How to make the most out of an open day at college or university
by StudyMalaysia on April 26, 2018 | Top Stories
Have you just obtained your SPM/STPM results? Are you looking for a college or university? If you’re planning on visiting an institution on its open day, find out how you can make the most out of this experience.
While some institutions are open to prospective students all year round, the bulk of activities targeted at school leavers are held on the institution’s open day. From application procedures and financing your studies to faculty tours and taster sessions, open days are a great way for you to learn all about the study opportunities available at a college or university.
Because open days are seasonal, you’ll find that many institutions hold their open days on the same weekends or at the same time. As such, you may or may not have time to visit as many institutions as you like, and you may not have the chance to attend more than one open day at the same institution. With that in mind, you’ll need to make sure you make the most out of an open day at a college or university.
Here’s a handy list of things you should do to get you off on a fantastic start!
Make a date
Many colleges or university post up their open day itinerary way ahead. So go online, check out what they have planned for that day, and sign up (if needed) for any special sessions, talks or tours on that day. Booking a place is worthwhile especially if there’s a special event you don’t want to miss!
If prior registration is not required, it’s still useful to know what will be happening on that day. That way you can make sure you cover all the important stuff, or even plan such that you can go to one institution in the morning and to another later in the day.
Listen to a talk on a course
Many institutions organise talks on their courses during open day. You may think of skipping the talk as you’ve grabbed their goodie bag (bulging with their prospectus and other freebies) – DON’T! No prospectus or programme brochure can tell you as much as a session conducted by a faculty member. It’s during talks like these that you can gain a better understanding of what to expect from a course, and just as important, what will be expected of you as a student. Plus, you’ll be able to ask questions after.
Explore the campus
A typical campus tour would show you the lecture halls, classrooms, labs, and other teaching and learning venues. You will likely also see the recreational facilities, accommodation, library, cafeteria, and others. Unfortunately, many tours offer only a glimpse of the campus as you’ll be herded around from one point to another very quickly. To make the most out of your visit, take a little time to explore and experience the place on your own after the tour. For example, check out the library (yes – walk inside and check out the books, the facilities, and the setting!) as this is a place you’ll definitely need as a student. Also, don’t just walk through the cafeteria – sit down, grab a drink, have a snack, check out the food and its prices.
Check out the accommodation
If you’re planning to stay on campus, you should definitely check out the accommodation. Usually, there will be a variety of halls of residence or other rooming options to choose from—some could be right on campus while others could be a short distance away. Find out where most students stay in their first year and later on. How much does the accommodation cost? Does it include utilities and wi-fi? What’s the commute like to and from campus? How about food options – any 24-hour mamak or convenience store nearby? And don’t forget laundromats and ATMs too.
Talk to current students
When you’re taken on a tour, you’ll likely get the chance to chat with your student tour guides. However, it could be difficult getting a blunt or truthful account from them especially if they’ve been trained to highlight the best bits of the college or university. Here’s where you need some strategy…. If you’re bold enough, you could chat with some unsuspecting student at the cafeteria or anywhere else on campus. But if stopping a stranger is not your thing, you need to ask some smart questions.
For example, if you ask: “Are the lecturers here good?” or “How are the lecturers here?”
Here’s a very likely answer: “Yes, they’re very good.” or “Oh, they’re very good.”
A better way to find out more about the personality or ability of the lecturers: “What was your best/worst experience with a lecturer here?”
You could also ask how much time they spend participating in a sport or club. Find out where they go out in the evening or at the weekend, or how often they go home. Ask them what kinds of difficulty they’ve had to face when completing assignments or collaborating on projects.
So if you’re planning on going for an open day at a college or university, make sure you do your homework and make the most out of your day. After all, this experience is all about the next few years of your life.
Psst…. Want to know what other questions you should ask at an open day? Read it here - Questions you should ask at a college or university open day