This is it: the moment when you get to check out your prospective uni. A university open day is the key to your future qualification which is, in turn, the key to your future career – and that makes these events pretty exciting.
Traditionally, uni open days have had a fairly celebratory atmosphere and, although the balloons and amped-up live bands will have to wait this year, 2020’s upcoming crop of virtual open days are set to be streamed on the internet across Australia. With full schedules of speakers and information sessions, demos and virtual tours, these streamed open days promise to deliver an excellent window into campus life. Here’s your guide to the best ways to really nail this open-day season.
Considering university is now just a mouse click away, you could check out a university on the other side of the country just as easily as one across town. It’s time to ask yourself not just what, but where and how you want to study.
Are you looking for flexibly delivered learning, including online lectures and student forums, or do you definitely want to study in-house on campus? Full-time or part-time? Are you interested in a more theoretical degree, or a qualification which involves more practical skill development and work placement opportunities? Would your career path benefit from a double degree across more than one discipline? Spending some time whittling down your academic wishlist gives you a much clearer idea of what to see and experience when open day comes around.
From talks and lectures to live Q and A, a virtual open day provides the most opportunity for students who research what’s on offer and when it’s all happening. Don’t be afraid to print out the schedule, highlight the events and features you’d most like to check out, then timetable it so there’s no chance of being overwhelmed (or missing out).
Are there any specific areas of study or courses you’d like to focus on? Live-chatting with academics and current students is often the easiest way to get answers to specific questions you have in mind; and if you have more questions later then don’t worry – the best unis offer one-one-one consultations at other times. And of course, for many virtual uni open days, you’ll need to register for the event in advance.
If you have never visited the university campus, take some time to browse its online maps, to give you an overview of the facilities and to clarify the finer details such as ease of parking or public transport. If you are looking at an institution in a city or area you don’t know very well, take yourself for a virtual ‘stroll’ around the location on Google Maps.
Equally importantly, dedicate some research to ‘mapping out’ the pathways of learning available, from early entry schemes and scholarships in your chosen field, to combined degrees or commercial internship programs. There is often a variety of ways to reach the qualification you are aiming for, and an open day is the ideal time to explore which learning pathway will suit you best.
What is the student accommodation like? Are sporting facilities and training clubs important to you? We are not just talking bars and student societies, although of course, that stuff is important. However, a virtual open day is also perfect for finding out how creative and innovative a university is in terms of their use of technology.
Even before coronavirus moved so much online, it has long been essential for universities to deliver learning in flexible ways, from cutting-edge online learning modules to live chats and forums. For example, the upcoming Macquarie University Open Day Streamed has been set up to make the most of its digital status, giving registered prospective students access to exclusive content, plus live chats with both students and experts, a student-hosted Centre Stage and interactive activities. The best universities will be offering content that is targeted to specific areas of interest, in separate web-page ‘rooms’ reached from the main open day event page.
In some ways, a live-streamed, virtual open day is even more conducive to answering all your questions than a traditional open day on campus. Ensure you write your burning questions on a notepad to keep at hand on the day as you log on, and jot down any extra questions that come up as you learn more about the university through the event. Live interviews and discussions give ample time and space for all attendees to ask questions, so you should come away with a firmer idea of your future studies, and a little excitement at making it all a reality.
On the day you can: