Why go to an Open Day?
You can read the prospectus from cover to cover and do plenty of research online but an open day is the only chance that you will have to look around the place where you could be spending the next few years of your life. There’s a lot to pack in during your Open Day and you won’t be able to do or see everything in just one day so it is essential to plan ahead and target what is most important to you.
It may be your only chance to visit the College before becoming a student. So make sure to take advantage of the day.
A particular university, college or course might sound brilliant or otherwise on paper, but speaking to a lecturer or student already doing the course or feeling completely at home on the college campus could change your thinking completely.
Bear in mind that on open days, Colleges are trying to be as attractive as possible to you. Be aware of this and try to look below the surface – talk to current students !
A visit also gives you the chance to talk to students, faculty, and admission staff. You can get answers to questions, but you must have the questions prepared beforehand. Remember if you go without questions you will come home without answers. The Secret of getting the most out of any Career event –
Preparation + Preparation = Questions = List of Answers
Open Days are about filling in the gaps in your knowledge about the College and your chosen course.
Where are the gaps in your knowledge?
Open Days or Career Event Questions – when attending college open days, it is important to have a list of questions that you may want to ask. You will only have a few hours so planning in advance is essential.
Before the Open Day
(This is work you need to do in advance of travelling)
- Check the Calendar of Career Events in Qualifax. Identify the ones that are relevant to you and list them in your diary.
- Look at Courses on Colleges Website or in Qualifax
- Get the days plan – usually on the College site. Colleges may have a timetable of talks or demonstrations planned. It is important not to miss out on the one you want.
- Get a map of the Campus and find the locations you need before you travel.
- What courses are you interested in? You can’t see everything on the day, so plan to see those areas that interest you.
Questions on the day
(This list is just a suggestion – you may have many questions of your own)
- What is the average weekly timetable? This can vary hugely between Arts with 12 hours contact to Sciences with over 20.
- Of the students that have completed this course where have they progressed? Colleges will be glad to provide this information if you ask.
- What qualification will I get when I finish the course?
- How will the course be assessed? There is a wide variation in assessment methods, even in the one College. Mostly assessment is not just an end of year exam but will consist of a mixture of continuous assessment. There may be a requirement to produce essays on sections of work, projects and in term exams. Ask about this.
- How many students will be on the course?
- What careers have recent graduates gone on to?
- Is there opportunity to take a placement? If so, will the university organise this?
- What does a placement/year abroad mean and what does it do?
- What is the entry for mature students? (Remember everyone over 23 years of age is considered a mature student. This will mean that you don’t need your Leaving Certificate Course to get a place in college)
- What sort of student support provision is in place? If I am having problems with the course – where can I get help? What kind of support is available from the library and student services to help with study skills?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of living on or off campus?
- What sports and societies are available here?
- How much time will I spend in lectures as opposed to self-directed study?
- Does the university provide accommodation for all first-year students? Can you see the accommodation? What is the cost of accommodation?