovered. On the day you should take note of relevant people that can assist you with follow up questions. If you have any questions or need further information, make appointments to see them.
Remember that while open days aren’t the real thing, they do give you a better idea of what to expect. So important questions to ask afterwards are: Can I see myself studying here and will it be the best place for me to study what I want to?
What if I missed the Open Day?
It’s ideal to attend an open day. The gains outweigh the time you’ll give up to do it. However, if for some reason you can’t go, then you do still have other options.
SACAP offers you a number of ways to interact and get course information. You can contact them directly through the website and someone will get back to you with the information you need. The FAQ section of the SACAP website will give you quick answers to questions many prospective students ask. Alternatively, if you want to talk to a course advisor, then make a one-on-one appointment. It’s also a great way to ask the follow up questions you may have after you’ve attended an open day. If you would like to know from students what their SACAP study experience has been and what they’re now doing, then check out the SACAP Alumni Blogs. Once you know what you want to study, enrol online.
View and RSVP to SACAP’s upcoming Open Days and events here.