Preparation for Virtual Open Days
For the last several decades it has been the norm that students would visit a college before signing up for a course. Great efforts had been made by colleges to ensure that visiting students would get a valid feel for life and study in their campuses. For students and guidance counsellors the availability of open days helped confirm choices and reduce the risk of later drop out because of wrong choice.
The arrival of COVID-19 in early 2020 brought all this to a sudden end.
Overnight we were introduced to a new element in the careers field – the Virtual Open Day.
Following campus closures and event cancellations, Colleges are now facing serious challenges when trying to engage and build relationships with prospective students. It seems that we have entered a new chapter in the history of education, with instructors and students being pushed to integrate technology more than ever.
What to expect on Virtual Open Days
Before the event – what you need to do
Plan ahead – Look up the Calendar of Career Events on the school notice board to find out when something of interest to you will happen. Refer to the events section in Qualifax for any last-minute changes to dates. Notices of changes are always part of the Careers news service, the easiest way to avail of this is to sign up for the daily newsletter and get the notices on your phone.
Preparation – as with conventional Open Days advance preparation is essential. Apart from details of the course that interests you, there are many issues that require investigation before going to the college.
Make sure you understand the format – Virtual open days can include anything from online seminars, video virtual tours, to chats with existing students or lecturers. The college website should explain how it will work. It really pays to understand the ones you are interested in, so you can make sure you’re prepared and get the most out of the experience.
Registration – this is usually required if you plan to attend a Virtual Open Day. Check the Colleges website for detail in advance.
Research – for detailed information on the actual course go to Qualifax and the colleges own website. The colleges site has lots of information other that course details that you need to investigate. Look at college facilities, campus location and layout, accommodation and several other areas that might affect your time there. If you have specific questions to ask, find out if you can use an online chat or do you have to wait for the open day.
On the day.
You will be simply watching this on your computer screen and have little interaction. Mobile screens are too small for this. If possible, use a projector so several students can watch it at the same time. This is better that just looking at it on your own. Others may have comments or questions that did not occur to you and this can make it a better learning experience.
Tours of the campus – Complete a virtual tour of the university and its surroundings, including inside buildings and accommodation. This will be filmed in advance and usually have a commentary.
Student support sessions – Talk to current students one-to-one about their course and life at the university using live chat tools. Here you will have to choose which one to go to and refer to any unanswered questions.
Subject specific talks and webinars – Academics will talk about your subject, the course content and assessment method in a live webinar and may offer you the chance to ask your own questions.
Make notes – always a good idea when getting into new material.
- A class or small group review of the experience is unbelievably valuable.
- Discuss the event with your guidance counsellor.
- What was covered well?
- What do you still need to know?
- Does the College have another open day planned?
- Is there a recorded version of the open day available?